I was racially profiled at Disney Springs. What to do if it happens to you.

Disneylover99

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 17, 2012
A couple of things come to mind as I read through this....

if the Op noticed the officer eyeballing him, obviously they made eye contact. The Op was also noticing the dog. The officer would be noticing this. Coupled with the fact the Op tripped, maybe made the Op seem nervous about something. Maybe that’s what triggered the question.

I don’t know. Just a thought.
 

Mickey's Best Girl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
My poor husband, white and middle aged gets singled out for extra screening EVERY single time we fly, for many, many years. Before everyone went thru the metal detectors at Disney, he was always “randomly” selected.

It has become a joke in our family.
I’m that person in our family. I’m always pulled aside at airports for extra security checks and pat downs, hand swabs, bags emptied and contents reviewed. At Disney it’s the same, if there’s additional screening to be done, I’m doing it. It’s become a running joke in my family as well.

As a white woman in her mid forties I absolutely cannot comment one way or the other on whether or not the OP was racially profiled. I will say that when I read:
“I noticed one of the guards immediately eyeballing me, staring me down as I reached the bottom of the stairs........” I immediately thought the officer was responding to a BOLO.

Again, I wasn’t there and this is not something I’ve ever had to deal with in my life as a white woman so I’ll take the OP at his word. I hope this issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the OP.
 
  • sk!mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2000
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm pretty sure being racially profiled is one of those "you know it when you see it" things. As one who is rarely targeted, I wouldn't presume to question what you believed happened. I am sorry you had to experience that. It happens all too often in this country to dismiss these incidences and you did the right thing to pursue it.
    Agree- I am very sorry that this happened to the OP and would never presume to downplay his experience.

    Of course he was being profiled, the officer homes in on him in a crowd, asks that question, and then just moves on. There was no reason for the question if the officer didn’t notice something amiss and if he did notice something then why would he just move on. Ridiculous! He should have been using his time to scan for potential problems. Most likely a young white male.

    I have no doubt Disney racially profiles people. I have a friend who lives locally who looks “middle eastern”. He is pulled aside for extra security every single time, everywhere he goes, including WDW. He has a much better attitude about it than I would have. I commend his patience in the face of constant hate, racism and mistrust.

    I’m sitting her trying to imagine how I would react if a security officer came up to me and asked me if I had a gun. I’m not sure if I would be completely incredulous or if I would burst out laughing. Then again, security officers don’t ask white women in their 50’s if they’re packing.
    I agree with you but would point out that there are plenty of videos showing what happens if they are less than patient and compliant and sometimes what happens even when they are.

    It is so disheartening that we haven’t come farther than this and all the apologists on this thread illustrate how far we have to go. So many refuse to recognize that racism and profiling exists because “it isn’t my experience.”

    That's kinda the point though. His word is meaningless because even he doesn't know if he was racially profiled. He's just assuming he was because, in his own words, he "is a minority." So, if OP were white, and the same thing happened, would this post exist? 🤷‍♂️
    “His word is meaningless”. Woah, I’m speechless.
     

    ENJDisneyFan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2016
    I hope this issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the OP.
    I'm not exactly sure what the OP is hoping for in terms of resolution. From his original post, he stated:

    I just wanted them to identify the officer involved
    First of all, even if they are able to determine who the officer was, there is no way there are going to disclose that information to the OP. Second, even if the officer in question WAS profiling, I highly doubt he will ever admit to that. So I guess I'm not really sure what result OP is expecting by failing this claim with Disney.
     

    HopperFan

    "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2003
    The incident left a bad taste in my mouth, so the next day I reported the incident to Disney security. They said their K9 guards only wear blue shirts and it may have been an Orange County deputy. I called them and they said their K9 officers wear a green uniform. However, sometimes other local departments supplement the Orange County Sheriff Dept during busy times. To get to the bottom of this, I had to file a claim with Disney. That was the only way Disney would launch an investigation, so I did and waiting for the results. Once they identify the officer, I intend to file a misconduct complaint with his department's internal affairs office. The footage from Disney's surveillance cameras will leave little doubt to the conduct of the officer.
    Disney Security wears light blue shirts, looking "fancier" and their K9 wear navy blue top to bottom, looking more plain.

