There has been 3 times in my life where I have been stopped by law enforcement. The first time I was 15 years old and on the way to the bus stop for school and the latter two times were for speeding and was only let go only with warnings, because supposedly the officer happened to be in a good mood. I am not afraid to admit that I have a fear of law enforcement due to the horrible acts of brutality that have been broadcast in the media, Rodney King, Sean Taylor and a host of unknown. I also realize that to every coin there are 2 sides, what about all the good things that officers do on a daily basis? Saving lives? Just doing his/her job? The media doesn’t go out looking for feel good stories, they want to find the one where someone is either being beat to the brink of death or where there is video evidence of an officer doing just a little bit more than he/she is supposed to do to “uphold” the law. The “feel good” stories are rarely talked about and I think they should and have their place, but a feel good story will not be the subject of today’s post. I am going to talk about why I have a fear and a sort of distrust for a portion of our nation’s law enforcement.
Picture this, you’re a 15 year old kid walking to the bus stop and you are stopped in your tracks, by a Black Police Officer saying over a loud speaker, get up against the fence. You comply, he steps out of his patrol car and immediately starts to search, have your book bag searched through, then get told you are going to be taken downtown to the Police Station to be questioned further because you fit the description of an individual that committed a rash of burglaries earlier that morning. Your only saving grace is by a White Motorcycle Officer saying, that’s only a kid and it couldn’t have been him, I know that kid, he’s in the Big Blue Marching Band. The Black Officer then asks, what instrument do you play son? I reply, Tuba. I also mention that I have an uncle that works with the Enterprise Fire/EMS Department and an Aunt that works in the Emergency Room. He asks who my uncle is, I mention his name and immediately it’s all apologies. The only reason I mention the races of the officer’s is because it doesn’t matter what color you are, when a person is behind that badge a small percentage don’t see the general public as their equal. Do you think that if I were a white teen, this would have played out differently? I don’t know. We could go back and forth with different scenarios.
I was scared as hell. I never thought that this could or would happen to me in my home town, 5 minutes up the road from house. Do I think I was racially profiled by an officer of my own race? I tell myself no. I tell myself that he was just doing his job. Did they find the individual that committed the rash of burglaries? Yes, they did. Did he resemble me in the slightest? No, not one bit. He was taller than I was and he was of a lighter complexion, but hey, we all make mistakes right? Who knows, maybe the guy was having some performance issues and needed to make something happen, I don’t know. I don’t even know if this individual is still apart of the Police Force, completed his tenure and retired or was fired. I just hope that he didn’t imprison an innocent individual because of skin color, on the job performance issues or whatever the case may be. Anyway, back to my issues. In my experience, it seems as that when you need them, they are not around and when you don’t they are swarming. Living outside of a military base, it seems that they only decide to do their jobs close to, on and a couple of days after a payday. Its like clockwork. You always know when they are going to be out and when checkpoints are going to be out and where they are going to be, because they are always in the same places, targeting the same individuals. Here, it’s the military. Not just a particular race of people.
Because I’ve noticed this is a period when they are most active, I do my best to stay at home. I have an issue with seeing flashing blue lights. I don’t know what it is about those lights, they are intimidating to me. I feel as if they can do whatever they want and get away with it. I do my best not to be nervous, but they can see it, which is not a good thing, because at the first sign of nervousness, they automatically suspect that you are trying to hide something. Now with them thinking that I’m trying to hide something here comes the search, next I feel they are going to plant something on me just to get a conviction. Maybe I’ve watched way too much television. Something else adding to my distrust is the region of the country I live in. Not only the region of the country, but in this part of the state. Back in the day, the current town I live in, didn’t have a great reputation when it came to equal treatment of its citizens. If you were not a certain color, you better not be caught driving past dusk. If you did, you signed your own death certificate.
I’m not brining my girls up to fear or have any type of hate for law enforcement, I will let them make their own decisions. They know what law enforcement is charged to do, Protect and Serve. If they grow up and decided that what they have experienced is not that, then how and what they feel is justified. I will NOT instill the “fuck the Police” mentality into them, because what does that do other than keep a repeating cycle, do other than repeat?