I hate to share this video, but this is the harsh reality…the stark contrast between these two incidences are astonishing! The contrast is not just because of the race of the people involved but because of the choices of the officers. Yes, they have choices! Being a police officer is a life and death job. Decisions have to be made constantly as to whether it’s your life or theirs. Sometimes those decisions warrant deadly force, other times those decisions warrant using the multitude of resources and training to handle the situation so everyone sees another day.
I wanted to share my thoughts in a video but my heart is so heavy I don’t think I would make it through. A friend posted this conversation on FB the other day:
My oldest son: What do I do if the police stop me and I haven’t done anything?
My heart is so heavy as I am truly afraid for my two boys.
This is from a young man who isn’t even out of school yet, yet this is what he has on his mind. Not because he has done something wrong or is thinking about doing something wrong, but because he hears and sees what is happening and that his chances may not be the best.
The comments from people on her post was to tell him to “just do what he is told and he will be fine.” One person comments: Look, Ive been in trouble many many times in my life..not once did I get abused, pushed, tazed, pepper sprayed, or anything out of the way!! Because you know what I did..exactly what the officer said do!! Now if I had resisted, what do you think would have happened!! Do exactly what is told!!
Well, bravo for you sir, but your numerous encounters with the law and not being abused, tased, pepper sprayed, etc. is clearly not because you are a model citizen, but because you encountered police officers who did their jobs without abusing their power. Some people are not resisting they are simply asking questions. You should not be dragged out of a vehicle, thrown to the ground, put in a choke hold, or SHOT for asking “What did I do wrong?” “Why are you pulling me over?” “What is the problem, officer?” A person has every right to ask questions and receive answers if they don’t know what is going on. If you are clearly breaking the law, then you won’t have to ask these questions and you have no reason to NOT do as you are told because you know what the HELL IS GOING ON!!
This isn’t about following or not following instructions; this isn’t about all police being bad; this isn’t about whether someone feels threatened or not; this is about people making choices about who they feel is worthy of life and who is not. This is about those who abuse their power. This is about people who feel so disgusted with their own lives (whether they have a badge or not) that they feel like they can make themselves feel better by taking another person’s life (murder/suicides). This is about those who haven’t learned that their are options to resolving conflict (man shoots two people after losing bet). This is about young men, going about their lives being gunned down in the street because of someone’s perception of who they are or what they might do. This is about those in law enforcement who murder someone not being held accountable. This is about men of color being considered a threat just because they are men of color. This is about the lives of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, family members who are not being heard but are being condemned and murdered in the streets and then being judged by public opinion about what they SHOULD have done! What they SHOULD have done is made it through the situation alive…incarcerated, if necessary…but ALIVE!!
My heart is heavy because my sons are about to take a well-deserved vacation together and travel to the West Coast. While I am excited for their opportunity to take this trip, I am doubly fearful that they may go to the wrong place, say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, walk the wrong walk, wear the wrong clothes, listen to the wrong music and be judged and convicted by the wrong person who is having a bad moment, day, life. That’s why my heart is heavy, not because I think they may commit a crime, but because I’m afraid they may be seen as a threat because they are brown men who carry themselves with confidence and are eager to experience the gift of travel, to explore new things, and share lived experiences. My heart is heavy because I love them and they are my life’s blood and while I want to keep them close and safe I know it’s out of my hands. So at the end of the day the only comfort I have is Prayer and Faith which gives me a peace that passes all understanding. So I will bid them a safe trip, pray while they are away and rejoice when they return!