Lauren Cutshaw pleads guilty to DUI. How a former South Carolina sorority girl’s drink driving arrest exposed fissures within white privilege.
Lauren Elizabeth Cutshaw, 34, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI count last month after she was caught speeding through a stop sign in Bluffton, near Hilton Head, a year ago.
In exchange for her plea, Cutshaw had several other charges against her dropped including speeding, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and DUI with a blood alcohol content of .16 or higher.
She was ordered to pay $187 in fines and must complete the state’s alcohol safety program, according to court records obtained by The Smoking Gun.
Police said she was slurring her words and a breathalyzer showed her blood-alcohol level at 0.18 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit.
When police asked her if she had been drinking, Cutshaw said she’d had two glasses of wine at an upscale restaurant.
She admitted she also may have smoke pot earlier in the evening after one of the officers found marijuana and rolling papers in her car.
‘But I’m a good girl who always got perfect grades from the right school.’
In police dashcam video, Cutshaw could be heard (see above) crying and begging the officer not to jail her.
She told him that she was a cheerleader, a dancer and a sorority girl who graduated from a ‘high accredited university’ and had ‘perfect grades her whole life’.
But there’s more.
According to the police report obtained by the Island Packet, Cutshaw also described herself as a white ‘thoroughbred’ and ‘a white, clean girl’.
‘I asked what that had to do with anything?’ the officer, who is also white, noted in the report.
‘She replied, ‘You’re a cop, you should know what that means,’ and, ‘You’re a cop, you should know based on the people that come in this room.’
According to the police report, Cutshaw repeatedly stated: ‘my partner is a cop’.
Cutshaw added that she had been trying to get to her boyfriend’s house when she was pulled over.
‘Do you really want to hurt me?’
The incident led to social media skewering Lauren Cutshaw, with many pointing out her sense of ‘good girl’ entitlement and ‘white person’ privilege. A common theme as questions continue to be asked whether ‘white offenders’ from ‘privilege’ are able to often skirt punishment and if punished, receive lenient punishment.
She was jailed on charges including drunken driving, speeding and marijuana possession, based in part on her own statements the dailymail reports.
‘Making statements such as these as a means to justify not being arrested are unusual in my experience as a law enforcement officer and I believe further demonstrate the suspect’s level of intoxication,’ the officer wrote.