Dr. David Dinkweaver–
I got pulled over by the police the other night.
Driving up to a red light I saw a cop car in front of me. I minded my own business and stayed in the right lane, but he moved in behind me and for a pretty good while. I guess he was running my plate, registration, etc.
I kind of figured I’d get pulled over eventually because one of my headlights was out. Not a big deal, but certainly an attention getter. After about a half mile he pulled in front of me to the left and I thought, “whew, he’s not after me.” But then, he slowed down and got in behind me again and I thought, “shit, I’m going to get pulled over.”
I waited patiently for the lights to come on and sure enough they did. I pulled off the main road to the next side street.
What do I do????
In the past, I’ve always immediately grabbed my license, registration and insurance card and had them ready in my hand to deliver to the officer before he even asked for them. This is usually a good way to avoid any kind of tension. However, this time my wallet was in my computer bag behind the driver’s seat. “Dammit!”, what do I do now?
So I started to think about my game plan.
As he approached, I had my hands on the steering wheel. As he approached I said, “Sorry officer, my license is in my bag in the back and I didn’t want to go reaching in the car.”
“That’s ok,” he said, “I don’t need to see your license. Is the car registered to you?” After I acknowledged in the affirmative, he said, “I stopped you because your headlight is out. Just sit tight and I’ll be right back.”
At this point, I was hoping for a warning and that is exactly what I got. He said I was now in the system and told me to have a nice evening.
So why am I recounting this situation?
I’ve been wanting to write an article about this for quite awhile, because there are so many incidents with African Americans being killed by cops after they fail to comply. Almost every police detainment, ending with a black fatality, the man did not comply and/or resisted arrest.
Let me preface what I’m about to say by stating that nobody should ever have any police officer put his or her knee on a person’s neck for any length of time. It is just never warranted and completely unnecessary, especially when he’s already cuffed and on the ground. But even George Floyd resisted arrest as evidenced in this video.
What would have happened if Mr. Floyd had simply gotten into the back of the police vehicle without any objection? He probably would have been driven down to the station, booked (or maybe not) and then released without posting bail (considering what’s happening around the country right now amidst the “pandemic”) and he’d be alive. Let’s hope that the officers involved are fully prosecuted for their actions and/or inactions.
In the case of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, as evidenced in this video, the police were as nice as could be, just trying to do their jobs, yet he resisted arrest and lost his life because he turned and fired a taser at one of the officers. Had he simply put his hands behind his back, got in the police car, went down to the station and dealt with the standard legal process, he’d be alive.
Going back a few years, there was also the tragic incident with Eric Garner. Here is what could have happened in this case.
Police: “Mr. Garner, put your hands behind your back, you are under arrest.”
Mr. Garner then turns around, puts his hands behind his back, is cuffed, put into the police vehicle, taken to the station, booked, gets a public defender, and gets a slap on the wrist.
During his trip to the station in the back of the car, Eric says “Come on guys, you know this is bogus. I can’t believe you arrested me for selling cigarettes.”
I wish that is what had happened, because had it gone down that way, Eric Garner would be alive today. Remember, once you are put “under arrest” they are never going to let you go free just for the heck of it.
At what point will the people protesting these, and other deaths, acknowledge that these men, or anyone else for that matter, must be accountable for not complying with simple requests from law enforcement? Does anyone take responsibility for their actions anymore or is everything bad that happens to an individual always someone else’s fault?
That being said, let me show the other side of this debate with an example of an African American who did absolutely nothing wrong, and was mistreated with excessive force for no reason.
In this video, a black man was wrongly identified as a car thief by what sounded like a white woman who called 911. In this case, the police should have…
-ran the plate
-checked the registration
-pulled him over
-asked him for his license
-verified ownership of vehicle
…and then said, “Sorry sir, we received a call that this car was stolen. We apologize for any inconvenience. Have a nice evening.”
However, this gentleman had no chance to think about the best way to make the police feel comfortable. He should have been given the opportunity to prove his identity, which would have quickly shown he did nothing wrong. These police officers should have been relieved of their positions to find a new line of work.
So here’s Dr. Dinkweaver’s recommendations for interacting with the police:
It’s no big deal if you get pulled over or you are confronted by the police on the street.
If being pulled over, immediately get your license, insurance and registration ready before the officer gets to your car.
Immediately hand it to him before he talks to you. Don’t worry about asking what you did, just give him the stuff.
Be nice! You will most likely get a warning or a simple summons unless you have an outstanding legal issue or did something egregious.
If the officer says “You are under arrest”, immediately spin around with your hands behind your back making it easy for the officer to put the cuffs on. If the officer(s) are shouting orders at you to “Get down on the ground!” or “Put your hands behind your back,” do it immediately.
If you are being placed in the back of a police vehicle, do it WITHOUT RESISTING and don’t say anything until you speak to an attorney. Just go down to the station and allow the process to play out. Chances are, if you are nice, you’ll be able to walk out of the station and see your family the same day.
But if you don’t want to take my advice, take the advice of KingFace. Here’s Candace Owens with KingFace talking about the steps he takes, and recommends to others, when he’s confronted by police. Watch.
Comply every step of the way, say thank you and swallow a little pride.
Your life is worth it.