NAACP issues first-ever travel advisory for a state — and it’s Missouri

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“How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven’t broken any laws?”  Be black and be in Missouri, apparently.

The Missouri travel advisory is the first time an NAACP conference has ever made one state the subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks, a spokesman for the national organization said Tuesday. 

Missouri became the first because of recent legislation making discrimination lawsuits harder to win, and in response to longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement and a spate of incidents cited as examples of harm coming to minority residents and visitors, say state NAACP leaders. 

Those incidents included racial slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and the death earlier this year of 28-year-old Tory Sanders, a black man from Tennessee who took a wrong turn while traveling and died in a southeast Missouri jail even though he hadn’t been accused of a crime. 

“How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven’t broken any laws?” asked Rod Chapel, the president of the Missouri NAACP. 

“You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people. They’re being pulled over because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed,” Chapel said. “We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”

You can read the rest at the Kansas City Star.

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