One person's thoughts may change the world
This incident is a little out of chronological order. It actually happened a few years ago, and the more I wrote about my experiences, the more it seemed to weigh on my mind as one of the worst I’ve experienced. It happened late night, at of all places, a gym I have a membership which is Lifetime Fitness. Now I’m not going to say which one this occurred at, but, they had been having problems at the gym, to the point of having security guards at particular times to handle issues. At the time it occurred, they had not established times the gym would be open, or referees to handle the rowdy behavior during basketball games.
It was late night, about 12:30am when as I was walking out of the shower, I heard two groups of people arguing from something that occurred on the basketball floor, and was now getting to be a heated confrontation in the locker room. It was a group of black young men, and a group of Chaldean young men. There were some vicious words hurled at each other, the usual curse words, and even the dreaded “N” word, which was used by the black young men towards the Chaldeans.
Finally, the black young man said the following, which raised my attention even further, “I’m going to go to my car and get my gun, and shoot your sorry ass”. The group then walked out, and I immediately though he was going to fulfill his statement. I finished getting my clothes on, and was headed out of the locker room when I heard the Chaldean say, “I’ve called the police on him, he probably has a record anyway”. Well, either way, I wasn’t going to stick around to find out, my plan was to get outta there.
As I walked towards the lobby, I saw the black young men standing around, and I was about to leave the building when I remember something. The Chaldean had called the police. They (the police) were probably already outside, either observing or planning their entrance. So I paused a few, looking both ways in the lot, and began walking towards my vehicle. When I got to my car, that’s when I saw them. Two police cars, flying down the road, coming up into the parking lot, one going to the door of the gym, the other straight, at me. He got out of car, had his gun already drawn using the door as a shield and yelling, “Get your hands up, get your hands up!!!!”.
I neither flinched or panicked. This officer had no idea who he was dealing with. He had no idea I had been in this situation before. Pointing a gun at me by now was neither intimidating, or going to make me comply when I have not done anything wrong. My first response was, “Really?, are you serious?”, to which he responded, “Get your hands up, get your hands up now!!!!”.
I could tell he was afraid, he gun was slightly quivering, but I neither blinked nor complied. I then said, “Officer, there was an altercation in the gym, and I was just leaving, the problem was in there not here”. “Get your hands up, get your hands up now!!!!!”, he said. I didn’t want to get shot, but neither was I going to completely capitulate, so, I raised my hands up slowly, never raising them above my shoulders. He then told me to get my hands on the car, to which I took offense to at this point, and said, “What? I haven’t done anything, what gives you the right to pull your weapon out without provocation, now I have to get my hands on the car?”. He repeated himself, saying, “Get your hands on the car!!!!!”, so I shook my head, and put my hands on the car.
Finally coming from behind his car door, he then asked me to give him some identification. And that’s when I refused to cooperate. Two flashbacks occurred, one was when I was down at Wayne State and the officer asked me why didn’t I run so he could shoot me. The second was when the officer asked me to give him my identification while he was pointing his weapon at me, I also refused. So now I am staring at him with my hands on my car, refusing to pull out my wallet. So then I told him, “Holster your weapon, then I will give you my identification, I know how this goes, you shoot me in the back and say I was reaching for something”.
So we stood there staring at each other for about 20 seconds, then he holstered his weapon. I turned around and showed him my license. He then asked me the most stupidest question on the planet. “What are you doing here?”. So now I’m angry, and respond, “Minding my own business when suddenly a paranoid cop rolls up on me and starts pointing his weapon”.
So he wrote down my address, and went into the gym. So I went home, angry. I called his commanding officer the next day and had an extensive conversation about police engagement with him. He spoke to what had been reported and then I also spoke to him about jumping to conclusions because I’m the first black person he sees, as in the case of how Marvin was shot because he was the first black person he sees. After hanging up from him, I was angry, angry for a couple days. At the time, I was nearly 50 years old and I was still being threatened by the police…
Thank God for Officer Duncan…