I have NEVER been afraid of the police…

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Sure, the names that made national headlines are etched into my brain like lyrics to my favorite song: Sean Bell. Oscar Grant. Ronald Madison. James Brisette. Eric Gardner. Then there are the ones who did not make headlines continuously on CNN, MSNBC or FOX: Steven Eugene Washington. Stephon Watts. Remarley Graham. Manuel Loggins, Jr. Rekia Boyd. Kimani Gray. Kendrec McDade. Timothy Russell. Malissa Williams. Orlando Barlow. Wendell Allen. Alonzo Ashley. Aaron Campbell. All black, mostly teenagers or young men in their early 20s. All killed by cops, mostly white. All unarmed.

Oh and let’s not forget Rodney King.

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

I am afraid for my 20-year-old cousin. I am afraid for his friends. I am afraid for my nephews. I am afraid for my friends. I am afraid for their children. I am afraid for all young boys and men who have to check the Black/African-American box when identifying themselves on documents.

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

In my lifetime, I have met a lot of great police officers. I have met police officers who willingly do welfare checks. I have met police officers who stop and talk to kids on the streets about grades and being good citizens in their communities. I have met police officers who help chase down animals who have escaped from their homes. I have met police officers who are more than willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the peace, without using excessive force. I have met police officers who have wept openly over a fallen comrade as well as strangers in the community. I have met police officers who epitomize what it means to be a police officer: to protect and serve the community. In 2003, I met a police officer whom I trust with my life. Over the years he has proven to be consistent, reliable, dependable, honest and loyal.

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

I believe there is more good in the world than bad. I believe there are more good cops in the world than there are bad ones. I believe most cops take the oath of honor with the intentions of protecting and serving those in their community. I know good police officers in my hometown who I see diligently working to protect our streets. Personally, I have never had a bad experience with a police officer.

I have NEVER been afraid to trust the police. I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

In February 1999, the story disturbed me. Amadou Diallo, an unarmed black man, was shot 19 times by four police officers who fired off 41 rounds. My 17-year-old mind sought understanding. As a news junkie, I thought I could find it there. I was wrong. As a newspaper junkie, I thought I could find it there. I was wrong. As my mother’s only child, I thought I could turn to her and find what I was seeking. I was wrong. It then dawned on me. There was no understanding. It would never make sense. It was senseless and yet at no point in time did this act of violence change my view of  the police. I was not afraid of them.

Until NOW.

What happened to Michael Brown was disgusting. Hateful. Sickening. Barbaric. Cruel. Heinous. Yeah, we do not have all the “facts” as of now but we know enough. We know that a young UNARMED black man was gunned down like a wild animal in the woods. Only his forest was the middle of the road in an apartment complex and his hunters put their hand on a Bible and swore to protect him.

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

I see it on social media all the time. Friends of mine, who are black, sharing the warnings they have been given over the years by their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, etc. about how to handle contact with the police. They have been told to do nothing that would warrant the police having to restrain them, apprehend them or confront them. My friends, in turn, have passed these messages along to their sons. The warning flashes like emergency lights: police officers cannot be trusted. I would often chime in with my thoughts that were often filled with a defense of police officers because I believe the majority are not bad.

I have NEVER been afraid of the police.

Until NOW.

As a devout Christian, I cringe when I type those words. I have never been afraid of anything other than snakes. Oddly enough, that is what many equate police officers to be. The more I write the more I realize that I am not necessarily afraid of the police but more so afraid of the power they have. Of all the names mentioned in the beginning, police officers were only held accountable in two of the murders. This accountability included actual jail time that amounted to a little over five years. FIVE YEARS. I am afraid of the fact that there are police officers out here who without hesitation will open fire on young black men like it is duck season. I am afraid that there are police officers who willingly take this course of action because they know it is highly unlikely that they will have to pay for the crime. I am afraid that there are police departments, like the one in St. Louis County, MO, who treat peaceful, protesting citizens like public enemy number one.

I have NEVER been afraid of the power of the police.

Until NOW.

