Durham County

She expected traffic tickets. Instead, a cop bought her a new tire

A screen shot of Courtney Bailey’s video post on Facebook about her encounter with a Durham police officer.
A screen shot of Courtney Bailey’s video post on Facebook about her encounter with a Durham police officer. Facebook

Courtney Bailey expected a ticket, maybe a few, after being pulled over Tuesday on Roxboro Street.

Instead, Durham police officer Dan Strandh issued her acts of both mercy and kindness, Bailey said in a Facebook video that has gone viral.

Bailey said she was speeding, not wearing her seat belt, and that her car’s registration had expired.

She said when Strandh asked why she hadn’t done anything to bring her registration up to date, she told him she is between jobs, money is tight, and she has a young son.

“Money goes towards him, not towards this car,” Bailey said. “I very nicely let him know.”

Bailey’s car wouldn’t pass inspection because of a tire with too little tread. She said when Strandh suggested they go to an automotive repair shop to look into the matter, she reminded him of her financial situation.

“This isn’t a cute euphemism, I really don’t have any money,” she said in the video. “I have 6 cents in the bank, and I have a dollar in my glove compartment. “He said, well, let’s just go to (a shop), let’s just go.”

Bailey said her perception of law enforcement changed dramatically after Strandh paid nearly $200 for both a new tire and for her car to be inspected. Prior to the experience, she said she felt uneasy about police.

“There was an amazing amount of cognitive dissonance that I experienced today, because this cop who I had never met … was really just going out of the goodness of his heart —not just the goodness of his heart, but against his job,” Bailey said. “Not only did he pay all of that money for my car, but he didn’t give me the three tickets that he owed me.

“I didn’t know what to do with it, other than cry. I boohooed my face off.”

Bailey’s original post had nearly 280,000 views as of Friday. The Durham Police Department was among thousands to share it.

Bailey used the opportunity to encourage people to be open-minded about others.

“All black people ain’t criminals, all police ain’t looking to kill us,” she said. “Something has to give, and especially after today I’m willing to give it a chance.”