There’s a fan theory about GTA 5 travelling around the forum world — that the in-game cops are guilty of racially profiling. There are three protagonists in the game, two white, and one black, and people on the internet suspect that the police are a little more enthusiastic about enforcing the laws on Franklin, the black one. Here are a couple of examples, first from a forum, second two from Twitter:
“So, I was strolling down a boulevard, innocuous as any upstanding citizen, and suddenly, a white man begins assaulting me, making me flee as he pursued me with his frantic violence. Abruptly, I have 1 star – absolutely no reason besides the fact a citizen reported the situation and I was presumed the culprit… and the cops arrive. As I’m innocent, I raise my hands, knowing they’ll understand, but they abruptly say ‘HE HAS A WEAPON’ whilst I’m unarmed, opening fire…..”
“White chicks in GTA V are RACIST! they call the cops and run away from Franklin just because he’s black. I just… .”
“GTA V police are racist I swear, I was cruising as franklin, one police car runs me off my bike, I get 2 stars and the Feds killed me”
A Rockstar rep has confirmed to Forbes that this is not actually the case. The cops are programmed to respond the same way to all three protagonists. In my play through, I’ve noticed that they behave very aggressively no matter who you are, which might account for some of the stories that are popping up. In this world, loitering is punishable by instant execution. It says something about the depth of the world that Rockstar has built that players start to see this sort of emergent behavior even when it’s not actually there.
It certainly wouldn’t have been out of line to make the cops treat Franklin differently — the series hasn’t shied away from race in the past (with varying degrees of success/sensitivity) and San Andreas even featured an absurd re-telling of the Rodney King riots. It might have been just a small piece of social commentary, and arguably a bit of realism. It might have been harder for Franklin to get a taxi, as well. considering how irritating the police can be in this game anyways, however, it may have just ended up frustrating.