WILKES-BARRE – A former Wilkes University staffer who is suing city police for racial profiling was screaming at officers investigating a traffic violation and did not present herself in the calm and orderly fashion she claims, police say in court papers responding to the suit.
Andita Parker-Lloyd raised her voice at officers, complaining they were conducting an illegal stop and disobeyed repeated orders to move her vehicle, which was blocking the roadway, the papers say. She allegedly continued with the verbal barrage, then taunted one of the officers by saying in a defiant tone, “What are you going to do now, arrest me?”
That scenario, described in the city’s response filed Wednesday, is in stark contrast to Parker-Lloyd’s version of events, which depicts her as being verbally attacked by an officer as she politely questioned why he had stopped a student who was in a separate car in her traveling party.
The suit, filed in June in federal court in Scranton, stems from a Feb. 16 traffic stop involving a student who had just attended a Black History month event with Parker-Lloyd and several other students. The suit alleges the student, who had several passengers, did not commit any traffic violation, and that police targeted her because she was a minority driving an expensive car.
Parker-Lloyd was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct after she interfered with the traffic stop. Police later reached an agreement with Wilkes University to drop the charges in exchange for a letter of apology from Parker-Lloyd, the city’s attorney, Donald Brobst, says in the court papers.
Parker-Lloyd was employed as the coordinator for multicultural affairs at Wilkes until last month, when she was fired. The university maintains she was fired because of complaints about her conduct at a recent diversity seminar. But Parker-Lloyd alleges it was in retaliation for the embarrassment her racial profiling lawsuit caused the university.
In addition to defending the legality of Parker-Lloyd’s arrest, the city also denies her allegations that officers treat racial minorities with disrespect or that they engage in racial profiling. In addition, the city denies her claim that one officer commented “You don’t look like a student” to a student of Hispanic descent who was in the car that was stopped.
The city does acknowledge police asked for identification from all students who were in the subject vehicle, even though they were not driving, but says that is standard procedure in all traffic stops.
Brobst is asking that the lawsuit be dismissed and that the city be awarded attorneys fees and cost associated with defending the suit.