I pulled a car over October 1, 2016 for texting and driving. When I went to talk to the driver, I met Brandon. The morning I met Brandon, he looked up at me like he was absolutely terrified, with his hands up slightly in the air. He said, "What do you want me to do Officer? His voice quivering with fear. On that morning Brandon was genuinely scared.
That morning, I was taken back and I just stopped to look at Brandon for a moment. I realized what I was seeing and it made me so sad.
December 12, 2016, I saw Brandon again for the first time in since that fateful Fall day.
I said to Brandon, "Did you know that the last thing I'd ever want to do is hurt you?"
In which he replied politely, "No sir, I was scared of the police for what I had going on around the country."
I said, "I just didn't want you to text and drive. I just didn't want to see you get in a wreck. When we tracked you down so we could meet again, your mom initially was so concerned as to why the police wanted to talk to her teenage son. Your Mom was worried because she loves you, and knows her baby boy is a good kid.
I want you to be able to finish your degree in Business Administration. The one you are in college for now. I didn't even want to write you a ticket. I just didn't want you to get hurt. Brandon, when I looked in your eyes that morning I saw something deeper that exist within all of us. Honestly, Brandon when I looked in your eyes I realized we are all in this together, and you could easily be my own son."
I truly don't care who's fault it was that Brandon was so scared on the day I stopped him. Brandon was just a teenage kid, with his entire future ahead of him. He's not a trouble maker, he's a good, respectful, polite kid, who is in college, and wants to make something of himself. Brandon should have had absolutely no reason to have been scared of me.
However, the truth is he was. Brandon's face is that of every black youth. His Mother's fears those of all black moms.
It should have saddened each and every one of us to know we've let our egos allow this problem to get this bad. We want to blame everything on everyone else rather than look at ourselves in the mirror and say what have we done!
That December afternoon, I looked at Brandon, and I said, "Brandon, I promise you, somehow we're going to fix this."