So, it's been awhile since I wrote a blog post -- a lonnnnnnnggg while.
The videos took off. I got busy writing the scenarios for the boardgame and my blog writing fell to the wayside. Besides, my blog posts simply didn’t seem to be in demand.
Nowadays, most folks get their information from videos, tv, radio or podcasts, so I imagined my lonely, unread words sitting in cyberspace waiting for clicks that weren’t coming.
But, some topics just need to be written in black and white, to clear up any confusion, to make one’s stance crystal clear. So, here goes nothing. Let’s make it plain:
STOP TAGGING ME IN POLICE VIDEOS!
Woosah! Ahhhhhhh… (insert sigh of relief). I already feel better. I think I actually felt my blood pressure go down some.
Now, sure, I could’ve simply changed my settings on Facebook to block people from tagging me, I suppose. I guess I could’ve responded to each individual who sent this terror via Messenger and asked them to knock it off. Instead, here I am making a public plea:
It ain't personal. I'm not calling you out if you already did the deed, but consider the following:
First of all, let’s be honest, these videos are traumatic. Whether a state trooper busted a motorist’s window and dragged him out of the car, an officer tasered a 80 year old grandma on her front lawn, a sheriff beat up a mentally ill man or shot an unarmed teen, it’s all trauma, terror, violence and sadness.
I am a firm believer that all Black folks in America have PTSD from watching our brothers and sisters being dragged, beaten, tasered and shot on the news and on social media on a regular basis. Despite coming from strong stock that survived unimaginable horrors in our dark pasts, a person can only take so much before the despair and hopelessness becomes internalized.
So please, don’t get it twisted. I am not immune. I hear the most brutal, heartbreaking stories in court all day long, while simply waiting for my cases to get called. I watch videos of my clients being shot, tasered, run over by police cars (yes, I said being literally mowed down by squad cars). I don’t need it in my inbox or posted to my page. So, please, please stop traumatizing me —- and each other.
Second, to be frank, y’all ain’t gonna like what I have to say. Yup. Read that again. The ugly truth is, there’s a reason I don’t comment on 99.2% of police videos I see online.
People tag and share these videos with me asking for my advice, my commentary on what I see. I understand, but here’s where it gets sticky. If I did a play-by-play commentary on a recent traffic stop video gone wrong, y'all would say I was blaming the victim.
If I say the person stopped was wrong for repeatedly screaming, “What you stop me for?” moving around too much, pulling away, playing with their phone and disobeying everything the officer asked him to do, people will say I'm excusing the racist pig's actions. The social media trolls would stomp their feet, saying I need to do police training videos because the oppressor is just going to kill every Black driver anyway.
Again, JUST. STOP. IT.
None of that is true. However, most of the time, what I see on those videos is different from what other folks see. I see the mistakes so many of my clients made that led to arrest, injury or both. I see the mistakes the officer AND the arrestee made. Yeah, I said it — the person who was stopped by police wasn't a saint or martyr just because the cop was bogus af. It also doesn’t mean the person who got pulled over didn’t “ack a fool.”
That last part is what most people don’t want to hear. Naysayers can stick cotton in their ears all they want, but, as these videotaped police encounters unfold in living color on my computer screen, I shake my head. I cringe as I watch the accused do nearly everything I teach NOT to do:
RUN YOUR MOUTH
And fail to do the life-saving, arrest-avoiding and conviction-reducing actions I advocate:
REQUEST A LAWYER
REFUSE ALL DUI TESTS
REFUSE CONSENT TO SEARCH
I know, I know. Breaking one of my so-called rules doesn’t warrant a death sentence at the hands of a rogue or trigger-happy cop. I’m not suggesting that it does.
Rather, I’m saying that a cool head, a closed mouth and a friggin’ plan will carry you far – hopefully, all the way back to your front doorstep after every brief police encounter.
So, if you want to know my thoughts on police videos, traffic stops, searches, you don't have to tag me or inbox me to find out! Watch my free videos. Play the boardgame. Come to a free know-your-rights workshop. Share THAT online! Tag someone in a post about that!
But, whatchu AIN'T gon do, is traumatize me no mo’ on Facebook! Believe that.