It was evening, but it was late fall so it was dark. Maybe its not the coolest thing to say, but I really had to go to the bathroom. Maybe that’s how I missed the stop sign. I pulled up to the rear of my house and parked on the patchy grass.
I had a three and a half foot high basket of laundry that I was wrestling out of my car when I heard them.
“This is your last warning,” the officer said to me over a loudspeaker.
Thirty feet away from me, behind their squad car were two cops. Their guns were drawn and pointed dead at me, fingers on the trigger. I didn’t move. I wasn’t sure what to do. If I moved my hands quickly they might misinterpret what I was doing and shoot me. If I didn’t – they would shoot me.
I erred on the side of raising my hands.
A few minutes after they patted me down, and we shared an uncomfortable laugh, they made an important discovery. I had not stopped at the stop sign for a full three seconds, so they followed me. I ignored their lights and siren, so they got suspicious, and when I popped out of my car, they were pretty sure I was armed. Reasonable, right?
Except they forgot that they had picked a malfunctioning car from the lot. The police lights did not work on this car, and neither did the siren, and they never noticed that it didn’t work, because they were so busy watching me.
One cop was black, one was white. They were personable as they wrote me a ticket after nearly killing me. But in my heart I knew that if I had died on that lawn, I would have been at fault somehow because that’s just how things work.
This is the second time I have nearly been shot to death by the police.
I won’t bore you with all of my experiences, but I will still say that the overwhelming amount of times I have had to interact with police they have been pleasant. But until you are looking down the barrel of that gun wondering if you are going to die, you have no idea what I’m talking about. And most of you have no idea what you’re talking about.
I didn’t want to write about this.
Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others have torn this country apart and its pretty horrifying. I didn’t know how to write about this, but eventually it began to organize itself.
You see, the things that are tearing us all apart, I don’t think the police are solely at fault. In fact, I’m not sure they’re as at fault as we think they are. (More on that later, in another article.)
That’s not to say that they’ve presented themselves well. Consider the Cleveland shooting for instance.
That is the video of the shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice. He was shot immediately, with 2 seconds maximum between the car getting there and his death. There were no verbal commands to do anything. He was simply shot.
This is the 911 call that precipitated the shooting. There is clearly no one around Tamir Rice, who is playing with the gun pretty much in the manner that 12 year olds have always played with toy guns.
Also, Ohio is an open carry state, which means if you walk around with real guns, you’re not supposed to get bothered. Police in Ohio should be accustomed to seeing people carrying guns and shouldn’t overreact, right?
These are horrible comments, but its the Internet, right? Par for the course.
These are comments from Policeone, a law enforcement forum. These are all cops talking. I didn’t pick the worst stuff, because frankly, it was too depressing. While I don’t think that police are completely to blame, they have allowed a culture that is part of the problem.
“How can you know what happened,” people say to me sometimes. “You weren’t there.”
“You always make it about race,” othesr say. “Its not a black or white thing. How could you know if someone is racist or not?”
Well, this is merely an introduction. In my next article, I’ll show you.