A Pig Brutality Memoir
It was about 4 or 5 years ago, but I remember it like yesterday, -fresh in my memory. Maya Angelou’s quote reverberates in my head: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s why I remember. I felt enraged and powerless, abused…and for what? So the male cop who put his hands on me, utilizing unnecessary excessive force, could exhibit his machoismo? I would say pick on someone your own size, but I literally can’t since he was smaller and shorter than me. Maybe that’s why those who thrive on fear shouldn’t be police. I won’t play the “I’m a girl card” either since when it comes to black women, it’s like beating a dead horse, since Sojourner Truth’s “Ar’nt I a Woman?” spiel in the 1800s. They, and I use that word ambiguously, to mean who ever you’d like it to mean, will kill black men and physically, beat and abuse black women, who they will never regard as women.
Honestly, this is one of the few incidents in my life I will probably never be able to get over, and that is okay, as long as I don’t repress it and let it further fuel my rage, therefore, I’m sharing my experience, so I can enrage everyone who finds me relatable. I don’t want this context to be about bashing cops though. That’s not my thing. There are a lot of great cops out there -and I’m not just talking Christopher Dorner (I’m joking). It was actually a cop who taught me how to shoot a 33 millimeter gun in a way that had me hitting the target for the first time ever. There were cops who showed compassion every time I had to call them on my daughter’s behalf, but that’s another story for another time. It was a cop I used to shoot the shit with back in the day at my first security job ever, guarding a car sales lot every other night. So make no mistake, I have no issues with cops, just pigs (and I don’t say that jokingly).
I don’t regard the cop who this incident occurred with as a total pig, maybe he was just a rookie, but then again, like my inklings tell me, maybe he was just a racist. He did his job no doubt, I made an illegal left turn out of a cul-de-sac one morning, in a rush to work after dropping off my daughter at her Grandmas. The sign hadn’t previously been there, so I knew it was safe, as I did it 100 times or more. Of course now that the sign was there, it was illegal, and this cop was ready to enforce the new sign being there as it was a set up so to speak, you know, when a cop posts up in an area unseen by the naked eye where he knows he can make his ticket quota -easy (even though they say there isn’t a quota).
He caught me red handed, I pulled over on the next street where there were some houses in the area and light traffic and opened my glove compartment to retrieve registration and my wallet to retrieve insurance and license. (And yes, contrary to your stereotypical beliefs, I was and am an insured black person, with current registration – Surprise!) Anyway to make a long story short, I roll down my window getting ready to hand him license, registration, and insurance, thinking it will be a routine traffic stop where I get issued a ticket and can be on my merry way to work, but that idea soon plummeted when he popped off with the bravado and sheer rage when he approached, like my left turn was a personal attack on his person. I was in fear, instinctively and quickly, I knew by his body language and disposition this was going to be anything but routine, and I wasn’t lying.
He stepped to me in rage, asking me what I was doing or what I did, and I was just so distracted by his anger, I handed over my required documents and rolled up my window some to add a protective barrier between me and the raging cop. Of course this didn’t go over well, as he put his hand on my window to prevent it, to which I stopped rolling up my window. I thought it was weird since it wasn’t like I was going to hand him over my information and flee, especially for an illegal left turn. But I guess, stereotypically black people have warrants and drugs, etc., etc. to which fleeing may have made sense, right? But for those who know me, if I ever was caught up in that lifestyle, I would have never pulled over in the first place.
Needless to say, he tells me to take the key out of the ignition, even though the car was turned off and he told me to get out of the car. I’m thinking, “Oh shit, what’s about to happen, why do I have to get out of the car on a routine traffic violation stop?” As soon as I pull the keys, open the car door to get out, this cop grabs me and has me hemmed up against my car and he’s directly in front of me, short and little as shit in comparison, -maybe that was why he was acting bigger than he was and grabbing me for only God knows what. If I get out of the car and handed over my information and was being cooperative 95% of the time, what is warranting his behavior? Of course I looked bigger than him, -to him, more than likely because I was wearing my work uniform for a security company, which was a man’s suit, complete with shoulder padded suit jacket and collar shirt and Docker like pants.