    Orange County does wear green but it's a VERY DARK green and they often have black vests on. It could be in the light there at Disney Springs their uniform could appear to be black. I wouldn't rule them out.

    Hope Disney has camera footage. In parks there are not as many cameras as people think there are but hopefully Disney Springs is full of them.

    This is OCCC K9.

    425019


    As an officer myself...I'm a bit curious. Did he actually pat you down?

    I've been on Disney property a lot and naturally ask a lot of questions of the deputies I see there about the security operation. I do know that Disney has dogs specifically trained to detect firearms and explosives. I have never seen a Sheriff's dog on property personally.

    AP holder with about 30-45 days per year at a park and I see them almost every single trip. They are almost always out front around the security areas. MK their car is usually parked within feet of where they are standing. They can be seen at TTC but always by the bus depot at MK. Epcot they are usually right by security area, sometimes before and sometimes after. DHS and AK they can be seen roaming anywhere before ticket scanners. I would be surprised if I walked up and didn't see them.

    Disney dogs are usually inside the parks.
     

    Searc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2018
    I have no doubt Disney racially profiles people. I have a friend who lives locally who looks “middle eastern”. He is pulled aside for extra security every single time, everywhere he goes, including WDW. He has a much better attitude about it than I would have. I commend his patience in the face of constant hate, racism and mistrust.

    I’m sitting her trying to imagine how I would react if a security officer came up to me and asked me if I had a gun. I’m not sure if I would be completely incredulous or if I would burst out laughing. Then again, security officers don’t ask white women in their 50’s if they’re packing.
    Nor do they ask white men. Again, I don't find it surprising some people (who are more than likely white) are trying to discredit an encounter they themselves will never experience.
     
  • Searc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2018
    A couple of things come to mind as I read through this....

    if the Op noticed the officer eyeballing him, obviously they made eye contact. The Op was also noticing the dog. The officer would be noticing this. Coupled with the fact the Op tripped, maybe made the Op seem nervous about something. Maybe that’s what triggered the question.

    I don’t know. Just a thought.
    He tripped on the dog's paw.
     

    Searc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2018
    As an officer myself...I'm a bit curious. Did he actually pat you down?

    I've been on Disney property a lot and naturally ask a lot of questions of the deputies I see there about the security operation. I do know that Disney has dogs specifically trained to detect firearms and explosives. I have never seen a Sheriff's dog on property personally.

    I have seen the firearms related dogs at Disney Springs, park entrances and at the monorail stations doing quick sweeps of the car interiors. Two neighboring agencies where I work have explosive and accelerant detecting dogs and they have told me that the dogs are pretty good even from a distance. Another K9 handler has told me that his dog has alerted to a bag that had recently had a firearm in it.

    I would find it odd if the officer asked you if you were armed and then didn't pat you down. If the dog alerted then they would have probable cause. That also being said, I know that the Sheriffs department has body cameras, but I'm unsure about Disney security. K9 officers have to keep meticulous records on their dog's performance.

    I know that the Pulse Nightclub shooter had expressed interest in attacking Disney Springs so I'm sure that they're paranoid about security there and I really have no idea how they keep it protected without a checkpoint.

    As to your particular situation...its tough to say. I'd think the officer would explain why he thought you were armed. I find that in this day and age I have to explain things very clearly when I am going to take action. People get upset with all police officers now, but the majority are doing the right thing.

    The only things that I can think of are the following: Had you handled any type of accelerant recently? Sparklers or even gasoline? Do you walk with a limp or were guarding one side or was your belt line uneven or pants weighted down on one side? Did the officer explain that they had a issue and you may have somewhat matched the description?

