There will always be those who claim that police officers – law enforcement in general – are “out to get” certain people. The words used are profiling or targeting. Sometimes the descriptions devolve into “racism” or “hatred”.
Then we hear about “dirty cops”. We read about “cops on the take” or LEOs who are “gettin’ paid”.
Then we are told to think that the image nearby “is what it’s like being a black man in America. This brother is getting his license, registration and insurance papers ready to hand to the cop in broad daylight and look what the cop already has his hand on out the holster. If U are this scared find a new career I mean seriously how many cops are killed on traffic stops to even justify this level of fear?”
To which I ask, why show such stupidity by making such a statement?
That is standard operating procedure (SOP).
When I was stopped for speeding a decade ago, I had the same experience with an officer. She was very professional, but until I handed over the docs, her hand was set firmly on her firearm. I know that because I could clearly see the position of her right arm and it was not straight; it was unnaturally bent with the elbow back.
Whether we like it or not, we need to prove ourselves every day in every action we take to everyone we meet and interact with. When we are pulled over – interdicted – it is our responsibility – black, brown, tan, yellow, white – to prove to the officer we are not a threat to them or the larger community. That means we don’t hold grudges against the officer for pulling us over. Instead, we need to be an adult, mutually respectful, and, above all, mature.
That means we need to gain the confidence of the person with whom we are interacting. To do so, we need to remain calm and responsible in our interactions with other people, whether that be an LEO or just another person.
It means that we have taken time to research and learn about the topic we are discussing. To that end, it also means that we are objective in our research, not just searching out opinions that will confirm the opinion we hold.
Just as there are many people who do not want to be pre-judged by the color of their skin, those same people cannot presume the LEO with whom they are interacting is a dirty cop. Rather, we need to begin that interaction by recognizing, just as we want to go home to our family, they also want to go home to their family at the end of their shift.
With that in mind, instead of profiling LEOs, recognize them to be human beings first, just as we are human beings. Respond to their questions with respect and maturity. Be the responsible adult who steps forward to end the perception of “fear” among one another. Stop this useless profiling on both sides. Instead, prove ourselves to one another worthy through the actions we take on a daily basis that cultivate our freedom through responsibility.