From any angle, Mahari Bailey is a success.
He has worked long hours as a lawyer specializing in commercial real estate since 2007, the year he graduated from Georgetown Law School.
He grew up in Wynnefield, is married and has a 14-month-old daughter. His cell phone is never out of reach in case his wife calls. Their second baby is due in two weeks.
Bailey, 27, used to drive a white Infiniti M45, but now slips behind the wheel of his white Range Rover. And he's always impeccably groomed, whether he sports a gray suit and starched, white shirt or a T-shirt and jeans.
None of that means much to some Philadelphia police officers, he said.
Bailey is African-American.
Between early 2008 and May of this year, Bailey has been stopped and searched four times for no reason, he said yesterday.
Bailey is one of eight plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit filed yesterday that contends that Philadelphia police stop and frisk minorities solely on the basis of race.
"It's very disheartening and very degrading," Bailey said. "It's very demeaning to feel like you try to do the right thing - you go to school, work hard and better yourself - and you're treated the same as a criminal.
"I should feel comfortable enough going to neighborhoods rather than being fearful of being subjected to disrespectful and unlawful activities by a police officer."
In September 2008, the suit alleges, police pulled Bailey over for no reason on 64th Street near Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia and asked if he had drugs or guns in his car.
He told the officers that he was a lawyer, that there was no contraband in his car and that he had filed a complaint about an earlier unlawful stop by Philadelphia officers, the suit says.
He was released and no criminal charges were filed against him.
The following August, Bailey and some friends were standing near 53rd and Euclid streets in Wynnefield when officers, without cause or justification, the suit says, ordered Bailey and his friends to stand against a wall to be searched.
When Bailey told the officers that he was a lawyer and refused to consent to a search, one officer "raised his fists in a threatening manner," and told Bailey that he didn't "give a f--- who you are," the lawsuit says. Bailey was again released with no criminal charges being filed against him.
In May, Bailey was pulled over at 59th and Master streets in West Philadelphia. When Bailey asked why he had been stopped, one of the officers told him to "shut up" and that he "was in the wrong neighborhood," according to the suit.
When Bailey protested about being repeatedly stopped for no reason, the officers told him that the tinted windows in his car were illegal, the suit says. He said he told them that his model car came with those windows and that they were not illegal. The officers issued a ticket "on the false and pretextual charge of a tinted-windows violation in retaliation for his verbal protest," the suit says. The charge was dismissed in Traffic Court.