There’s never a good place to start when you are discussing politically or socially driven topics. Topics like the one in this title, (heh heh) but I am going to jump in and simply start from the top.
I’m writing this because I want you to consider every police interaction you’ve had and what the outcome was. As each of my own occurrences replay In my mind, the tears begin to well. All it takes is one negative experience to smudge the rest of the positive experiences. That very well could be just me, I am not sure. There are billions of people in the world, so it is quite possible that for some people, negative experiences do not make or break their outlook on a group of people or a certain profession.
When I was a little girl, I was taught to respect and trust the police. They would come to my school almost every week for the D.A.R.E program and when I would come home late from school, they were at my home “waiting at the door.” (No joke. If I was thirty minutes or more late coming home from school, my mom would panic and report me missing.) Then as I got older, the police officers in my town started an after school program that branched into movie night. Movie night was low key awesome and all in all, I have to say that they generally made me feel protected.
Fast forward, if you have to ask then I would answer, “Yes, I am Black as were most of the police officers in my town growing up.”
Onward to some of my experiences.
1. (16 yrs)
Don’t ask me what led up to this other than being with the wrong crowd. We were on our way to a participate in a neighborhood brawl and for what ever reason we were pulled over. I don’t remember how I managed to get out of the house that late at night, nor do I recall who’s car I was in. I solely remember squinting at the bright flood flashlights the police officers beamed into the windows. I was so scared.
I remember them asking how old each of us were, where we were from, as well as where we were going. We answered the officers’ questions and were sent on my way. Right after that, I was taken home by someone from the group we were in.
The officers were all White.
2. (18 years)
I had my driver’s license for about six months and I had no sense of direction. I was out on a busy highway not too far from my home. I was exhausted because I was up all night and had been driving around all morning. So, I’m on this highway dead sleepy, lost, and driving in the far left lane going about 25 miles per hour crying with my hazards on. I had no idea this was not a proper thing to do. I can’t tell you how long I was driving like this before I was pulled over by a police officer. I got my credentials out and I’m pretty sure he didn’t bother looking them up. He took one look at me and my license then scoffed a little bit.
“You’re a new driver. Do you know what you were doing wrong?” he’d asked me.
“No,” I was two seconds from breaking out into a full out sob.
“You were in the fast lane with your hazards on. You can’t do that,” this time he chuckled a little bit.
“I – I didn’t know,” I replied. I went on to explain that I was lost and trying to pick up my boyfriend from work. I then told him where I was trying to go and he told me how to get there.
I have no idea what his race was. I just remember that he wasn’t White.
3. (19 years)
I was driving down the same road. My friends and I were trying to decide if we were going to ride down to the beach or go to a theme park. We had decided to go to a theme park but had gotten lost.
This time I was speeding. It had been a year or so since I had gotten pulled over last. I saw the squad car in the next lane so I slowed down. Safe! Right? Nope. I got pulled over. This time by a White female officer and her White male partner. I wasn’t pressed. I was a little nervous because I didn’t want a ticket but at the same time, I was speeding so this is what I get. No big deal.
Well, she came banging on the window and I rolled it down. Her partner came over to the other window with his flash light on and beaming in the window. It was nine in the morning so I’m not sure what he was doing that for. Yet I still wasn’t too pressed.
I could hear my high school teacher’s voice in my ear this time. He told us that he keeps his hands on the steering wheel and his wrists crossed. I followed suit. The male officer did a visual search. You know, scanning the car and flashing the light in visible places that were tucked in small corners of the car.
She gave me the same introductory run down. I gave her credentials and waited patiently while she looked them over. She came back to the car with a ticket for my brake light. I was relieved but annoyed at the production.
4. Same day as #3
This was for the same issue in a different town. We didn’t get a ticket because I already had one from that morning.
5. (22 years old)
I went to a strip club with my best friend. Wrong place. I should not have been there at all but I was and of course, I got in trouble. We were getting ready to leave because the ATM had broken. The nearest bank was a fifteen minute drive away and there was no way I was going to go to the bank then come back. I had already given the bar manager money to make change for me and I wanted it back so that I could leave.
