Instead of an apology one officer explained that they did fit the description—an African-American couple. If the description had been a white couple would they have pulled over a random white male and female and assumed their guilt? Probably not. More than likely they would politely questioned them. But that’s not really the point.
The point is it doesn’t matter how wrong the police officers are or how much damage is done to your dignity, the best thing do at the time is to follow the directions of the police officers and to lodge your complaints later, which is what my staff member and her husband did.
I lived in Tuskegee, Alabama and marched for Civil Rights in the Bull Connor, police dogs, water hose era and I believe mightily in civil disobedience, so it isn’t easy for me to urge people to be tolerant in the face of injustice, especially in 2014. But I’ve told my children and they’re telling theirs to do exactly what officer Dutta said they should do. Be quiet and follow the officer’s orders.
My son added these thoughts:
“If for some reason you are detained in Fruitvale Station and handcuffed, don’t stand up. If you are a Professor walking in the middle of the street in Cambridge (Harvard) and an officer tells you to move to the sidewalk, do it expeditiously. And for God sake don’t walk around a Walmart with a toy gun in your hand looking like you’re talking to a corroborator on your cell.”
Police officers must always be held accountable for excessive force, harassment and straight out brutality and victims shouldn’t be blamed when the police cross the line. But we shouldn’t do anything that plays into their hands either.
The officer who wrote the column isn’t alone in his thinking, he just decided to show you his true colors.
Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time.