One person's thoughts may change the world
I see no reason why to continuing to write on my confrontation with the police, you get the picture. I started this series with great enthusiasm, not of gleeful happiness, but of motivation to get my story out, because frankly, I thought it was important. But now, I’m filled with a little anger and frustration especially after part 6, I had never re-lived that incident until I started writing about it. It’s amazing what the power of words can do. After reading my confrontations, you may have even grown numb yourself as to the effects of dealing with officers who pull their weapons on people, especially black people. Now, I’ve had non threatening confrontations as well, I only spoke of the ones of which I considered my life was in danger. The point I am trying to convey is the frequency that it happens to black people, and the destruction that it can cause by one wrong move as well as the psychological trauma and humiliation. And I have to admit, I was not a proponent of “Black Lives Matter” at first. I was thinking it was too narrowly focused, and not encompassing high volume crime in areas like the South Side of Chicago. I now embrace it wholeheartedly, and here’s why.
It’s easy to point out the number of people being shot in high crime/poor areas in cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc… When you wake up early in the morning, the local news seem to make a point about the previous evening’s handiwork, especially if it involves a shooting, murder, or hit and run. But those problems are systemic, they cross the boundaries of class, gentrification, poor school systems, depleted tax base, job opportunities, poor public transportation, technical training, teen pregnancy, poor healthcare, illicit drug trafficking, human trafficking, hmmm, shall I go on? “Black lives matter”, points to a specific, partially because the killings have been filmed, and points to a specific injustice that seems pervasive in the black community when it comes to policing. I was not raised in a drug infested neighborhood, have not been accused or arrested for any serious or minor crime whatsoever, yet I’ve had these confrontations with the police. You can see by each description of what happened, it was a case of mostly being black…at the wrong time.
Officer Duncan is deceased. Dead, gone, and perhaps even forgotten. He didn’t die in the line of duty. He didn’t die of a sudden heart attack, or a long slow death from some incurable disease. Officer Duncan was shot and killed by a group of teenagers. And he was killed because he befriended them and was trying to help them. He had let them in his house on occasion, and, they took advantage of him, robbing him and killing him. I was sickened by his tragedy. I had history with him, he was the first policeman that I ever knew personally, and he was an outstanding human being.
You may see some irony that he died the way he did. You may think that violence killed a “Nice officer”, and you have to be ready to protect yourself at all times. I agree somewhat, men of his generation, similar to my father, were killed not because they were doing things wrong, but they were caught in a time warp, coming from a generation that helped and protected, and only seeing the good in those you’re trying to help.
There is no doubt about it, it’s a dangerous world out there for police officers at times, but the only way to get past this wave of violence against black people by law enforcement is training. Training makes the difference. Training will allow you to escalate using methods of using force instead of only using deadly force.
Officer Duncan may have saved my life. It was through his professionalism that I gained respect for law enforcement that lasts to this day. That respect for law enforcement may have been the difference of me being shot and killed by a policeman, or, writing this article. It’s been quite some time since his death, but I’ll never forget him, and that has brought a tear to my eye.
So, now where does this go? If it wasn’t for Officer Duncan, I’d be a much more angrier Black Man, full of hate and distrust for the police. I don’t hate them, I just don’t trust them, unless I get to know them. When I see them on patrol I wave at them, acknowledging there service. I speak to them when I come across their way. Frankly, I go out of my way at times to make them feel comfortable. Why? Based upon my experience, and from what we have been exposed to through video, there is absolutely no reason for me to have any respect for them. I don’t do it for their sake. Frankly I don’t do it for mine as well. I do it out of respect. Respect for a great officer and a great person. Officer Duncan…
Thank God for Officer Duncan….