    While it's possible you were profiled, it seems that there are a lot of people of all colors that patronize Disney. If an officer was always profiling minorities it seems like that would be a lot of people and a pattern would stick out. And honestly, I dont think the main focus is a man in his fifties. It's tough to say what a mass shooter looks like, but the perpetrators lately seem to be younger white men....not that Disney should be letting their guard down in any specific area.

    I'll end my rant there and look forward to hearing what the officer did after he asked you if you were armed.
    I see Sheriff's (not Disney Security) at every park on every trip. Their vehicles are parked out front of the parks and they are very obviously different from Disney Security. They carry guns, for one, and their outerwear (badges, gun, arm patches, vests, etc) identifies them as police officers, not security. Pay attention and you'll see them.
     
  • Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    Just because the OP felt he was being racially profiled doesn't mean he was. I don't doubt how he felt at the time. Some people are more sensitive to things like this than others. If the security guard in question was only approaching minorities (or mostly minorities) with these types of questions then I would say he was profiled. There simply isn't enough info here to conclude that racial profiling occurred.
    This is true and "feeling" a certain way does not make it true.
    Posting this on a discussion board is going to result in a discussion about it. That comes with opinions
    Having said that the OP did provide important info, if people think they are racially profiled at Disney then there is something they can do about it on a personal level. Then Disney can do whatever investigating of the incident and find out the truth and go from there.





    Agree- I am very sorry that this happened to the OP and would never presume to downplay his experience.

    Of course he was being profiled, the officer homes in on him in a crowd, asks that question, and then just moves on. There was no reason for the question if the officer didn’t notice something amiss and if he did notice something then why would he just move on. Ridiculous! He should have been using his time to scan for potential problems. Most likely a young white male.
    So there was absolutely no other possibility?
    How do you know the PO wasn't looking for someone specific that he was told to look for?
    How do you know it really wasn't random?
    Hoe do you know the PO didn't think he saw something bulge at the side of his waist?

    And for those who are so sure that white people are never stopped and asked anything, how do you know?
    Are you actually following every single officer or security guard there, or are you just making assumptions because of how you feel?

    The OP may have been profiled, or he may have not been.
    Some of you have issues realizing that every single thing that happens to a minority is not done because they are a minority. You all have no problem calling out people for not believing racism or discrimination exists, but you are the ones with the problem not believing that a situation isn't always because of someone's race. There are many possibilities, but you all refuse to open your eyes to any of them.
     

    Skywalker

    Elementary, My Dear Mickey
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2004
    Not enough information to know the officers motivation. You just never know if 5 minutes before you came along, he received a tip about a "58 year old Male with shorts and button down shirt and salt and pepper hair" who had done something suspicious or thought to have a gun or was drunk and disorderly whatever. The fact that you then caught his eye to question would not make it a racist act.

    Could have been racial profiling yes. A certainty? No. If I was a cop I would very quickly get sick of slander thrown around against me every time I tried to do my job.
     

    VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    I'm sorry that happened to you! Sounds like it was really upsetting. Thanks for the heads up and the advice on what to do!

    Maybe it's possible that the car you were driving and/or your physical appearance resembled a suspect that they were looking for.
    Maybe when the office questioned you and you offered up your bag to be searched, that and your demeanor/body language told the officer that you were probably not the sort of person that they were looking for...which, in turn, put them off the "scent" and resulted in the officer saying that no pat down or further search was necessary.
     

    smiths02

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2009
    But isn’t there a difference between what you describe and being asked outright whether you are carrying a gun? I would be terrified if a police officer in any country approached me and those were his/her first words to me.
    Nor do they ask white men. Again, I don't find it surprising some people (who are more than likely white) are trying to discredit an encounter they themselves will never experience.
    I don't know if the OP was profiled.