The next thing I know, there are 7 other cops on the scene, and an older Asian couple standing watch (to my comfort – witnesses). I’m thinking “Seriously?” And for those who know me, I’m the last person you’d have to solicit a group of cops for. I’m the most non-threatening person I myself have ever met, outside of what I would have imagined Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa and Gandhi to be, (aside from maybe 2 or 3 isolated events, when I was beyond the brink of sanity), but any act of physical violence would be my last resort (forget the 33 millimeter gun I mentioned earlier).
I sat at the front of the cop’s police vehicle as instructed, as I guess the new model cop cars come with external front bumper seating and I waited for these cops to do whatever they were doing. Mind you there was one cop on scene who I could classify as African American, as sometimes in situations like these it can be a comfort, I later found out he was the police chief, as I had to put in my complaint with him. He did ask me if everything was alright before he left the scene, but having flash backs of Rodney King’s ordeal, with a group of police, (not just 1-but 7 others), I just replied “Yes,” with a half-smile, as much as I could muster, and remained silent.
As soon as they left, the cop told me he was taking my car and my driver’s license. I said you can’t do that and asked for an explanation why, and he said because it’s the property of the state. I had my out of state license and registration current, but because I actually lived where I did and was no longer in the service, he felt he could take it. I knew he was wrong and I told him as I was walking off I was going to talk to his boss and put in a complaint.
Needless to say, I got a ride to work, and later recovered my car from the far and deep reaches of the Earth (the towing facility was out in the boonies) and I definitely put in a complaint, on the phone crying and bitching, to which the receiving officer said to come in at yada-yada time and yada-yada place to do an interview to which I did.
When I went in for the interview, the African-American police chief who showed up to the scene was conducting the interview and asked why I didn’t say anything then. “There were 7 of you and 1 of me, would you have said something?” I replied. He laughed. He got it, as only maybe black people can get something like that. I recounted my story, specifically how what this cop did was unnecessary and excessive, unlawful and utterly ridiculous (despite my breaking the law via an illegal left turn).
I was a perceived threat to this cop, not a real threat. Had I been anyone else, not a black woman in a towering male uniform, maybe -just maybe there would have been a different outcome. If he wasn’t the cop at the scene -maybe there would have been a different outcome.
It’s rare one gets to see the aftermath or consequences of such events, but I saw Karma in this scenario. There was an envelope in my mail box, unmarked, no address, no name, but it had my license in it with a note saying to go to the DMV for a current state license. Apparently this cop makes home visits (which I find quite unusual under the circumstances). Was this a ploy for him to let me know that he knows where to find me? My license wasn’t property of the state and was unlawfully revoked.
Moreover, when I walked my daughter to her classroom one morning, I actually saw this cop, at her elementary school, staring me down, -he remembered me, of course I was more feminine this time around, as I wasn’t working that day, so I could look like a woman. But I kind of laughed inside… I guess as punishment, maybe he was sentenced to policing the elementary school opposed to policing people… and at a predominantly African American elementary school at that. Hopefully he won’t grab and hem up any kids, but retraining and rehabilitation has to start somewhere, right? Might as well gain emotional intelligence at the base level.
I can look back and laugh at this scenario now, but when it happened and thereafter, I was traumatized by it. I was pulled over maybe 2 other times in the course of a month after that and figured this cop put out some kind of notice on my vehicle. Each time I was pulled over I went into shock like I was a PTSD victim. One time I was so nervous and shaking that I took what felt like forever to get the insurance, registration and license out that the cop picked up on my fear and went away. The other time my boyfriend at the time, (now husband) was in the car and spoke up on my behalf since I was dumb founded on why I was even getting pulled over once again.
I have other police stories to tell, not surprisingly (to my kinfolk or black people), as African-American run-ins with cops is as common as grocery shopping or going to church, right or wrong, from racial profiling to sheer abuse of justice. And I will share them when time and conscious permit, but this story is by far the most brutal, though I gave it a comical spin, and sadly, - the most memorable. If anything, don’t give up the fight on ending pig brutality, I won’t say police brutality, because it usually takes a pig to be brutal. The best way to fight it is to call it out, report it, it will just keep on usurping its head if we ignore it, for fear of retaliation, either way, if you do or you don’t, sooner or later, someone will have to answer for it, -let’s just hope it’s not another black person, once again.