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July 2nd, 2008

Running from the Police is a bad idea

One thing that has always baffled me is the fairly common trend by some of today’s most hard-bitten street toughs youths to run almost every time they see a police squad car. This in itself is a dead giveaway and contradiction of the one thing many of these particular brothers insist they are. Tough. Think about it, if the same guy who will shoot someone because "he was lookin’ at me" or lets say he murdered his girlfriend because she had the common sense to leave him and now he runs from the police, doesn’t that make him soft?

The kicker is, a good percentage of these runners haven’t done anything wrong and still they just run. Believe it or not cops love this. You don’t have to "be on the streets" to understand. Police officers don’t care if you are angry at them, they don’t care if you don’t trust them. They just want you to fear them. Remove the fear and you’ll be shocked at the reaction. First of all you’ll discover more than a few of them fear you. Regardless of what major city or town you live in, if you could read minds you will find a bulk of thinking going on within the minds of white lawmen and lawmakers regarding their fear of black men. Almost every law they make or enforce is a response to their fear of us.

Almost 17 years ago a law was passed by the US Supreme Court aimed at young black boys who run from the police. This was almost 2 months after the Rodney King incident (3/3/91) and it was the latest in a string of bad US Supreme Court (SC) decisions clearly aimed to facilitate reckless police behavior. "A lot of times we have people take off running when they see us, and we chase them even though they are not suspected of a particular crime," said Robert Meegan, the president of the Police Benevolent Association during an interview with the Buffalo News, a week after the SC decision.

Now I don’t have to tell you that this was during a time when the current US President’s father was in office: George H.W. Bush. Those were the conservative ‘90’s; white republicans were really kicking a fit back then. Everything from Affirmative Action to Social Security was under attack (and still are). A wave of prisons were built, college funding was cut and radio airwaves were taken over by button-pushing right wing zealots whose job was to exaggerate and exacerbate people and issues they framed as a threat. Black males of course was a prime treat to them.

Bush Sr. had already used the black convict Willy Horton to propel him into office, he no-doubt hoped that momentum from the Rodney King outrage from whites would play a major role in getting re-elected. Thus was born the law that says "police can chase suspects even when they have no evidence that a crime has been committed." Preceding that was... the law that says officers "can search a home without a warrant when they are let in by someone they mistakenly believe has the authority to consent to such a search." Thus the law that says "police can stop and question suspects based only on anonymous tips" and "police can seize items that are not listed in a search warrant but are in plain view," (many of such items found themselves eventually in the homes of some of the police officers) and the 3/91 SC decision to allow some coerced confessions were among 8 rulings within a year by the high court that are actually laymen opinions turned into law.

The News quoted Meegan calling the chasing of suspects "common sense," supporting abuse while much of the nation was becoming aware of it through the simple airing of videotaped footage of brutality. New York Attorney Anthony Pendergrass sees it quite differently from the Buffalo police union head. He cites a ruling that counters all of the SC’s early ‘90’s plots to frivolously detain black men: "People V. Howard 1980 New York State Court of Appeals. A citizen does not have to talk to police when apprehended by them. You don’t have to stop, speak, or talk to police. When approached by the police," Pendergrass said to me some weeks back. He also said that doesn’t of course prevent them from arresting you: "The running away cannot give police probable cause to pursue. That’s not a state law here in New York, this is a 5th Amendment law."

Running from the police is not going to make your problems go away as many young brothers think. The best way to deal with them is to develop the habit of making eye contact and speaking directly to them when confronted by one or more of them, especially if you haven’t done anything or they’re not really searching for anyone. If the police are searching for you because you are a suspect, spare your friends and family the burden of telling on you, and prepare to face the consequences for your 10-30 seconds of stupidity, as any real man should and turn yourself in. It’s usually the short-sighted street thugs who spread this fear of cops among people around him and they foolishly attract trouble to themselves when none may have previously been warranted. Conduct yourself as a man, not as what they call a "hood rat."

3.5 / 5 (16 Votes)

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Reader Response
  • Tony
  • September 14th, 2009 Wow! A black guy working as journalist for an online newspaper. Good for you! What a pity that the best way you can think of using such an influential position is by promoting racism. Has it ever occurred to you that if a black person (or any other colour for that matter) breaks the law, then they have good reason to fear the police? If you had any sense of justice, or respect for law and order, you'd be using your position to encourage these people to obey the law, instead of teaching them how to psyche themselves up so they can stare down the police. All you’re doing is promoting an “us and them” mentality, which does nobody any good, especially your black “brothers”. Your advice does nothing but perpetuate the problems. I guess that after raving about how the poor defenceless brothers have been so badly treated by the big bad white man, you finally got around to some decent advice in that last paragraph. Here's some advice from someone who doesn't care what colour you are: Man up. Quit grizzling about how difficult life is for black people. It's difficult for everyone. There are lots of victims out there of every colour. You have two choices. You can get on with your life and do something positive. Or you can sit around bemoaning your misfortune and wallowing in self-pity. That's what racists do, and it's a pity you've chosen that path.

    Reader Response
  • Jeff
  • August 14th, 2008 Are you serious? You couldn't be more wrong. Cops don't want people to fear them. And just because your black you think people are afraid of you??? Get a clue. Being black doesn't make you scary or something to be feared. I am a cop. I don't fear people because they are black or any other color. And if you think people are or should be afraid of you because you are black, all you are doing is promoting a self image that the majority of the population already doesn't like. And white lawnman and lawmakers and cops and the white person in general don't fear black men. Get a clue.....You are nothing if you think that. People like you are a problem in society. You are the reason racism is still alive. I have no problem with blacks, browns, purple whatever. I have a problem with people who do wrong and play the race card. Like you are doing with this crap you wrote here. But you probably will never post this reply because it speaks the truth....And that's the truth!

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