what i’ve learned from the police…(pt .1)

i hate cops…and i wouldn’t be any kind of man if i couldn’t admit…i’m afraid of cops…everytime i see one when i’m driving…my sphincter clenches…my wife calls it…the pucker factor…in addition…i don’t trust em’…

that said…

ever since september 11, 2001, most of the nation has enjoyed a love affair with…so called…first responders…i say most because, generally speaking…black folk’s relationship…at least with the police…has always been loaded with…fear…hate…and distrust…my run in with the cops last month…has me thinking…why the..ahem…officer…reacted the way he did…and why i reacted the way i did…

he tried to pull me out of the car when i questioned why he pulled me over…the intensity and madness of our little interaction seemed like a microcosm of how black folk and white cops have dealt with each other since…forever…

so…let’s try to take a look at how all that came to be…

growing up black in new york during the 70’s and 80’s…it wasn’t hard to find reason to hate cops…it was in the air…all you had to do was breathe it in…and everyone knows about rodney king…but if you don’t know these names…you need to…especially if you’re young…and a person of color…

bumpers

louima

diallo…

baez

and these are just the more recent…more sensational…incidents…but don’t be fooled…this is not a recent development…many of the lynchings after world war one…were sanctioned…if not led by…local law enforcement…and this is not restricted to new york

here in denver…we have our own history of law enforcement…gone bad…

all this is the baggage i’m carrying…when i have my first up close encounter with a cop…i was in my early twenties…i was hanging out with friends at the campus pub…and someone walks in with the school security…he points at me…and they turn and leave…i thought…weird…and then went back to my beer…minutes later two cops walk in and ask me to walk out with them…my response was…why…

cops don’t like that…they told me that they didn’t have to tell me anything…they told me that i was the one who had to explain myself…i didn’t take that very well…it turned out that i was being accused of breaking into a car…at the same time i was at a public venue in a roomful of people…i told the cops that whoever made the accusation…was full of shit…they didn’t like that…they arrested me…I struggled…shouted…cursed…made a scene…no one…intervened…

later…handcuffed in the backseat of the patrol car…the cop leaned into my face and spoke to me through clenched teeth…

the only reason you’re still alive, is because you’re not worth killing.

i kept my mouth shut after that…for the entire 48 hours i was in custody while they ran me though the system…all i could think about was how i didn’t want to die…handcuffed…and choking to death…

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