With all the protests erupting across America regarding the murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands (and knee) of a white cop, I am reminded of an incident that illustrated to me why police can’t always be trusted, even if they don’t kill blacks at all.
Back when I was living in Arlington, Texas, I was traveling down highway 360 when I was pulled over by a cop. He approached my car and said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
I said, “No clue, officer. I know I wasn’t speeding. In fact, it is impossible to speed on this highway; it’s too congested.”
The cop then said, “Are you lost? Do you need help getting somewhere?”
I said, “No, I’m fine.”
The cop let me go. But I have no doubt that he did so only because of my white privilege. But I was driving a 2002 Saturn that was in such poor condition that I’m sure the cop seeing it from a distance assumed it was being driven by a poor black or hispanic man. So if instead I had been a person of color, he likely would have written me a ticket for some made up excuse and I would have had to go to court to fight it and still risk losing the fight in front of a mostly white jury. I already knew that traffic tickets are a convenient means of a city to raise extra money without raising taxes on most citizens, not merely a matter of public safety. And what better way to keep minorities down than by targeting their pocketbooks?
I have been distrustful of police ever since.