Black and Blue: Officer Sees Both Sides in the Michael Brown Shooting

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Last week, seemingly like everyone else, I was discussing the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. In a private email chain, I shared some of my un-PC thoughts about Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson’s press conference, in which Jackson alleged that Brown had robbed a convenience store prior to his life-ending encounter with Officer Darren Wilson:

Unless Brown was high—and not on weed, like a hard drug—this did not happen.

Police have said that when Wilson tried to get out of his vehicle, Brown pushed him back into the car, then entered it and began fighting for the officer’s gun.

No sober black kid does that, at least not over a cop rolling up and opening the door. Dorian Johnson’s version that the cop tried to choke Brown through the window is way more plausible. Maybe Brown reached for a gun then. Maybe not. The real story is probably a mix of Johnson’s and the cop’s version.

One of the women in the email chain is a black female police officer in one of the highest-ranked cities for crime. I convinced her to allow me to share her unique perspective and candid thoughts on Brown’s death in exchange for her anonymity.

A black female officer speaks:

“My experience being a black cop is what I imagine it feels like to be a biracial kid. But instead of being half this or half that, I’m half black, half cop. And neither side accepts me.

“As a black woman, I know what it feels like to be followed around in anything from a low-end convenience store to a Saks Fifth Avenue, simply because of the color of my skin. I also know what it feels like to be pulled over unjustly—and I absolutely know it’s not right because I happen to know the motor vehicle laws. I know what it feels like to have a man, who is driving and I’m a passenger, be pulled over unjustly while we’re driving through a white town. So please don’t take this as me not understanding the plight of us as African Americans in this country, because I do.

“However, as an officer, I also know what it feels like to be harassed, assaulted, spit at, cursed at and have unjust complaints filed on me because the man or woman I went after was a fugitive and he or she eluded arrest. Because the group of dudes on the corner were clearly hustling and I moved in to make my arrest. Because I pulled out my weapon on the young man who did not heed my requests to slowly take his hands out of his pockets, to stop running, to stay where he is, to let me see his hands, to put his hands in the air, to put his hands on the steering wheel, etc. Because I was doing my job.

“I happen to work in a city that consistently ranks high in crime. When patrolling, I pull my weapon out every day. Every single day. Have I ever had to fire it at someone? No. And I pray every day that I make it to my 25 years never having to do so.

“It is not my goal to shoot anyone or take anyone’s life. But will I? If it means me going home that night to live the rest of my life, I absolutely will. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. In this job, there are dangers that the average citizen may never be able to begin to comprehend, but that’s the exact reason why I do what I do, so that you, as citizens, don’t have to comprehend those dangers. That is my job.

“When I first heard about Michael Brown’s death on social media, I was disheartened because yet another black youth had been shot. My heart literally aches for these young men and women whose lives are taken, unfortunately, on a daily basis. At the same time, my heart aches for the law-enforcement officer who possibly only did what he or she had to do in order to go home that night, just as I would do, and is crucified for it.

“I can’t say whether Officer Darren Wilson was justified in his actions or not. The information given to the public is still not all of the information. There are way too many facts that are unknown or, at minimum, unreleased.

“One side says that Brown was shot while his hands were up in the air. The other side gives an account of Brown being shot while still in the car, engaged in a physical altercation with the officer while trying to take the officer’s weapon. Who is telling the truth? Is either side telling the truth? I don’t know. We don’t know. I do know that if Brown was feet away from the car and the officer, on his knees with his hands in the air, then no, the shoot was not justified.

“But if Michael Brown was in the car … engaged in a physical altercation while trying to get the officer’s weapon, then yes, the shoot was justified. If an unarmed person attempts to go after my gun, he or she will be shot. If anyone is bold enough to attempt to get my weapon from me, they are bold enough to use it on me. And I am going home at the end of my shift. I just wish that more people would try to understand that.

 

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing her perspective. I have a close male friend (also black) who is a cop and he often shares his candid opinion with me as it pertains to the police related events making headlines. It’s nice to have that behind the scenes take on situations. His opinion seems to mirror hers.

  2. SlimChica says:

    I fully understand everything she said and I absolutely agree. Thank you for sharing

  3. Username* says:

    Thank you for an unbiased viewpoint. Social media has neglected to address all sides. This is so needed.

  4. Hello and thank you for sharing a different perspective, on this, much talked about story. I also live in a city with high crime, being, Baltimore, Maryland, although I do reside in the suburban side of town. Something the female officer said reminded me of a line in the 2000 movie “Shaft” starring Samuel Jackson, where he said, “too Black, to be blue, and too blue, to be Black”. Which is a lot, in the same way, the female officer put it, when she said, “half black, half cop. And neither side accepts me”. I have never really thought about it from this point of view, so I have to say, that it’s rather interesting. I can say, that in my experience with the police in Baltimore, it is the male, African American, officers who seem to walk around with a chip on their shoulder. They can be rude and ready for a fight, but then again, I guess it would be based on their experience with the general public and its stereotype, against male, Black, officers. Sad to say, but I can definitely see something like this happening in the city of Baltimore, especially since our own police commissioner, Anthony W. Batts, has recently, deemed, the city police department, “corrupt”. Hopefully there will one day, be an end, to incidences like this, but we will see.

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