In light of the recent events in this country where UNARMED young black men (Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice...just to name a few), I wanted to share with you two posts about my many encounters with police in my lifetime. Based on these events, I could have ended up just like these young men.
Fuck the police comin straight from the underground
A young nikka got it bad cause I'm brown
And not the other color so police think
they have the authority to kill a minority
Fuck that shit, cause I ain't the one
for a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun
to be beatin on, and thrown in jail
We can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell
Ice Cube (Fuck tha Police)
FIRST OFFENSE (Summer '98)
Let me start by saying that I don't like cops. I hate to generalize it but I don't like em. I don't feel safe around them, they've never been around when I've needed them, and I haven't had one nice cop pull me over. I know that they are here to serve and protect. I know that they have a thankless job. I know that 99% of cops are good people. My brother in law is a cop. I guess I'm just a magnet for the 1% of cops that are racist assholes.That said...here's my story
I was in New Orleans about 15 years ago on a business trip. My co-worker and I decided to go to Bourbon Street. If you've ever been to N.O. you know that ANYTHING goes on Bourbon Street. We hung out and had a good time and then decided to head back to our hotel. Before we got in the car, my co-worker, who is white, was complaining about his feet that were sore from walking. When we got in the car, he decides to take his shoes off to "rest his dogs." As he was bending over to remove his shoes, I see a police car behind us that throws on the blue lights. We were only a block away from Bourbon Street and we weren't drunk so I dunno why we were being pulled over. The cops get out with their GUNS DRAWN!!! They are yelling at us to get outta the car. They make us stand in front of the running car with our hands on the hood of the car. Apparently, there must be some law about a young black dude and a white dude hangin together...because they thought we had drugs on us. They asked my co-worker why was he bending over in the car...was he trying to hide some drugs? Drugs? You could get ANY drug that you wanted just a block away on Bourbon Street!!!
When my co-worker advised him that he was removing his shoe (as evidence he pointed to his untied shoes), they threatened us. It was a black cop and a white cop. The black cop said "why are you two together?" We explained but the didn't listen. They proceeded to search my car (illegally). We asked could we take our hands off the HOT hood of the car. The black cop said "No. And you better not run. If you move, I'll put a bullet in your back!!" I couldn't believe it. I looked at the white cop and he was cool. He was the one who called off the black cop from going through my trunk and suitcase. I told them that this was our first trip to New Orleans (I'm never going back) and I wondered if that's how they treat their guests. My co-worker and I gathered our composure and got back in the car. We were furious and stunned!! We just sat there for about 5 mins before we left. He said we should have gotten their badge numbers and filed a report. I told him..."I'm used to this. Nothing will happen to them." We drove up the street and the SAME cops had pulled over a car full of Mexicans. Wow! I wonder what rule did they break? F@#% the police!
SECOND OFFENSE (Fall '98)
I left Atlanta one day headed to my hometown, Florence, South Carolina, for the weekend. I'm cruising down Interstate 20 with the windows down. I'm driving through Madison County (about an hour outside of Atlanta) when I see a cop "hiding" in the bushes in the median. I look at my speedometer and it's reading at "60 mph" and the speed limit is 65. I drive past the cop. He sees me and pulls out onto the highway immediately. I saw him pull onto the highway but I didn't know he was coming after me. The next thing I know...I see the blue lights...AGAIN!!! The officer asks me for my information and I give it to him. After a few minutes, he comes back and here's what he says...
Cop: "Sir, where are you headed?"
Me: "I'm headed to Florence, SC"
Cop: "Where are you coming from?"
Me: "I'm coming from Atlanta." (Why do you wanna know asshole?)
Cop: "Can you step out of the car? I'd like to search the car...if that's okay with you, sir."
Me: "Sure. If you want to search it...go ahead." (What the hell you think you gonna find fatboy?"
I step out of the car and stand in the grass as this dude looks around my Nissan Sentra (not a Bentley but a Sentra). At this point, I'm sure that SEVERAL of my civil rights have been violated.
Cop: "Can I look in your trunk?"
Me: "Yeah." (I hope you don't see the dead body back there)
I open the trunk. Nothing back there but my bag
Cop: "Sir, can I open up the bag? I have to ask first...do you have any drugs or guns in this bag"
Me: I chuckled. "No, l left them at home."
Cop: "I'm sorry to have inconvenienced you. It's just that we have lot of drug trafficking between here and Texas. We have been cracking down on it. And you had your hat on backwards. "
Me: "I would never sell drugs."
Cop: "You are free to leave, sir. Have a good day."
I wonder what was the dead giveaway that day. Was it my hooptie? Was it the Yankees fitted hat that I had on backwards? I know what it was. And so do you. How else would somebody explain getting pulled over by cops 3 times in a week? That was my THIRD time getting pulled over in a week! I did what my parents always told me...1) be calm & cordial 2) always let them see your hands 3) never ride with more than 3 other black kids in a car because you WILL get pulled over.
I have 3 sons. What will I tell them about the police? The TRUTH. My truth...my reality. I'll tell them this story as well as my other run-ins with the cops. I would like to think things will be different for them. I doubt it. As much as we say black lives matter...the recent events prove otherwise. Don't think that it's just black people, either. This could happen to anybody...any race.
How can you matter if you're not even viewed as an equal?