Even as my words change, the thought still upsets me. The words perpetuate a stereotype. In my hometown, we have never had an incident even remotely similar to what we have seen take place in Ferguson, MO and I am positive I have hundreds of friends that can say the same about their hometowns. Being afraid of their power is no different from a white person being afraid of all young black men because of what they see on tv. It is no different from a black person thinking all white people are racist. It is no different from Americans thinking all Latinos are in the country illegally. These are generalizations and they are ones that are proven everyday to not be true.

I have NEVER been afraid of the power of the police.

Until NOW.

As much as I want to believe a situation like this will not happen close to home, sadly there is no guarantee. As I stated before, I am a Christian. My defense against my friends in the past when they expressed their feelings about being Black in America was that I trust GOD. I refuse to worry and stress about what ifs. HE is my protector, provider and shield. If I have to worry daily about who and what is out and about then I might as well stay inside. I cannot live a life of fear. That is not how I was designed.

I have NEVER been afraid of the power of the police.

Until NOW.

The reality is that while I believe most police officers have good hearts and would not shoot an unarmed young black man, I do not know which police officers fall into this category. The officers I know do but what about the officer that passes me on Interstate 85? What about the officer I encounter at a football game? What about the officer that is passing through town? What about the officer that is off duty and is shopping at the mall? What about the plain clothes officer who is patrolling the streets blending in with civilians? What about the officer that is called to quiet a disturbance? How do I know these officers do not belong to the same trigger happy tribe that we have seen rear its ugly head from coast to coast?

The fact is, I do not know. And that is unsettling. I have NEVER had these types of thoughts running through my head. I have NEVER been this concerned about every day encounters with police officers. I have NEVER prayed so hard for the hearts of police officers all across the country.

I never needed to.

Until NOW.


No Justice, No Peace. #RIPMikeBrown {Source: Michael Skolnik Twitter}
No Justice, No Peace. #RIPMikeBrown
{Source: Michael Skolnik Twitter}

73 thoughts on “I have NEVER been afraid of the police…

  1. Rona

    Very thoughtful piece. I went to sleep thinking about you last night and how this was affecting you and your view of the world. Well done!!!

  2. Lexie

    Love it!! So true but so sad that like you said you just never know which one fits into the category that would commit to such senseless acts.

  3. Sherraine

    Until NOW!!! Very powerful!! These senseless acts bring about so many emotions: uncertainty, concern, anger and fear, but you are right, we must keep trusting God and praying without ceasing.

  4. Perhaps your view of “trigger-happy police” would change if you listened to the audio recording that was released today, of an eye witness telling an interviewing cop that Brown continued to attack the cop AFTER the first shot inside the squad car.

    1. As if I’m suppose to trust anything released by any of the powers that be in that town? I guess you didn’t hear the recordings where backup was called but not EMS? I guess I should ignore the fact that EMS didn’t pick up Michael Brown’s dead body. A black SUV did. I guess I should ignore the fact that a world renowned forensic pathologist confirmed what we all know. Ok.

    2. You expect me to believe anything coming from the powers that be down there? Good luck with that. I find it interesting that the first shot happened in the car but there was no gun powder on him. I guess we will just ignore the autopsy findings of world renowned pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden. Cool.

  5. Every barrel has a few rotten apples just like every police department has a few bad cops. Don’t mistrust them all based on one idiot’s behavior. That’s sorta like what the definition of racism is…judging a group of people negatively based on the behavior of one or two.

    1. Thank you for your comment JS. Did you read the whole post? I acknowledged everything you pointed out. However, right now with everything that is going on I’m not as confident in them as I was before. I saw a stat yesterday that said every week last year there were black people killed by white cops at least twice a week. That is scary!

      1. Yes I understand your argument and I thought your statements were good and honest. There is imbalance in our country on issues of race, economy, and criminal justice. I just hope people will work together for progress and not pull away from each other. Our country needs leaders not dividers.

  6. I have rarely felt protected by police officers, if I am speaking honestly. More often than not, I feel intimidated when cops are around. That is because “protect and serve” has turned into something that it never should have: money. When I see a cop on the road, I worry about being pulled over for a number of reasons — do I have a burnt out taillight, did my turn signal not work, did I not turn on my headlights, etc.? I never feel safer when a cop is near. That is sad. I couldn’t even imagine being a young, black man right now. That worry would quickly to turn fear. Hopefully one day this beautiful country can move past all of the hate and discrimination, because that is exactly where I believe this stemmed from. Maybe one day….

