I am always a little nervous when I see a cop car because of a horrific stop that happened to me in 1996 but that’s a story for a different time.
There is a road in Fayetteville that I drive twice a day and every once in a while I see the local sheriff’s car sitting in the corner looking to catch a speeder. As I crested a hill I kept my speed between 35-38 mph because I know where they sit. Today was no exception because true to form there was the car.
What’s different this time is I panicked more than usual. My heart started racing and I gripped the wheel tighter. I felt immense fear. I dared not look toward his direction as I passed for fear I would be pulled over. When I got near him he pulled out and my heart leapt. At the moment he pulled up the first thing I thought was, “PLEASE DON’T KILL ME”. Being totally honest, I was in fear for my life and I hadn’t done anything wrong. I passed where he was sitting. He turned out and went in the opposite direction but the fear did not subside. The Sherriff didn’t look at me or do anything to suggest he would pull me over or even harm me but the truth is I am scared now.
30 years ago I was told if you are ever pulled over roll your windows down, put your hands on your steering wheel and don’t move until told to. They shoot black boys. I was 16 years old when I was told the rules. I am 47 and today, that logic no longer applies. Levar Jones was asked to produce a license and he was shot. Philando Castile was asked to produce a license and he was shot.
Officer “Friendly”, do you understand what you have done to us? The fear Black men have while driving is worse than it has ever been. We can’t reach for a license, We can’t move in the car. We can’t drive a nice car in the hood. We can’t drive a nice car in the suburbs. We can’t even get out of the car at the local quicky mart without wondering if the look you are giving us is going to be the end of our life!
Some may feel I am being melodramatic but in the last thirty years of my life I can honestly say I have not heard of any white man or woman being shot dead for driving while white. In fact I can support this thought process with these news reports. Cecilia Cobb tried to run over a cop intentionally in Cleves Ohio and the police officer was able to jump out of the way, no shots fired. Stacy Ann Bunsey stole a truck and drove directly into a police car. The cop fired two shots but did not hit her. After coming to a complete stop they jumped on the truck she stole and tasered her. No additional shots fired.
Conversely, Deravis Caine Rogers stole a car, ran from the cops in an aggressive manner, one shot to the head.
Tyler Perry pulled over for driving while black. He was “let go” when another black officer saw who the white cops pulled over.
So I have one simple question for you. What exactly are we supposed to do because DWB is not a crime.