Monday, May 28, 2012

Warning NOPD: Not My Sons! by Tracie Washington

My friends Richard and Hilda McCline needed a couple of guys to help them move boxes from the American Can to storage. So on Thursday, Jacob picked-up Donald (his friend) and they worked from a little after 11am until 2pm. On the way home, they stopped at the light at Carrollton and Tulane alongside a marked NOPD vehicle. When the light changed, both cars proceeded through the intersection and, immediately thereafter the police officers turned on their sirens. Jacob pulled over.

Jacob and Donald sat perfectly still (as they have been cautioned OVER AND OVER again), as they watched these officers, clad in those Black swat uniforms, jump out of their vehicle, jerk open the driver’s side and passenger car doors, and begin really gruff interrogations.

License and Registration

Where’s your I.D.? (Jacob hands over his driver’s license.)

Why don’t you have identification? Jacob just picked me up and I knew I would be driving so I didn’t think I needed to bring my license.

Is this your car? Yes, I mean, it’s owned by my mom, but it’s my car to drive.

What are you doing? We were doing a job for one of my mom’s friends.

Where are you coming from? The American Can.

What kind of job were you doing for these friends? This professor is moving to Georgia and so he and his wife needed help moving boxes to storage.

You boys in school? Yes, I attend Grinnell College. Yes, I attend Millsaps College. (each pointing to their gym shorts with the school names and logos on them; serendipity that they were wearing their college shorts that morning)

The officers look through the backseat of the car, walk to the back of the car, and then walk to their patrol car, wait about 30 seconds and return with this “warning” -- Just make sure you always wear your seatbelts.

Jacob and Donald had been wearing their seatbelts!

Everyone in the City of New Orleans knows, these NOPD Special Ops Jump Out Boys spend their days harassing young black men, hoping to pull over someone, open the doors to see if the smell marijuana, and then “justify” an illegal search under the guise that they smelled marijuana.

News Flash NOPD – You illegally stopped the wrong 19 year old. And because you don’t know whose son you may be stopping illegally, why not just end the illegal stops. ‘Cause see, when I'm done with these particular jokers, they will wish they had chosen a different profession. Sarah Palin could take lessons from this mamma-Grizzly. Orange is not on my color wheel, but I will wear it proudly if NOPD thugs harm my son. I’m just sayin’ ….. I’m scared every time my son is home from college. Not because of the New Orleans streets; Jacob knows how to avoid our “normal” thugs. I’m scared because I can’t tell him to avoid the “badge-wearing” thugs and in New Orleans they harass and kill Black men with impunity, and often without repercussions.

Jacob returns to Grinnell the day after my dad, Dr. Louis X. Washington, Sr., turns 75. I suppose I should find some comfort in the fact that my dad has survived 75 years of New Orleans. I don't.

I’ll sleep well again beginning August 11, 2012.

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