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. I pray that there comes a day, very soon, when we all feel safe anytime they are around. Only love can drive out hate. We need more of it!

  7. > What happened to Michael Brown was disgusting. Hateful. Sickening. Barbaric. Cruel. Heinous. Yeah, we do not have all the “facts” as of now but we know enough.

    Which is what white people used to say during lynchings. “Well someone said he raped a white girl and he is black and they do have a reputation and all….. so I guess we don’t need to wait for all the facts to be known … we know enough already …..”

    What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    > We know that a young UNARMED black man was gunned down like a wild animal in the woods.

    Yes a wild animal weighing 250+ pounds who is charging at you. ‘Unarmed’ is a misleading description of the situation. The cop was armed and the guy was charging the cop. He was in effect charging towards a weapon, presumably with the intent to get hold of that weapon. You do not charge a cop with a gun without murderous intent, because it’s either gonna be you or him who ends up getting shot.

    Here are the facts as I believe them to be …. The cop has already been attacked in his car by this guy. By all accounts this attack was serious enough to pop the cop’s eye socket. Moments later the same guy is charging at the cop who he knows is armed. And a cop. Witnesses were caught on camera talking amongst themselves saying how the guy was charging the cop (footage of this conversation is included in this video LINK)

    He must have understood the cop would try to take him down, even if that means taking him out. That means his only option is to get to that cop first, knock him to the ground, grab his gun and use it to shoot the cop.

    The cop must have been aware that if the guy charging at him gets to him that is what he will try and do. He will be dead and the guy will then have his gun and a squad car. And nothing to lose, having just murdered a cop in broad daylight.

    As unfortunate as it was, I don’t understand how the cop had any other option but to shoot the guy under those circumstances.

    If someone can explain it differently then please put me right.

    What would YOU do in that situation? If you were the cop would you just let the guy get to you, knock you to the ground and make a bid for your gun?

    1. From your words, sounds like you may be a racist. But that aside, you are totally right. The only thing I hate more than cops is violent criminals (mostly cuz cops spend more time harassing folks for traffic stuff than stopping violent criminals).

      1. I was not replying to you; I was replying too Curiosetta, who called him “a wild animal”. Calling him a wild animal sounds pretty racist.

        But also more evidence and eye witness reports are coming out, including the celebrity autopsy, supporting the cop’s story.

      2. Yes. While the one witness whose story was originally reported claimed that Brown was shot from behind, the autopsy showed that all of the shots were from in front.

        Really, in cases like these, if one person is beat the hell up, that information needs to come out DAY ONE.

      3. Haha. It’s ok. I heard something this morning that made sense as far as what the witness said. The shot from the inside of the arm could have happened while he had his back turned.

      4. > From your words, sounds like you may be a racist.

        What specifically did I say that makes you accuse me of being racist? If you have good reason to make that insinuation then please make your case.

        Insinuating someone is racist WITHOUT providing a coherent argument to back it up just comes across as slander and character assassination. But hey, prove me wrong by making an argument….

        > I was replying too Curiosetta, who called him “a wild animal”. Calling him a wild animal sounds pretty racist.

        I did not call him a wild animal. In the original post YOU said “We know that a young UNARMED black man was gunned down like a wild animal in the woods.”

        I was just pointing out that this ‘wild animal’ (your words not mine) was, by all accounts, charging at the cop, presumably with the intent to kill the cop. That made him a threat to the cop. Whether the cop was being charged by a 6’4″ white man, a 6’4″ black man, a horse, a lion, a bear or a bull the cop’s life was being threatened and his shooting appears justified for this reason. But feel free to argue it was not if you think I am wrong.

        Even if I was comparing him to a wild animal for charging the cop, how on earth is that racist?!

        Are you saying white people can’t also to be likened to wild animals too? Isn’t THAT racist?

      5. I saw how long the video is and immediately closed it. Who is this random guy? Even if he was coming towards him, that does not give him a reason to unload his clip on him.

      6. Yes the video is quite long (but hey, this is an important subject and worth taking some time over, right?)

        > Who is this random guy?

