What If the Tables Were Turned?
The driver in the video repeatedly asks the officer to tell him why he was being pulled over, as is his right to do. The officer refuses to answer this basic question and continues making demands as though he was never asked. Knowing nothing else about this hypothetical situation, where an officer is breaking the law by refusing to disclose the reason for the stop – and the man has not been given reasons for being detained let alone charges of any crimes, which party has the right to protect their self? The man with the badge or the one complying with the laws?
As police become twitchier and more emboldened, it may behoove them to begin these situations by sharing information about the stop before making demands. If the safety of all involved is first priority, then surely paperwork validation can wait until the situation is stable.
Given that kind of forward information, including officer concerns, perhaps some of the recent killings would never had happened. Police are quick to try to control a situation, but peace is not about control. It is about understanding, openness and communication. Putting your authority before your humanity puts everybody on edge and leads to deadly outcomes.
If police do not work on their roadside manner and insist on taking control of people who do not even understand the situation, then incidents like the one in the video become more likely to happen. It is not that I want to see people pulling guns on police any more than the opposite; it is that policing is making that reality a stronger possibility all of the time. And every trigger happy police killing makes it that much more justified.