I want to first state that in my own community, the police are the last thing that I am afraid of. Leave the community though, that’s a whole other story. The last thing you want to do it come into contact with the police in any way. It’s kind of funny, you look up to these guys as kids. I even wanted to be a cop. You want to help fight and take down the bad guys. The older you get however, you start to realize that there’s some people not worthy of wearing the badge.
My dad was a cop, but he quit because of all the corruption on the force. You’d think that’d be enough to realize it’s a flawed system. I still grew up respecting the police, until one day I realized how fucked up the system really is.
I got pulled over for going 65 on the interstate, while there were many others going well above that. I knew there were cops hiding at every U-turn area. What’s that saying, “I can smell a pig from a mile away”? Yeah well, I got pulled over anyway. The officer was a hostile motherfucker, lemme tell ya, but he took my information back to his car, and then came back on the shotgun side of my car. He asked what was in my duffelbag (I’m a rugby player), so I told him. He got really annoyed, and then in an angry, demanding tone, he asked me to open the bag (they can’t legally search anything without a warrant). I know my rights, but let’s be real, when you’re not white, you don’t really have any. They ask you to open your bag, you do it, because it’s not really so much a question as a “I will arrest you for whatever I can think of” kind of demand. He asked me where I was going, and I said to school. He asked me for my school ID and radioed someone at the station to call Falk College at SU check up on it. He saw that I had a Tylenol container in my bag and asked me to open it and dump it. He then asked me what I had written on my hand, which was “BIO assignment, Stats lab, mtg at Schine”. He asked me if it was some sort of code or drop off point or something, and I was like “No, that’s my work that I have to do.” I ain’t stupid. I know that Natives drive drugs down the I-81. He had me drive to the police station where they kept me for 4 hours. They let me go because they had absolutely nothing on me. Yeah, no shit.
I also get my car searched by Canadian customs officers frequently. Why? Who knows. There’s actually quite a few officers who are nice, but then you get like some uptight son of a gun, whose Kevlar vest probably weighs more than he does, getting all snotty, and it’s like, “bro, come on, I see you everyday, I’m clean, can you just chill out?” I don’t blame them for being pissy, but like, when I go through all the time, you’d think they’d know me better than that.
Just 2 days ago, I was attending a leadership program on campus where the fire alarm went off. I walked outside with my 30 pound bookbag (I had a lot of work to do that day). I got eyeballed by two separate University policemen in their vehicles, like I had done something wrong, just because I was a brown kid with a bookbag. I decided not to take my chances and got into my car and drove home before I could be stopped by the police. It’s incidents like this that really make you scared of the police.No one should have to fear the people who are supposed to serve and protect us. Nobody should be scared to exist. It sounds funny, but that’s exactly it. It’s not a life choice we make, we were born people of color. We cannot change it. When we get pulled over, detained, arrested, questioned, harassed by the police for everyday activities, yeah it’s safe to say we fear existing. I know many people who are afraid to have children because they know the racially biased life they will lead. They know that if they have a son, he’s likely to wind up dead on the street or in prison. If they have a daughter, she’s three times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted. It’s the current state of fear we live in. We might not live in concentration camps or prisons, but in essence we are policed like we are. We are treated like we are just bound to do something wrong, and they just sit there and wait. Wait for any excuse to police us.