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How Have Cops Treated You?
Hey Black Man. Answer This!
Good. Bad. Indifferent. Mostly good. Actually, what I should say is Fairly. Mostly fairly. Here’s the thing. It depended on where I lived.
Just the other day, I ran into a friend of mine from back in elementary school and the old neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood full of knuckleheads, the best of which went to the army, college and pro sports. Pretty much all the rest of them went to jail. I moved out of that neighborhood when I was 19 and didn’t come back until I was about 26. I lived there for about 6 months and left for good.
Around the time that I was 30, I counted the number of times that I had been detained by police officers for any and all reasons. The number I recall was 27. I was actually arrested once on a traffic warrant - basically a fixit ticket that I never fixed because I had left the the car at my parents house and it wasn’t operating. All of this was in LA and I left LA during the time everybody was gearing up for the ‘Rodney King’ riots.
How should I say this? Compared to LAPD, every other cop in the nation are pansies. That’s probably not true, but that’s how I felt about it back when I was single and cared about such stuff politically. NYPD? Sissies. Boston PD? Fairies.
So yeah I know what it’s like to hang out with knucklehead crowds where parties get crashed, and street races where everybody scatters when the cops come, and Antifa-like protests where everybody hates cops. I’ve only worn handcuffs twice, and I’ve only been locked up awaiting bail for about 30 minutes. No cop has ever hit me, cursed me out or drawn a weapon on me. But I have been asked stupid insulting questions, and I have been involved in disrespectful verbal judo. In one case I can say that I’ve been intimidated, but I was doing judo myself. His judo was better than my judo.
But anyway what I was going to say about my friend from the old neighborhood was that a lot more of those knuckleheads went criminal than I actually knew. So that’s why I’m thinking about this particular subject today. I was surprised to learn who got dishonorably discharged from the Army. The friend that told me turned Rasta and ended up living in Europe and Australia for 30 years. He just moved back to LA a few years ago.
Now that I think about it, visiting some friends of relatives in Detroit, I can remember a cop literally asking me what did I think I was doing here, go home now. Like what? I told him I was visiting from LA and that’s no way to talk to people. Then he really yelled at me to go home now. But yeah that was a deadly neighborhood as well, as I recall.
I think that people really don’t know what kind of dirt goes on in their cities even when they live right in those bad neighborhoods. They don’t realize how criminal their neighbors actually can be, and they accept that cops are always going to be disrespectful and aggressive. Then again, most people don’t leave their hometowns.
Today, some of my best friends are first responders and servicemen (or parents of servicemen). My brother is LAPD. My son is Navy. My nephew is USMC, as was my father. I’m a hardheaded man’s man, the oldest of four boys, and I played rough as a kid. I spit and cursed and smoked like a lil ole Huck Finn. And with my father as a Marine, I didn’t play foolishness around cops. Not because I appreciated or respected them as police, but because I understood men’s rules. That’s the way I think about it today, and I think I’m consistent with that, as I remember what it was like when my own party got crashed by cops. I told everybody at my party to shut up while I went out and talked to the senior cop, even as the younger ones were fronting like they were going to bust some heads.
These days I think people watch too much TV, and you rarely get journalists who have any real experience with the stories they write and the video they promote. That’s why I think it’s important that people like me take the time to write not only from a logical and critical perspective, but from experience as well.
I know what it’s like to be the big brother, responsible to break up fights, and make people play fair. So I sympathize with police. But I used to do the judo.