        The guy gets literally millions of views and downloads a month so he is more than some random internet guy. If you want to know who he is watch the video 🙂

        > Even if he was coming towards him, that does not give him a reason to unload his clip on him.

        Yes it does. The reason is called ‘self defence’. The guy had already attacked the cop moments before. He knows the cop has his gun drawn. He knows cops shoot people who try to attack them. He knew that approaching the cop would mean getting shot.

        So the only reasons to approach the cop would be (a) he wants to get shot (b) he wants to disarm the cop and shoot the cop and then run off

        If you can think of any other reasons, let’s hear them.

      7. Is he a expert when it comes to speaking on this particular topic? If not, I’ll pass. I’ll pass anyway. I don’t have the time to watch. Seriously :-).

        I’m sorry but no it does not. The cop was the one who instigated the aggression by yelling profanities at Michael and his friend. How is it self defense if the cop is not being attacked? I still find it interesting that we heard nothing about the cops “bruises” until almost a week after Michael was killed. Please don’t try and tell me this cop couldn’t have just shot Michael in his knee. Or that the four shots in the arms weren’t enough. Ever think that maybe at that point Michael Brown was disoriented? I am sure I probably would be if I was being shot. Repeatedly.

      8. > The cop was the one who instigated the aggression

        OK that’s just being ridiculous. Michael had just committed a violent robbery and was in possession of stolen goods. He then attacked the cop and beat him up. Then then he ran at the cop even though he had his gun drawn.

        Clearly Michael was the aggressor every step of he way. If you beat up a cop and then charge at him when he has his gun drawn you are going to get shot. Everybody knows this.

        > Ever think that maybe at that point Michael Brown was disoriented?

        Quite possibly. Perhaps he was on drugs. We don’t know a this point.

        Did you ever think the cop’s vision was impaired after having his eye busted up? Ever think he might be a bit tense after getting beaten up in the car and then charged at by an UNARMED man of considerable size giving him split seconds to react?

        I mean if YOU had a gun drawn on a man who had just beaten you up and he kept coming for you even though you have a gun on him and he does not even have a gun, that would tell you he means business right?

        So what would you do? Seriously would you wait for him to get to you? No, nobody would just stand there. They would shoot out of self defence. That is why it is such a bad idea to charge at armed cops, or armed robbers, or armed anybody.

      9. Really? Wilson didn’t even know about the robbery when he approached Michael.

        Beat him up? You’re really reaching now.

        It is clear that you are convinced that an unarmed young black man was justifiably killed in broad daylight. There’s nothing left to discuss. Have a good one!

      10. > Really? Wilson didn’t even know about the robbery when he approached Michael.

        Does that mean that Michael was not acting aggressively when he robbed the store aggressively?

        Was Michael acting aggressively when he robbed the store, prior to encountering the cop? Yes or no?

        > Beat him up? You’re really reaching now.

        Did Michael blow kisses to the cop in the car and give him a foot massage or did he beat him up aggressively?

        > It is clear that you are convinced that an unarmed young black man was justifiably killed in broad daylight.

        What matters to the cop more (a) the fact that he is unarmed (b) the fact that he is acting aggressively, is 6’4″ and has just beaten him up in the car and is not charging at him, even though he has his gun drawn?

        If a man without a gun had just beaten you up, and he was now charging you even though he KNOWS you have a gun would you just stand there or would you shoot to defend yourself?

  8. .Tanveer Husain who has been seen by many in Bedford and nationwide on the popular police series ,police stop’. Caught a man outside a superstore in Bedford putting a bag of stolen meat in some bushes.But when he apprehended the man he not only grabbed him from behind and started to choke him he said ‘If you ever run from me again ill kill you.
    the man said “I’ve got emphysema i cant breath” . It must be noted that the man did not make any attempt to run from Mr Husain as he is barely able to make walk fast because of his trouble with his lungs.
    I’m in no way advocating or condoning the act of crime committed here but why should people
    have to put up with police brutality or bullying , ok so the man stole some meat worth around $20.00 but suffering such a condition as emphysema and being choked from behind to the point of being lifted off of the ground and being told if he runs again (which he didn’t in the first place ) I’ll kill you is absolutely absurd and disgusting .
    The police are here to protect the innocent and keep people and places a safe haven.
    They are not her to threaten bully intimidate and hurt those they arrest . Agreed if the shoplifter was one of England’s most wanted villains or he was a violent menace to society id say the policeman involved used necessary force to apprehend him but truth is .
    More and more people are complaining about police treatment in Bedford why should we have to put up with this police state mentality ?
    I’m not picking on or making harassment claims against Mr Husain this is just a story like a lot of other stories i hear about police mistreatment . Something needs to be done and said and someone needs to stand up and say it.
    I’m claiming responsibility for this and i will stand up against the big brother culture that we as human beings are being subjected to .
    More needs to be done , I am myself a law abiding citizen but i will not sit back and watch the men

