**I am going to start this post with a disclaimer that this has been my experience and I do not speak for everyone**
That being said, I am tired. I am tired of every time I turn on my TV seeing somebody that looks like me “accidently” killed. I have great respect for the task that law enforcement is asked to do, but to be frank they are overfunded and drastically underperforming. If people break the law, then arrest them and let them stand before a jury of their peers (The same right and privilege being given to white mass shooters, time and time again). My issue is that the police have become judge, jury, and executioner with no penalties. There is no accountability in American law enforcement and people are tired. The newest story is that the office accidently pulled their firearm and discharged it in lieu of their Taser and fatally shot someone. Having shot both there is absolutely no way to mistake the weight and feel of a loaded sidearm for a Taser. I am so tired of the same narratives; we watched a man plead for his life with a knee on his throat until he died. At no point was he not contained; it is not that difficult to cuff an angry assailant with multiple bodies I have done it before. There is and was no need for it to escalate to that point.
I am going to speak about my own experiences just to provide context. I grew up in one of the bigger more diverse cities in California. I was a tall kid but incredibly skinny with a baby face, I was taller than the 13-year old’s my age but clearly a child. I remember walking home from middle school and a cruiser pulling next to me and the officer start asking questions. Who am I, where am I going, where am I going from, all of which I answered respectfully. Then the officer speeds up cut off the sidewalk and tells me to put my hands up. His firearm is drawn, and I am reeling trying to figure out if I will make it home, I spent half an hour in cuffs on the sidewalk before he even bothered to ask me my name.
He then realized I wasn’t whatever kid he was looking for and turned me loose, there was no reason to escalate the situation that quickly or aggressively because I was complying (for all of those, if he had just complied none of this would have happened folks). I remember being 17 on my way home from a basketball game and being pulled over, the officer walked over and asked me for my license and registration. I hand it to him while trying to figure out why I was being pulled over (wasn’t speeding, no lights out, registration valid). The next thing I know the officer returns draws his firearm and asks me to get out of the car. Asks who I stole the car from (license and registration match and are in my name) and where I was going. Spent another 30 minutes in cuffs before they figured out what the hell was going on. Sent me on my way without the decency to even apologize for his mistake.
As a 20-year collegiate athlete fresh off of practice my teammate and I were just leaving training table heading back to the dorms, we both are 6’3+ 240-pound black men with our Nevada football gear on STILL ON CAMPUS. My family was coming over the mountain to visit that day and there was a good portion of snow over the summit, my mom called me, and I answered thinking something was wrong. I see the lights flash behind me and instantly get off the phone and pull over. My friend and I both have our hands on the dashboard when the officer comes to door, I roll down the window explain that I was aware of my mistake hand her my license and registration and my mind starts figuring out how I’m going to pay the fine. She is taking a while at the patrol car and I kept checking the mirror for her to come back so that we could be on our way. The next thing I know three more patrol cars and 6 more officers show up. They are all in a group behind the car talking and the next thing I know there are two sidearms drawn and pointing and my friend and I on either side of the car. The other officers are trying to calm down the two with their guns drawn and I remember thinking this is where I die over a stupid cell phone violation. That fear isn’t something I would wish on my worst enemy. Another tense 10-minute go by that feels like an eternity the officer hands me back my license and registration and sends us on our way. We filed complaints with the PD and never heard another word about it. This is the fear black children are facing on a day-to-day basis.
I don’t know what the answers are, I know that I am tired of having to sit through “the talk” with my siblings on how to come home safe. I am tired of watching black bodies gunned down in the streets time and time again. I am tired of the division it is causing as a nation; we can’t even protect our own citizens at home. We are being killed at a higher per capita rate than our counterparts. Study after study confirm the same thing. We are your neighbors, brothers, sisters and countrymen. I am not asking you to take up arms and march in the streets. This week I am simply asking you to close your mouth, open your ears and truly listen to the pain of your fellow Americans. Listen to what is going on in our communities and make your own decisions.