I started calling out to the manager as he disappeared behind the bar. I was waving my arm trying to get someone’s attention. Anyone at this point. The manager looked back and gave me the ‘one minute finger.’ As I backed down, this huge security guard (he had to be at least six foot seven inches tall) walked up to me and told me to get away from the bar. I was confused and inebriated.
I explained to him that I was waiting for the manager. He started yelling about me being behind the bar but I wasn’t behind the bar. So as I am backing up from him, he grabs me around my waist and carries me out of the club. I started screaming and crying because I had no idea what was going on or why. Everything happened so fast. My friend (non drinker and very quiet) hurried out behind us.
There were officers already in the parking lot and they rushed over to see what was going on. I’m yelling and crying because as I said, I had no idea what was going on. I could hear my friend calmly explaining the situation. She told me to be quiet and of course I refused because I wanted my money. I deserved an explanation! How could someone so large just bully someone like that. What had I done?
It was such an odd experience. Both odd and troubling. The bar manager came out and gave me my receipt to show that he gave me back the money. Then the police told me to walk away so I turned my back and began walking to my car. I took one step and was tackled by the officers.
“Cuff this whore, cuff this whore!” the Hispanic officer was grunting and growling. And I fought back. It was a natural response. Two men were on top of me calling me a bitch and a whore and I had no idea what I had done wrong. The Hispanic officer had his knee in my back screaming still, “Cuff this whore,” and I could hear my friend yelling my name and screaming “Oh my God!” There were guys outside and I’m not sure what they were doing.
“She’s resisting, she’s resisting!” thot
I felt like I stepped outside of my own body and watched myself being groped, dragged, and tackled. How did I get here? Finally I took heed to my friend’s hollers and my body went limp. I was pulled off the ground and put into the back of a squad car.
While I was being processed, the Black officer’s eyes pleaded with me. “Why didn’t you just stop talking?” his voice was sorrowful.
I didn’t reply. I had sobered up during the scuffle. He continued with, “He’s my superior, I’m sorry.” And I still had no response.
Assault Against a Police Officer
$1,000 and a few months later, the charges were dropped.
6. Same year in a Commonwealth State
I was speeding. I can’t recall the speed limit but I was going 74 miles per hour and the day was gorgeous. He pulled me over, ran my license but couldn’t pull anything up because my driving record is clean. The officer gave me the ticket anyway and told me to slow down.
Okay. *speeds into the sunset*
7. Same year & same state as numero 6
This particular situation I find to be at the very least amusing. I call to mind the words that were shared one day on Facebook, I hate when people bash the police. Who do you call when you need help?
I call the only people that may possibly make a difference in the outcome. (duh)
This particular day I was around two months pregnant and arguing with my boyfriend at the time. We had such a tumultuous relationship. Any how, the guy had no idea how to maintain his car. He knew nothing down to the simplest facts of nuts, bolts, and screws.
Conversely, I knew enough about body work to do visible damage. When I say “visible damage” I mean removing the screws from the brake and head lights as well as unhooking his battery cable. Why? Why did I do this? How could I be so childish. Because he started it that’s why.
He came back to the car while I was standing by and “putting it back together.” I wasn’t really putting the car back together; I was giving it the appearance of “nothing to see here.” When he came storming towards the car, I scurried away leaving his trunk and hood popped while the headlights and brake lights sat in there places.
When he closed the trunk and hood, the lights fell off. They didn’t fall off completely but they hung down. He tried to start his car to chase after me, naturally, but was unable to. I in turn started to speed walk backwards, yelling obscenities in his direction. I could be quite the menace, I suppose.
Either way, he was able to start his car after seeing that the cable was detached and reattaching it. He sped into the parking lot I was now jogging across and cut my path off. He was screaming at me about his car and I responded with pure amusement. He wanted me to fix it and again, I laughed and held my closed hands out to him.
