In light of all of the mayhem and police brutality that have happened with the latest police killings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, our next article in the series “Talks with the Rev.” couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. In article three, we find out what Black and brown people should do when confronted by the police. Read below to find out what Detroit NAACP president, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, had to say about being confronted by the police. He shares expert advice on what to do in case you find yourself being stopped by the police, especially if you’re Black or brown.
In case you missed the first article titled “Police Targeting 101” or the second on “Policing the Black Community,” you can find them on our site and by clicking the respective links. In article one, Anthony cited alarming statistics on how many black and brown people were stopped by police over the years, some of whom were actually innocent. He also spoke highlighted several reasons people of color are targeted by police. In his second article, Anthony discussed the relationship between the local police force, the police chief and the Black community.
What should young Black and brown, men and women do when confronted by the police?
One of the programs that we have initiated in the city of Detroit through the Detroit NAACP is called Stops and Cops. It is a program in which we bring young people together with members of law enforcement, and we go through the motions of actual stops that may occur on the streets. Police vehicles are brought in, officers show up, and there is role playing and discussions, from a two-way street. In other words, what should the officer do and not do, what is legal and not legal. Similarly, from the vantage point of the citizen, what should they do and not do, and what is legal and not legal. The idea is to foster respect on a two-way street. Respect for police and respect for citizens.
Police officers have the legal authority and a badge. They can take your life. It is important to remember in the exchange on the street, that this is the case, whether we like it or not, at this moment in time. A part of this training is rooted in fighting your battles in court and not on the street. We want our young people to be safe and come home. We also want police officers to be safe and come home. Quite frankly, I do not like this process at all. I find the fact that African American’s and Latino’s have to teach their children how to be a citizen and survive on the streets to be repulsive. It places an undue burden on African American’s and minorities, that the majority community does not have to endure. We live at a time when everyone does not understand the value of black lives. This is the reason why the Black Lives Matter Movement has emerged. Yes, I know all lives matter; however, they do not seem to matter equally.