    However, I can answer that they do ask white men that question. I know at least two white law enforcement officers who traveled to Disney and did not know that they cannot carry on property (there is a law in the U.S. that law enforcement officers can conceal carry in any jurisdiction, with private property being an exception). Anyhow, they were asked if they had a gun, they replied that they did and were law enforcement, and they were not allowed in the parks with the gun.
    They were somehow profiled as these officers were in regular clothes to go to the parks.
     

    sk!mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2000
    Nor do they ask white men. Again, I don't find it surprising some people (who are more than likely white) are trying to discredit an encounter they themselves will never experience.
    Yes!

    This is true and "feeling" a certain way does not make it true.
    Posting this on a discussion board is going to result in a discussion about it. That comes with opinions
    Having said that the OP did provide important info, if people think they are racially profiled at Disney then there is something they can do about it on a personal level. Then Disney can do whatever investigating of the incident and find out the truth and go from there.







    So there was absolutely no other possibility?
    How do you know the PO wasn't looking for someone specific that he was told to look for?
    Because he asked him one question and moved on. I would expect more questions if he matched a “person of interest.”
    How do you know it really wasn't random?
    Racial Profiling has been documented enough for me to trust the impression and experience of the person it happened to rather than the apologists protesting too loudly.
    Hoe do you know the PO didn't think he saw something bulge at the side of his waist?
    If he did, then why in the world was one question and a simple “no” anywhere near enough of a response?
    And for those who are so sure that white people are never stopped and asked anything, how do you know?
    Has nothing to do with the OP’s situation.
    Are you actually following every single officer or security guard there, or are you just making assumptions because of how you feel?
    Too much of a “jump the shark” to answer.

    The OP may have been profiled, or he may have not been.
    Some of you have issues realizing that every single thing that happens to a minority is not done because they are a minority. You all have no problem calling out people for not believing racism or discrimination exists, but you are the ones with the problem not believing that a situation isn't always because of someone's race. There are many possibilities, but you all refuse to open your eyes to any of them.
     

    Donnainnj

    Loves having an AP
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2001
    From what I have read here in the past they profile, but not necessarily racially profile. It seems both police and military are almost always pulled aside for additional screening. My husband is also one who is always picked for additional screening. At Disney and the airport. He is in his 50's, short hair (gray and light brown). He also tends to wear cargo shorts, and is not big on eye contact.
     

    TSR6

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2005
    I know at least two white law enforcement officers who traveled to Disney and did not know that they cannot carry on property (there is a law in the U.S. that law enforcement officers can conceal carry in any jurisdiction, with private property being an exception). Anyhow, they were asked if they had a gun, they replied that they did and were law enforcement, and they were not allowed in the parks with the gun.
    They were somehow profiled as these officers were in regular clothes to go to the parks.
    There are cues you can watch for, or they may have even "printed" (where you can see the outline of the equipment under the shirt) when they moved just right. Noticed that a lot in my state here, especially right after they passed our CCW laws.
     

    TavieP

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2012
    Because the OP is a person of color who has undoubtedly experienced this many times before in his life, plus he WAS there and said that's what happened. His perception on the situation is more valid than anyone else's.
    This. I don't know why so many people are rushing to invalidate the OP's experience. Racial profiling is a huge problem in this country. Disney Springs is part of this country. I have zero trouble believing that this happened. (And even if I did have trouble believing it? My opinion would not hold more water than the guy who actually experienced it.)

    I'm sorry this happened, OP. I hope there's a satisfactory resolution for you.
     

    Wishing on a star

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2002
    A security officer (and one of unknown authority or origin) addressing a person is not, in any way, profiling.
    If a person had been detained, at all, searched, etc.. without probable cause (other than race) THAT would have been profiling.
    IMHO, there is no claim here at all.

    I am still wondering why an obvious law enforcement personel with a trained dog did not have plenty of visible patches and markings on their uniform.
    Don't know how this would be an undercover officer when a trained K9 would have def. been obvious and not undercover, at all.
    Hhhhhmmmmm?????
     


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