Grab that purple Crown Royal bag from under the counter. Not the one with the spare change in it – the other one. Ice? No, we don’t do that around here. We give it to you straight.
____ the Police (Part I)
I didn’t say that. There you go again – jumping to conclusions. I know the word you’re thinking about but that’s not what I said. Provocative titles will always get your attention, though…and have you jumping to conclusions.
“Where are you coming from?” the policeman asked me.
Love the police?
I don’t think I could ever actually love the police as a whole; as an institution. That’s just not realistic for me. Not with everything going on in the Divided States involving cops and Black people. There are police officers that are doing their jobs honorably – this cannot be denied. However, there are far too many cops getting away with too much bullshit. It is possible, however, that I could love individuals who are cops – family or close friends, for example.
It does not take a genius to realize that there is a lot wrong with the police force in our nation – from the brutality and killings of innocent people to the lack of training to the blatant racist practices that are evident across our fruited plain. So what is the solution? I’ve heard many ideas but few that I believe will actually make a difference in the results that we are experiencing. Forgive me if I don’t buy into the whole “going to the hood and doing the latest dance with the kids to let them know we’re down” campaign. That won’t get the “hood” to trust you. Truth be told, you might get the side-eye from more than a few of them. Doing the Dougie won’t mean a thing if you racially profile one of those kids the very next day out’chea in these streets because they “fit the description.” Not that your jig meant anything to begin with, so save yourself the embarrassment.
With your no-dancing ass.
Trust comes when you do the right thing by the people you are sworn to protect and serve and, historically, that is just not happening in regard to Black people in America.
“The mall,” I said as I pointed to the Chess King bag on my passenger’s seat. Had to buy some more turtlenecks – step my game up, you know. There was a sale on Hammer pants, too. Google those. No 17-year-old in their right mind would pass up a deal like that.
“Did I do something wrong, sir?” I continued.
Hate the police?
Nah. I wouldn’t go that far. I do not want to generalize the whole police community, for in doing so I would be no better than the person who makes a sweeping assumption of the whole Black community based on the actions of a few. I would be devolving into the exact type of person to whom I am opposed. I want to take a different approach from the ones you’ve already heard. But…do I sometimes dislike your practices? No doubt. You probably don’t like the institution some days, either. God knows, not every Marine loves the Marine Corps every day but we adapt. No one is asking for perfection from your police department, but a good start to even a semblance of understanding would be to get rid of the antipathy that resonates in the streets from your officers toward Black folks. It’s disgusting.
“Let me see your license and registration,” he said as he reached for the gun at his side. “And don’t do anything crazy because I’m not afraid to use this thing.”
I looked at him incredulously. “What the…?” I thought. “He can’t be serious.”
I couldn’t believe this motherfucker officer of the law just told me he wasn’t afraid to use a gun on me. For what? Was this his definition of protecting and serving? It was 3:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday. But I was a young, Black kid – which obviously made me suspicious in his eyes. Agitated and a tad bit nervous, I removed my license from my wallet, retrieved my registration from the glove box and handed both to him as I looked at his unusually small hand still on the gun.
It was shaking.
To be clear, my purpose is not to convince anyone that there are disparities when it comes to racial profiling, unfair treatment, police brutality, and murders of Black and *brown people (*y’all Black too, si no sabías). You know there are. So much so, that I dare you to refute these facts without giving me that ever-so-popular “What about Chicago?” deflection. If this type of thing would’ve just started happening, you might have a case. Sure, whites get shot by policemen, also, but it has not been happening throughout the course of a nation’s history like it has been for Blacks – with little to no repercussions, I might add. That, Devil Dog, is a major problem. It’s not simply that cops are shooting and killing us – it’s that it seems they’re so comfortable in doing so.
“You know why I stopped you?” His reddish mustache – no doubt out of regulations – was fully covering his upper lip.
“No, sir.” But I did know. Why else would he be ready to unholster his weapon?
“You made a left turn without putting on your signal.”
“But I was in the turning lane and had the arrow,” I countered.
“Don’t matter,” he said. “Put your signal on next time.”
He handed me my papers and left without giving me a ticket. Maybe he had a moment where he realized how wrong he was for threatening me with a gun. Or possibly he felt ashamed. I doubt it. Whatever his reason, it didn’t matter. I knew that I didn’t deserve that type of treatment for simply making a turn without putting on my signal light.
But you must have done something to warrant that type of aggression, right?
No. Fuck no.
There must be more to the story, right?