Some advice from a black dad to anyone who encounters police.
Far too much is said about police brutality, but not enough about the importance of being a good citizen. Black progressives wax poetic about the rare, yet uncalled for instances of mistreatment by law enforcement. Never do they address the myriad cases of how the citizens themselves make these situations more complicated, more violent, and more deadly than they have to be.
Mainstream media will play scenes of police brutality on repeat, perhaps to traumatize Americans into a certain frame of mind with nary a solution in sight. Meanwhile, Democrat lawmakers gaslight their own police forces, restructuring and reforming without doing their research. LEOs are now hesitating to respond, yet still, not a single word is said about the people being arrested and their bad choices in the heat of the moment. From reaching for weapons, to running from the police, it’s as if this new generation has never even heard of the show “COPS.” But I have a solution: seven steps to keep in mind that will work for all people who encounter the police.
- Remove hats and sunglasses: Making eye contact with the officer is critical. Eye contact helps build trust in many instances, but especially when interacting with law enforcement. After all, much can be said about a person by looking into their eyes. To hide your eyes is to hide the truth.
- Listen: Hearing the officer’s command is important. If you are talking, yelling, or screaming, you can’t hear. There is a science behind the notion of the human brain not being able to receive and transmit messages at the same time. And when encountering a scenario that involves your safety, listening skills are critical. Allowing your fear and prejudice for law enforcement to drown out reasoning skills can be lethal.
- No sudden moves: Running away puts you at higher risk of a physical altercation, as we witnessed in the case of Rayshard Brooks in the Atlanta Wendy’s parking lot. Again, putting fear over reasoning can be risky. Besides, if you have nothing to hide, there’s no need to run. Sadly, if you believe what the mainstream media tells you about LEOs, you will risk much more than a ticket for a minor infraction.
- Keep hands visible: Don’t reach for a phone — a la Stephan Clark — to record. Don’t reach for a knife — like Jacob Blake. Don’t reach for anything at all. LEOs are always watching your hands, and if your hands are free, you are not a threat to them.
- Obey commands: When we are young, we learn to respect authority by obeying the authority, especially when the request is reasonable. Putting your hands on the steering wheel is a reasonable request. Getting out of the car is a reasonable request. Taking your hat off and providing license and registration information are reasonable requests. What isn’t reasonable is acting irrational due to fear.
- Proper Address: We all know how to say “Yes, sir or no, sir.” Language is important. This signals to the officer that you are not a threat. You have home training or possible parents that taught you respect. Calling an officer names, being rude and challenging the officer sends signals that you are on the offense. And an offender to law enforcement is an offender to the public’s safety. Be respectful.
- Be kind: A Bible verse says soft answers turn away wrath. Kindness has power. Kindness still works.
If I could add one more thing, I’d say being honest is crucial. A person living an honest life fares better than someone with something to hide. Either way, innocence is not for us to decide alone. This is why we leave crime investigation up to our LEOs. Perhaps you may not know that your actions are illegal. Since ignorance of the law is not an excuse, officers are here not to hurt but to help correct and redirect offenders. They want you to stay alive.
Ultimately, the overarching concept that will help save more black lives in the face of law enforcement is a good choice. Simply put, if an officer pulled me over for a broken tail light, I’d comply and take the fine. If I acted irrationally and irritably with him, reaching for things and resisting reasonable commands, an LEO could take my life. It’s pointless to disagree, reject or rebuke this reality. We’ve witnessed the result of this. Instead, try kindness. Try respect. Try obedience. But most importantly, choose life.