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Miami Man Sells Windshield ID Cases to Prevent Police Shootings

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From his home in Miami, Eric Cardenas felt a too-familiar surge of sadness and anger. It was July 6, 2016, and he'd just heard the news about Philando Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor who was gunned down by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop.

Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live-streamed the shooting on Facebook, calmly addressing the officer as she narrated for her viewers: "You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir."

What happened to Castile seemed to Cardenas to be a preventable tragedy. Growing up in Allapattah, Cardenas says, he himself often felt prejudged by police for having tattoos and being Hispanic. 

"I've had instances myself just from general run-ins with the law where I've been stopped and given a hard time, stereotyped on how I looked," says Cardenas, a 32-year-old administrative assistant at the University of Miami. "When I heard what happened to this gentleman one day at work, it came to me that there must be a better way of not having to reach for your ID."

This summer, Cardenas began workshopping a solution he thought just might work — a clear ID holder that would stick to the windshield, clearly displaying a driver's license, registration, insurance card, and concealed weapons permit. That way, when a police officer approaches, the driver can simply point to the packet and roll down the window — negating any confusion from reaching into pockets or the glovebox.

He ordered some plastic sleeves and began testing adhesives. This past weekend, he launched the product, which he calls ID Ready

"It's a very good product not only for the driver but also for police officers," he says. "When you get stopped, your hands can stay on the wheel, and police officers don't have to take the risk of telling you to reach for something."

Cardenas says he's used the display system on his truck for the past few months, although he thankfully hasn't had to test it out during a traffic stop yet. He has about 5,000 of the sleeves in stock, which he has been selling to friends, neighbors, and co-workers. 

Although he's excited about the idea and its lifesaving potential, there's a part of Cardenas that feels disheartened that ID Ready even has to exist.

"It's sick that you can't just live your everyday life without being scared of being pulled over," he says. "It's sad that it leads to this, but you have to adapt to what's going on in society."

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