Skip to main content

An Open Letter To All Good Police Officers




Dear Officers;

Thank you for the service you provide. It's no small thing to risk your life every day to keep our civilization intact, especially when it seems like half the world is calling for you to resign or worse. Please know that your efforts are appreciated.

I am a black man living in rural America, and I know there are good police officers out there. Some of them cut me breaks when I was a kid and some of them live in my neighborhood now. I've had more positive experiences with police than negative ones.

The murder of Philando Castile is deeply disturbing on many levels. This was a man who had never committed a crime in his life. In the span of forty seconds, he'd gone from a standard pullover to violent statistic. In the span of forty seconds, Officer Jeronimo Yanez went from addressing a broken taillight to firing seven rounds into a vehicle that also carried a four-year-old girl.

Mr. Castile informed Officer Yanez that he had a firearm. Officer Yanez wouldn't let him finish the sentence, indicative that he was already on the defensive. Is it possible that Officer Yanez genuinely feared for his safety? Yes. Is it possible that this could've had a different outcome? Absolutely.

My question is this; if a person of color can legally own and operate a firearm and still lose his life at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect, where does that leave us?

Officers, I am scared. I admit it. Whenever I'm pulled over, I immediately put my hands outside the door just to diffuse any possibility of aggression. I always inform the officer that I'm not armed and that my driver's license is in my back pocket. I ask permission before I reach for it. Do I want to take these steps? No, and I shouldn't have too, but I have a family I want to get home too. (Blessedly, all members of law enforcement in my county where bodycams).

I worked a long time to get my life together and I am scared of losing it because the wrong officer sees me as large, brown, and a threat.

It should not be this way.

What really frightens me is this; as tensions are unusually high between brown citizens and police, one day, someone is going to fight back. It will all be recorded, too. An officer is going to make an erroneous assumption and the victim is going to successfully defend themselves.
Or worse, it will be assumed that an officer trying to do their job will be aggressive, resulting in pre-emptive action. If you think things are bad now...

None of us want this; not us, not you. I'm asking every decent member of law enforcement to please, for the sake of everyone involved, stop and think before reaching for your firearm. Your aim is to protect and serve, and a lot of us feel as though we are being hunted.

I also ask that decent police renounce actions such as Officer Yanez's. That you stand together and publicly vow to do whatever is in your power to reduce the chances of events like this happening.

At the end of the day, I promise; we all just want to go home. So let's get there together.

Thanks for reading.

Comments

Unknown said…
I have friends on both sides of this divide that I would be devastated if they were hurt or killed. It seems like so much of the rhetoric coming out of politics (on all sides) is based in fear, is it any wonder that people are angry and afraid?

So many tragic situations could be avoided. Not just by talking, but by LISTENING. By honestly hearing the other guy's perspective and applying some empathy. If people would say to themselves "How would I feel in this person's place" and be honest about those feelings, then move forward accordingly, this would be a much kinder, less toxic society.
Unknown said…
I have friends on both sides of this divide that I would be devastated if they were hurt or killed. It seems like so much of the rhetoric coming out of politics (on all sides) is based in fear, is it any wonder that people are angry and afraid?

So many tragic situations could be avoided. Not just by talking, but by LISTENING. By honestly hearing the other guy's perspective and applying some empathy. If people would say to themselves "How would I feel in this person's place" and be honest about those feelings, then move forward accordingly, this would be a much kinder, less toxic society.

Popular posts from this blog

America: A True Story About Hatred and Unity

I wanted fast food tonight. That was all. I found myself at Burger King to pick up my wife's order. I was a few cars deep when I spotted the Confederate flag. I surreptitiously snapped a few photos. This was going to be a very different story. When I pull out of Burger King, it turns out there's more than one. In fact, there are four trucks, each flying variations of the flag. I have to go around the front of them to avoid an accident. They're parked right in the middle of the road. As I drive around them, each person in the vehicle makes it a point to ensure I see them. I do. They see me too. When I get to McDonald's (which is in the same lot), I learn that they're not taking debit cards at the moment. Terrific. I wanted chicken nuggets and instead, I get a run-in with the new Confederacy. So I make my way back to Burger King, again appearing in full view of the trucks. I place my order, get it, pay, and pull out. Then one of the

The Long Road Home

I will end you tonight. No, wait. That's not where the story starts. The story starts two and a half years before this, when Michelle (referred to as Michelle for legal reasons because SATAN was too heavily trademarked) reached out to me by Facebook. She mentioned that we played the same Facebook game and she wanted to say hi. I had never, in fact, even heard of the Facebook game. But I was freshly broken out of a relationship and she was pretty with a good body so I said "Hurr, okay." Conversation ensues. She tells me we came up in the same place. We did not come up in the same place. We spent one night in San Francisco talking. But I really wanted to sleep with her. So, "Hurr, okay." Fast forward a few months. I've left Missouri for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I've settled into the ass end of Lynnwood, a suburb of Seattle. The apartment was so bad that the landlord wrote the mold on the wall off as "crayon coloring

Wave Rocketbook Reviewed

I love writing by hand, and I love notebooks. I'll often devote entire budgets to them and when Officemax has one of their twenty-five cent sales, I'll buy them out. I often draft by hand, finding that the scene comes together more purely when it flows from a pen rather than a keyboard. So when DailyDot advertised a durable new type of notebook that you could use over and over again for the cheap price of twenty-five (thirty after shipping) US Dollars? I'm down. The Wave Rocketbook is meant to be elegant in its design and simple in its execution. The instructions come on the bag itself, and only the pen and notebook are included. The pen feels like any other, so you have to be careful not to mix it into your collection or you will end up marking your notebook with the wrong pen (like I did). The ink is erasable, which is a bonus. A place to put the pen would've been nice, but it clips easily, if not securely, into the ringed binding. The paper is thick and