I heard stories about you when I was a kid. Dreams even, but not the good ones.
Before I could go outside and play with my friends I would receive a lecture from my parents:
“No playing with toy guns.”
“Pay attention to your surroundings and who you are around.”
“No matter what, don’t talk disrespectfully to an officer.”
“If an officer approaches you, keep your hands visible.”
“Don’t run away.”
As a kid I didn't know what any of this meant, I just wanted to go out and play.
As an adult, I now fully understand what they were teaching me. They were preparing me for the life that I now live. A life full of caution more than fun, a life full of injustice, and little hope.
I have seen you at church. I have seen you raise your hands and claim that you love God. Yet, you hate me.
Tell me, how can you say, “I love God” and hate your brother? You are a liar. “For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” — 1 John 4:20
I know we have been taught to despise and be cautious of one another but yes, I am your brother.
Why do I receive chills down my spine and goosebumps on my arms when you drive behind me?
I have done nothing wrong, yet I am afraid.
I am innocent, yet I pray that God saves me.
When your lights flash behind me, my heart drops. Better yet, it stops.
I was just on my way home, what did I do? I made a complete stop at the stop sign. My blinker was on. I made a legal turn. What did I do?
As you approach my car, the words of my parents are running through my mind. Pictures and videos are popping up in my head of police brutality against the color of my skin, I ask myself: “Am I next?”
But a greater question is, “Why is the color of my skin viewed as a weapon?” Please tell me.
I have now jumped into survival mode:
I am respectful and I keep my mouth closed.
My hands are in plain sight.
I am calm and under control on the outside. On the inside butterflies have filled my stomach.
You tell me to roll my window down, I respectfully do so. You have yet to give me a reason as to why you have pulled me over.
You ask for my ID, I respectfully hand it to you, slowly. 10 minutes pass, and I see two more cop cars pull up behind me.
What did I do?
My heart has dropped even further. I just want to get home to my family.
You ask me to step out of the car. I am conflicted because I know my rights, yet they are not enough. I know my parents taught me about doing what you say, but I have become furious with injustice.
You ask me again to step out of the car. Your partners have now surrounded me. I propose a question right back in defiance, “what did I do?!”
I have done nothing wrong, I am innocent. I just want to get home.
You began to try to open my door, “Officer stop! I have done nothing wrong.” The lessons of my parents are now fading away, for I am in survival mode and scared for my life.
You can’t open it. Baton now in hand. My car window shattered, my hands are still up in plain sight.
I am now dragged out of my car like a criminal. Face planted onto the cement, surrounded by 4 of the men that swore to “serve and protect”.
Why do you yell; “stop resisting!” when my hands are in plain sight?
“Officer, you’re hurting me.”
You yell again, “stop resisting!” Baton in hand smashed against my back, my hands are in plain sight.
The thought of getting home to my family has now faded away.
The thought of holding my wife and children is a distant memory.
You thought your baton wasn’t enough, your gun is now in my back.
Your partners can stop this, yet they choose to watch.
Cameras are out. Videos are being recorded. I have become another victim to the hatred my parents told me about when I was a kid. These are the nightmares I had. Mom. Dad. You were right, there is no justice.
The words “I can’t breathe” aren’t enough, the innocent screams of others watching me get brutalized are fading slowly.
I ask again:
“What did I…” BOOM *gunshot*