The state of Missouri has earned the distinction of being the first-ever state to have a travel advisory issued against it by the NAACP. The warning urges caution in Missouri over concerns about whether civil rights will be respected.
The Kansas City Star reports that the advisory was circulated in June by the Missouri NAACP and picked up by the national organization late last month. The travel advisory comes after the Missouri Attorney General’s Office released a report that showed black drivers were 75 percent more likely to be pulled over than white drivers in the state last year.
The advisory cites a new state law making it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination and the state NAACP says the measure could make it tougher to hold people accountable for harassment and discrimination. Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel Jr. has described recent legislation as “the Jim Crow bill,” referencing the longtime segregation tactics of the South.
One of the incidents cited by the NAACP is the death of 28-year-old Tory Sanders of Tennessee, whose wrong turn while traveling through the state ended with him dying in a rural jail 150 miles south of St. Louis.
“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?” Chapel asked in an interview with the Star.
“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 continued. “We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”