According to the music news site Loudwire, Alice in Chains vocalist William DuVall, who took over as the band’s lead singer following the death of Layne Staley, recently described an incident, which he claims happened around five years ago, in which police allegedly detained him for 30 minutes at his own West Hollywood home, as he was pulling into his garage, under suspicion that he was about to break into it. He says that police held him despite the fact that his driver’s license confirmed that he lived at the address. He believes that his detention was racially motivated.
Following a grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner, a Twitter discussion on racial disparities in the criminal justice system emerged under the hashtag #AliveWhileBlack. Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall contributed to the discussion on December 4 with the below tweet, describing the alleged time when he was profiled by police.
Detained pulling into own garage in W. Hollywood. Told “You don’t live here.” License SHOWS MY ADDRESS. Still held 30 mins. #AliveWhileBlack
— William DuVall (@WilliamDuvall) December 4, 2014
When some news outlets reacted to the tweet by reporting that the detention had just taken place, DuVall clarified that he was referring to an incident that had occurred in the past.
He offered further comments on Facebook discussing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, saying, “I was inspired to recount [the detention] after reading the many #AliveWhileBlack and #CrimingWhileWhite posts coming up on Twitter yesterday. In my view, those entries provide one of the most riveting illustrations of the dichotomy at the heart of America that I have ever seen. What really struck me is the fact that those stories flooding in by the thousands are merely a fraction of the millions more we will never hear. These are the ‘small’ stories, the ‘everyday’ stories, the ones so deeply woven into the fabric of our lives that they almost become mundane. And therein lies the true nature and scope of the problem… Because what’s most tragic and sobering to me about ALL of these stories – whether they fall into the more graphically horrific category of an Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, or Michael Brown or whether they are of the more ‘mundane’ variety like many of the ones currently being shared on Twitter, including my own – is that, almost without exception, any of them could have just as easily taken place 50 years ago.”
A Facebook user replied to DuVall’s post, saying, “I’d bet there’s more to this story and a legitimate and articulable reason as to why you were detained.”
DuVall replied, “If by ‘more to the story’ you mean the fact that I’m a law abiding citizen with no criminal record whatsoever, zero history of any criminal activity, who pays plenty in taxes every year, who dared to pull into my own driveway after a day of work and running errands, then, yes, you’re right, there is more to the story. My bad.”
DuVall ended his comments on a positive note, saying, “We have made tremendous strides as a nation, many of them in my own lifetime. I remain extremely proud of that. In the name of our ancestors who sacrificed so much to get us here and our children who will inherit this earth in our wake, we can’t afford to idle and we can’t fall back now. We have before us a golden opportunity to take yet another step forward. For all our sakes, I sincerely hope we seize it.”