Because police shootings of black people during common occurrences like traffic stops are so prevalent, one woman felt it necessary to invent something she views as life-saving: The ‘Not Reaching’ pouch.
The transparent ‘Not Reaching’ pouch attaches to any driver’s air vent, and allows for easy access to a driver’s license, car insurance, and registration in the event a driver is stopped by police. This way, police won’t have an excuse to kill a driver by blaming them for “reaching” for something (CBS 42 Washington referred to these fatal incidents as “traffic stop deaths,” seemingly absolving police of responsibility for shooting drivers).
“Not Reaching! is a revolutionary identification system that allows motorists to remain stationary in their vehicles during a traffic stop by eliminating reaching for identification by the request of law enforcement,” the device’s website reads. “Not Reaching is a start to a safe traffic stop and helps to de-escalate a tense situation.”
Jackie Carter, who invented the pouch after hearing about the fatal shooting of Philando Castile after he was shot and killed in the middle of a traffic stop for a broken taillight, told NBC News she made it with her son — who is in the military — in mind. This is in line with what other black mothers have said about having to warn their children about the danger of police encounters from a very early age.
“I’m more fearful [for my son] in a car here than [when he’s serving] in Afghanistan,” Carter said.
While the phrase “Black Lives Matter” has been in the national conversation since armed vigilante George Zimmerman got acquitted after killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, the fear in the black community of being shot and killed by police has been especially prevalent in the years following the death of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown at the hands of officer Darren Wilson.
Data backs that up: According to MappingPoliceViolence.org, black people are three times more likely to be killed by police, and make up 30% of unarmed victims of police shooting victims, compared to just 21% of white victims. This is despite white people outnumbering black people in terms of the total U.S. population.
Not Reaching’s website includes reviews from users who are relieved that they no longer have to worry about potentially being shot and killed just for reaching for documents necessary to have on-hand in the event of a traffic stop.
“I drive a lot for work, and I was consistently worried about getting pulled over. A friend recommended Not Reaching card and it has put me at ease. It’s so easy to put in your insurance and Id. I love that police can see it soon as they get to my window,” Erren, one reviewer in Washington, wrote.
“Not Reaching is the a must have for every driver, specially people of color,” reviewer M.T. wrote.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.