“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as WE are.” – Anais Nin, Author
The images surrounding the recent surge of “alleged” police brutality is proof that our perception actually means everything. How we see things makes a huge impact on how we respond to what we see. Yesterday, I had (what I hope is to you as well) the displeasure of witnessing the arrest of Sandra Bland. This entire situation is very unfortunate, especially for Miss Bland, but I know people enough to know that this video may cause even more confusion; driving a wider wedge between sides.
Different people will see this interaction differently, and to be honest, I can (kinda) understand the differing points of view:
1. “The officer was doing his job.”
Yes. Police have the sworn duty to uphold and enforce laws. If Miss Bland failed to signal, he had every right to pull her over and write her a warning or a situation, all at his discretion.
2. “Sandra Bland had a bad attitude.”
Yes. Miss Bland was clearly irritated and had no problem speaking her mind about it. She was smart mouthed and emasculating to the male officer.
3. “We have no idea what’s happening out of the frame.”
Yes. What happens outside the camera’s veiw is not captured on the video, and cannot be verified.
4. “The situation escalated very quickly.”
Yes. Around 9 minutes and 30 seconds into the video, emotions got extremely high, for both the officer and Miss Bland.
5. “All of this could have been avoided if Miss Bland had just complied.”
Yes. If she had just stepped out the car and received her warning, we would have never had a national discussion about her death.
While I can see how people might derive at these points of view, one thing is not up for interpretation surrounding this case, and THAT is the law.
To point #1. If the officer saw fit to write Miss Bland a warning how does it so quickly turn into an arrest? Why is it necessary to ask a driver to step out of the car for a warning? What I see is an officer, who felt disrespected, wanting to gain an extreme upper hand in a verbal battle, in which he was losing.
To point #2. Miss Bland did have a bad attitude, but that isn’t illegal in the state of Texas. If having a bad attitude is against the law, I would have a life sentence. But most importantly, I see the officer inviting it. It wasn’t necessary for him to ask, “You okay?” or “What’s wrong?” It’s clear that she was not happy about being pulled over, whether she was right or wrong. She DOES have the right to NOT be happy or cordial.
To point #3. What happens out the frame is his word against her’s, but oh yeah, today she is dead and can’t testify. What I see is an officer, who knows the field of view of his camera, purposefully keep his “offender” out of frame. Now, we many never know who was being combative or not.
To point #4. What happens at 9 minutes and 30 seconds into this video, happened when the officer clearly got irritated with his “offender”. His voice is raised, his taser is pulled, and he is using harsh language threatening to “yank”, “drag” and “light (her) up.” What I see, is an officer who lacks the emotional stamina to work in the field. I would guarantee, had I been the one pulled over, he would not have been so inclined to get caught up in his emotions; me being 6 foot tall and 300+ pounds. Or would he?
To point #5. All of this could have been avoided if more police saw themselves more as protectors than enforcers. What I see is a man who has to have his own way; but when in uniform, “our own way” is set aside for the law of the land.
I can’t sit idly by and remain silent. When people see stuff like this in their own neighborhoods, with this being right in my proverbial backyard, we must speak up. No. I’m not a law expert, nor am I well versed in Texas State Trooper procedure. No. I am not an activist, nor do I have a social or political agenda. No. I am not being racially biased, nor am I being overly sensitive to what seems to be the unravelling of race relations in this country. I’m just calling it like I see it. Black lives matter, but so does black point of view.
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