Thursday, June 23, 2005

Me and tha Police

This is so weird I really don’t know how to say it. I got a ticket for running a stop sign on Monday. It wasn’t really my fault J, I was in a neighborhood I had never been in before and I was trying to find a certain house. It was one of those stop signs that just jumps out of nowhere. Anyway, I was guilty and knew it. The cop was white, he was cool, incredibly nice, (not nice enough to let me go with a ticket, but the man got a job, I understand), he explained everything to me, even gave me a number to call to get it taken off my record since I’ve only had 1 other ticket. I would have much rather him not give me a ticket, but again, he had a job to do. I was at least expecting him to ask me what I was doing around there driving slowly. Maybe it was my LSU alumni plate on the car.

This was one of the only times I’ve been stopped by a cop for any reason that didn’t feel nervous. If it was 30 years ago in the same neighborhood I would have probably been going to jail. It almost felt unnatural to be so calm after being pulled over. Still trying to figure out why, I mean my insurance, registration, and license were all in the car and current. I’m not missing any tags. And all my lights work. Why should I be nervous, it’s not like Bull Connor pulled me over. One thought, maybe when you have your stuff together it is not a big deal. However when you have expired tags, a suspended license, brick of weed on the floor, then getting stopped by a cop can cause apprehension and fear.

My question; its 2005, are lot of law-abiding black folks still queasy about dealing with police officers, especially while driving? Is it even a black thing, maybe a lot of people just get freaked out by cops? I know a good bit about the history and wretched legacy of police brutality and racial profiling of blacks in America, maybe I’m just having trouble reconciling then with now. I could even understand if I grew up in a place like LA or in certain parts of NYC where the police still exhibit hostile behavior towards segments of the community. For what it means, if anything, Baton Rouge now has a black mayor and police chief, should I feel more comfortable now? At the same time I’ve been pulled over three other times and did not received tickets, I knew the officers were just “checking”. Its hard to describe really, can’t quite put it in words. I don’t even feel like I’m making sense. Anyway I’m gonna pay my ticket; don’t need to give the cops a reason to stop me.


Blogger The Underdog said...

I kind of think you already hit the nail on the head, to use an overused cliche.

You said you've been pulled over three times previously because the cops are "just checking." Did they have any cause to just check? Or was it because of some sort of profiling? That is why i believe you still have some apprehension towards the cops.

I tend to think most people are a little nervous around cops (except for maybe other cops, dignitaries, and the folks cops are on the take from). However, i believe you'll probably finds more black folks and people of color with nervessness about the police. I think some white folks may just see it as a nussence (sp?), where as others truly fear police.

Part of me believes that when pulled over by the police, we (minorities) are reliving past traumas. The visions and thoughts of past police brutality in the Civil Rights era are still with us. The visuals of the Rodney King beating are still with us. The fear that the cops may mistake you for someone else is probably there too.

The police get a ton of negative press when only a few of them mess up. Most of them get a bum rap. But that can be said for athletes, politicians and other public figures. There are a lot of good cops just trying to do their job and feed there family (ala Latrell Sprewell), but we don't see them or get to know about them. We see the bad ones and that's what gets stuck in your head.

Do i trust police...not really. I don't think i ever will fully trust in them anymore (the Quarter's a Bit@h). But i respect what they do and what they have to go through. I just don't want to see one creeping up on me when i'm driving home slightly intoxicated.

10:06 PM  

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