Friday, March 30, 2012

Treyvon Martin.

I've been thinking about this so much that I figure I should maybe talk it out a little. I'm not going to go into the backstory because if by now if you haven't heard about this, there's plenty of info available to you a simple Google search away.

About, oh, five years ago, I was dating my now husband. I finished up doing laundry at his place one night and we headed back to my apartment. As he was pulling out of his apartment complex, he accidentally cut a woman off. I was ahead of him in my car and saw it happen in my rearview mirror. No collision occurred and I figured all was done and over with. The car then proceeded to follow us for a long period of time, staying close on Don's bumper. He called my cell phone to ask if I'd noticed and I told him I had and to follow me, because I was going to take a long, convoluted way home to make sure that this person was indeed following us. They were.

We pulled into my apartment complex parking lot on edge, apprehensive and scared. We had no clue who this person was. It could have been an intoxicated, angry frat boy with a baseball bat or worse, a gun. We went up to my apartment but Don became agitated because his car was sitting in the parking lot, unguarded, and the person who followed us home might take out their anger by slashing his tires or busting out his windshield. I asked him not to go back outside and to call the cops instead. He, being a typical, idiotic, testosterone-jacked male decided to go out and deal with it himself. I grabbed a pocket knife off of my dresser and followed just 30 seconds behind him and when I arrived outside I saw my boyfriend with his hands behind his head being frisked by a cop while another one stood nearby with his hand on his gun. My heart stopped. I had the presence of mind to put the pocket knife in my car and then walked over to ask what was going on.

"Ma'am, stay back!" the female cop frisking my boyfriend snapped at me.

"He's my boyfriend. What is going on?" I asked.

Don answered instead of the cops. He had spotted a police car cruising by and ran to get their attention to inform them that we'd been followed home by a stranger. The car had stopped and two officers got out of the car with the implicit threat of drawing their weapons and told him to get his hands behind his head. Don had been trying to get help. Instead he was being threatened with deadly force.

Turns out the person who followed us home was a woman who assumed Don was drunk when he cut her off and followed us home despite being told by dispatch not to do so. I know exactly what it's like to be followed home by a strange vehicle. How irrational you can get (hello? I took a freaking knife out to confront an unknown assailant). You aren't thinking clearly because you're scared.

My husband and I are white. We don't have to deal with profiling or being considered suspicious simply because of the color of our skin or the way we dress. We had a tiny taste that day of the police brutality that African Americans face every day. It was terrifying and left us feeling bitter, powerless and angry. No, I don't trust the police as much as I used to.

I don't blame Treyvon Martin one bit if he did attack George Zimmerman. He was followed, stalked and confronted with a deadly weapon. As a black man, I have no doubt he knew exactly how that scenario was going to play out and he did what he could to protect himself. There's a lot more I want to say about how police are handling the case, but other people have said it better.

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