“Here. You fix it.”
He opened his hands to receive my handful of screws. The guy flipped out and then my amusement vanished. I knew that while this was a ten minute fix, I may have gone too far. His mouth appeared to be foaming when he grabbed me by my arm and shoved me in the back seat.
We started to tussle in the small space and I had started to fear for my life. Maybe I really went to far. Well, the people in the hotel across the street were watching and felt like I needed help and they called the police.
The police officers separated us and asked for our stories. I told the police officer what I had done and he laughed. He laughed. I was somewhat relieved but very sorry because I didn’t think of how far this could go.
At the end of it all we made up and the officers allowed me to take the car home. My ex walked down the street to his second home.
All is well.
8. Home state ( 25 years old)
This is a new boyfriend with new drama. This particular situation is hard to write about so I’m going to keep it short. I had to go to the hospital while I was pregnant with our daughter. While I was there, his ex calls my phone. One thing led to another and he and I were fighting in my exam room.
I was arrested. *insert exasperated emoji here* One officer was understanding, while the other was over eager. All in all, it was an eye opener for me because I already had a child. She was at home with her grandmother while I was at the hospital. The police still wanted to know her name, age, and where she was. The possibility that she could be taken from me due to my inability to control my temper was alarming.
That was my wake up call. My kids are a weak point for me. Their livelihoods are what keep me focused. I take care of my kids so that in the future, they will know how to care for themselves. Who will raise them with the same discernment if I have unwittingly found myself locked up?
The prosecutor dropped the charges but noted that I had been arrested for similar charges two years prior to this incident. That’s when I knew the circumstances don’t matter and are not considered. Not guilty? Yea, right. I looked like I have an anger problem and maybe back then but I certainly don’t have one now.
“Be careful,” the prosecutor cautioned as she glanced at my boyfriend and the father of my children. And from that moment on, I think and rethink on how I respond to people. No more physical reactions.
9, 10, 11, & 12. Home state (27 years old *ack* I’m so old!)
All of these are traffic stops. Let me tell you that once your license is suspended, it is next to impossible to get back on track. At least that’s what it feels like. There’s so much money involved in the restoration process. This includes time off of work and actually paying for the tickets.
Did you know they suspend your license for parking tickets now? Neither did I. So, boom — #9, I was speeding on a street that is called “parkway.” I mean really, who goes twenty five miles on a parkway? So I was pulled over by officers holding those damn speed guns.
My wig, yes wig was sliding back because my head was killing me and my kids were annoying me. It was five in the evening and I couldn’t get home fast enough. The officer gave me his spiel. I was flustered and I gave him my stuff (you know, stuff).
My kids were all, “Mommy, I want eat. Mommy, I want eat.” He saw them and went back to the other officer to confer. They both walked back to my car and gave me a warning. They sent us on our way with kisses. Seriously blowing kisses at my daughters.
#10 I don’t remember why. I can’t believe I don’t remember why. I was let go, nonetheless.
#11 My plate popped as I drove by a police officer. This goes back to my license being suspended for parking tickets. So, he also let me go. Thanks to my kids for that too.
#12 *insert wall slide* I never do this ever! Using a port of land as a port of travel happens to be illegal even when there is only five cars between you and your right turn. So I pulled up on the shoulder and happened to pull up next to an officer. Either way, as I said before, I never do this because I’m a chicken and today I decided to buck the system and do it anyway.
No kids with me this time and my papers are straight so, I was let go with another warning.
In summation, all cops are not bad and yet I still feel compelled to get to the highest point of anywhere and scream ‘FVKC THE COPS!’ But why? I guess it’s the way they are portrayed in the media. I had one terrible experience with the police. It is an experience that still brings me to tears.
It would honestly be a relief to know that when the police arrive, they will be objective above all else at all times. Think about it, you never know who you’re going to get or what mood they’re going to be in. Just keep your eyes low and have your papers straight.
“You hate the police until you need the police.” Well, I can’t call Ghostbusters.