Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Other Side

https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/451/some-thoughts-on-mercy

I could not finish this essay.  Why?  It is about the perspective of a black man and his prescription of an interaction with a police officer.  While I am certain that it is as he says, it is not exclusive to color.

He talks of the cop asking questions like does he have any drugs, guns, or anything illegal in the car.  I have been asked the same questions by police officers.  Perhaps my reaction is different, I do not look away, I do not back down in difference to the officer.  I do not take their bait when they threaten to bring dogs, or another cup shows up.  I have had enough experience to know that the cop sees my long hair, my style of clothing, and assumes I must have drugs, or at least an high.  I use that to my advantage, and use my knowledge of law against him.  Though I have often been told to get out of the car, I really do.  If I do so, I lock the car, and do not allow them entry.  It does not matter that I knew I had nothing in the car, I don't know what he or she might have on them.  I've been arrested, my car left for a friend's to retrieve, as they had no probable cause.  My first call is always to someone who will them call my lawyer.  I wait, and only once, because of the weather was I ever fully processed in and had to sit in a cell for 24 hours.  Even at that I was alone in the cell, not in central holding, because even though my lawyer could not get there to sign the papers, he insisted I was held in a private cell.

I understand the job of a police officer is difficult, but they make it more so with profiling, and making assumptions.  I am Irish decent, so yea mostly white.  I look like I should be something I am not and that gets me stopped for a dirty license plate, or some other such bs.  My entire life I have driven more without a license than with one.  I don't think about it, just money to pay off whoever decided they need to hit me up for money.  That is the way I look at it.  Perhaps it is different, but from my perspective not by much.  I have never been thrown on the hood of my car, or even touched without my permission.  I have been treated fairly well when you consider it.  I try to treat the police officers with respect, but never cower to a civil servant.  I pay their salary, and if they disrespect me, I gently remind them that I am their employer, and my lawyer will certainly make note of any issues I feel are unjust or unlawful.

Be as it may be, I have found that if you treat them with the respect they deserve, do not fear them, and keep them aware of your status as citizen, you should fair out alright.  Though it may be different for black people, or Latino people, or the list goes on, for me it isn't the police officers that are different, it is how I deal with them that changes things.

Peace
JD

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