Today me, Zech and Sean got pulled over. Here is a detailed account of what happened. I hope this account of the incident does some good…I don’t know what good, but I’m writing it all down anyway. I’m pretty frustrated, but not at all surprised.
I was hungry so I asked Zech (6ixx) to come get me so we could get something to eat.When Sean and 6ixx arrived, I wasn’t ready so they were waiting outside. When I went outside and we were leaving the complex we saw a police car pass us, going in to the complex. The police car followed us (we saw them following us, so what’s the likelihood that we’d do something wrong, knowing that we’re being watched?). We got pulled over.I took out my camera and recorded the entire incident because, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that police are more criminal than criminals and I didn’t trust them.
Things to know: The car Sean was driving was the hired car his cousin used to get from North Carolina to Gainesville. It had a Maryland tag. The windows were tinted. All passengers were black. It’s the middle of the day. The drive from my house to Zaxby’s takes 5 minutes.
SO! Here it is! Reasons why Police are very disliked by people of color:
-We got pulled over for “running a stop sign”. We didn’t run a stop sign.
-After this, a different officer says they pulled us over because there was “suspicious activity” reported in my community and they wanted to ask us if we knew anything. This too is a lie because a) they passed us on the way in and didn’t ask us anything. If they wanted to, they could have asked then in a civil manner like “Hey, we just got a call about some activity, did you see anything?”. b) They also passed a lady in my community and didn’t ask her anything. c) They STILL didn’t ask us if we saw anything suspicious. Guess they forgot.
- I tweeted about the incident and said, “Today the police pulled us over. Look out for my account of the event”. That’s ALL I said. A follower replied, “Rolling a stop sign? That generic let me search yo car or get a ticket excuse if you around the hood.” And “ At 21 I seen a jail cell for the first time. What started as a rolling stop ended with resistance without violence.” So, it seems like these lies are consistent.
They try to intimidate you:
-They took all of our IDs and questioned us all to see if our stories lined up. (Please remember, this is supposedly over running a stop sign and/or suspicious activity in my neighborhood. What is the investigation really and why are we suspicious?? Why do our stories need to line up if we ran a stop sign? Give us a ticket and let’s go, I’m hungry!)
-Back up was called. (Over a stop sign?)
They make random stuff up just to pin you with SOMETHING:
-They told Sean that when he answered, his eyes would twitch which makes them feel like he’s lying.
-They said “We’ve never seen a rental car with tinted windows before.” (NOW which investigation is this? The stop sign, the “suspicious behavior” or drugs or theft or what? I’m getting lost here)
-They wanted to call Sean’s cousin to see if Sean had permission to use the car. (Even though in their investigation, it was already confirmed by the officer that the car belonged to a family member and we were just trying to get lunch.)
-So this is still about a stop sign, or robbery…we’re not sure which at this point. The officer pretty much says that the stop sign violation gave them the right to detain us and we couldn’t leave until Sean called his cousin. (But please be reminded that we didn’t run a stop sign.) This gives me reason to believe that police will throw something random at you, and then harass you.
-Sean didn’t give his cousin’s number. So how come we were allowed to leave if they were REALLY concerned about theft? After Sean continued his refusal to give the number, the officer said “Let’s just go ahead and give him a citation”. Suppose we HAD stolen the car, we’d be allowed to go with a traffic violation ticket and a stolen car? None of this incident made any sense to me.
-The officer said, “It’s click it or ticket month”. What?! Seriously?! So you’re telling me that all this “police work” is so you can meet your quota?
-When everything was done with, Sean told them to make sure they were at the court case to which they replied, “We have to be there. And we get paid $100 too, so thanks!” Well, that’s rude and unnecessary and unprofessional isn’t it?
So, that’s that. I’m not exactly sure why what occurred, occurred because we did nothing wrong at all (And we definitely wouldn’t do something wrong knowing that we were being followed by police…which we knew for a while and were even joking about). But I do know that had we not been black, in my nice neighborhood, in a rental car that had tint, we would not have been pulled over. What would have been a 15 minute trip to Zaxby’s, CVS and back home, turned in to a 45 minute event. Welcome to America! Home of stupid police and sloppy police work. Where police make a profit from harassing the civilians they’re meant to serve.
Btw, an African American older lady stood there the entire time and watched. Afterwards, she commended us on how we handled the policemen and said that she knows how these things work, that we had done nothing wrong and she was just watching so she could serve as a witness if they decided to be even more unjust.
My appeal to Police Officers:
We don’t like you, but that’s fine. Your job isn’t to be liked. But please, give us reason to respect you. No one has confidence in police or their work, and no one trusts police. Most African Americans I know feel harassed by or victimized by police. That’s not a good look. That lady shouldn’t have felt the need to sit there and police YOU! I shouldn’t have felt the need to record everything. Do your job uprightly and with some kind of integrity, or don’t be surprised when people have a hard time respecting you. Don’t be surprised that people are bitter. The reason Sean didn’t give his cousin’s number is because we weren’t respected. We were lied to and bullied; three policemen with the “right” to do whatever they wanted (which they did) and one Sean standing calmly and speaking respectfully. It’s simply not right. Stop it.