    and women in uniforms abuse their powers .
    yours ,



  9. printedcartoon

    If in America you don’t feel protected, pay me a visit in Romania! The police men are like some monkeys imported from Zimbabwe, the only difference is the gun and the uniform which they wear!
    We all know that sentence: F**k the police!

    1. I know that there are countries that have it much worse. I pray that it gets better over there! It’s sad that some abuse their power to intimidate or harm others. Is there no action that can be taken against them over there? Or is the government protecting them?

      1. printedcartoon

        Yes, the only action I would take for me, is that if I could had a chance to relocate in another country, with more educated people and a higher standard of living, I’ll do it. I think that the real problem here it’s the communist-depressive mentality which most of the people still have it (speaking of the elders). Anyway, to help you making a point, it’s too far to say that the government is protecting these baboons, like in Mexico (sorry if there are mexicans around here, it’s a fact and it’s real), but they are making abuse of power only to feel more bad asses.

  10. You said yourself that you had met many wonderful police officers who had done many kinds acts and had what i can only deem as “integrity from the way you described them. This thing that had happened to this young man is nothing less than a travesty. Having said that…you can not judge the group based on the actions of the individual. One neglectful babysitter dies not mean all babysitters are bad. One negligent doctor shouldn’t keep you from seeing a good attentive doctor. Think about what you do for a living. Do you know anyone else that does the same thing… poorly? Does that mean everyone should be afraid of you?
    Pray. Give your fear to God. Have strength in the Lord and don’t let other people’s actions change who you are.
    1 Corinthians 16:14

      1. I understand about the new phone :-).

        Thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it! I acknowledged everything you said in my initial post. Having the fear is not a good feeling because I know all cops aren’t bad cops. I believe most of them are good cops. I said that. To say that they all over would be a stereotype. However, right now, it still doesn’t do much to put me at ease when this keeps happening over and over and over. All I know to do is pray and ask GOD to remove the fear. That is the only way I will get over it. Other’s actions will never change who I am. I will always be true to me.

  11. Don’t fear the police. From believer to believer: “Behold I give you authority over serpents and scorpion and all the power the enemy possesses and nothing shall in any way harm you.” Our Lord and Savior in Luke 10:18, 19. Put on that armor and stand

  12. As my mother is a retired police officer, I have never been afraid of the police, and I’m still not afraid. However, I am afraid that my son will grow up and be profiled and ultimately shot by the police. I am afraid that my husband will say something smart to the cops and end up shot. On the other hand, who do we call when we are in trouble? This world is so backwards!

  13. Paul Worthington Books

    This is the most powerful piece on the subject of police misuse of power I have ever read. I wish everyone could read it, especially our young men and women, regardless of race. Your words hold a deeper meaning than just a warning for young black men, yes, it’s that, but much more.

    I feel a message of hope as the center of your writing. Hope, that the beginning of the end of these senseless killings is the realization that these were human beings with a life filled with hope, only to be snuffed out by someone that in many ways only viewed them as targets. Outstanding post, I will never forget this. Thank you.

    1. Wow. Thank you for reading and your feedback! I am humbled to know that my words are conveying such a message. Please feel free to share it with others! I hope blogs such as mine and others can bring about some change.

  14. This is brilliantly written to make the reader not only think about what is being said but also to balance the negativity of such a sad event with the positivity of what is also done on a daily basis by police officers. Quite balanced and thought provoking.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your feedback. I continue to be humbled by how well my piece of work is being received. I pray that it promotes healthy dialogue so we can figure out how to combat this issue.

  15. Pingback: Another day. Another shooting. | Kassie Nette's Korner

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