When I was living in Houston, (in my early 20′s, before cell phones), I was standing in front of my apartment building on the lawn, peering into the distance, looking for the bus to arrive before moving to the sidewalk. I knew that the sidewalk was public and I would be more vulnerable waiting there, so I stood on the lawn.
Two police officers drove by, made a U turn, came back and pulled up to the curb in front of me. The officer on the passenger side had a drink in his hand and was obviously drunk. Slurring his words, he commanded me to get into the police car. It was the middle of the day in an exclusive neighborhood. I calmly stated that I had not done anything and that I would not voluntarily get into the car. He told me several times to get in the car. I just stood there calmly assessing the situation.
I thought, “who is going to help me when police are harassing me? No one, because the public is conditioned to believe that the police are right. Thus, if they are harassing me, people automatically assume I have done something wrong and deserve it.” Today, many people are moving out of that consciousness, thanks to the internet, but there was no internet at that time and there would have been no one there with a camera to record the event. It is recorded, however, permanently in my mind.
I also realized that I couldn’t go back into my apartment either because the officers would see that as reason to arrest me. More importantly, I knew that no one would help anyone when the police was after them. So, all I had to defend me was my wits. My intuition whispered that if I voluntarily got into their car, I would end up raped and possibly dead. At that time, it was all over the news in Houston that attractive young women were being forced into police cars, raped and then charged with prostitution. Some ended up dead. So, there was absolutely no way I was going to voluntarily get in their car. They were going to have to shoot me … I decided then and there that I would rather die standing, than on my knees begging for mercy from drunk, power hungry police officers.
When the driver of the patrol car saw that I could not be intimidated into voluntarily getting into the car and that I remained calm, he told the drunk cop, “Leave her alone,” then drove off. I was one of the lucky ones and I believe that being in an exclusive Jewish neighborhood was a factor in them not wanting to create a scene with a pretty young girl. I also believe that the sober cop assessed the situation, saw that I did not have a victim mentality and decided to move on to easier, more compliant and vulnerable prey. Which is my point … police, like other sociopaths, assess the vulnerability and fear factor of their victims and will pass up a potential prey who looks challenging to go and find an easier or more vulnerable victim. Poor people and minorities are more vulnerable.
Even though this happened to me years ago, before cell phones made us aware of the fallacy of the foregoing belief system that I pointed out, which needs to be completely reprogrammed, we now know the extent of innocent people being brutalized by the police. Even so, things have not gotten better; they have escalated. There seems to be a feeding frenzy.
Moreover, the police have a decided advantage against the public; they actually can and do arrest anyone without probable cause because all they have to do is book you with resisting arrest. Thus, anyone who stands their ground, like the man in a recent video I saw, where even after he complied with the police request to see his bus ticket and ID, he was still jumped by five police officers, charged with resisting arrest, and thrown in jail. All he did was ask the police officer to take his hands off of him because he had complied with their request and was not guilty of anything but getting off the bus.
Once an individual is charged with resisting arrest, that person bears the expense of defending himself against harassment, excessive use of force, and having a felony record. I saw this happen to an elderly professor at Mission College, Professor Dirks, who was defending the constitutional rights of two of his students from campus police who beat him and arrested him for loudly stating his rights and standing firm in his rights. This also happened to one of my Mexican students who was beaten by Glendale police for riding his bicycle in the street. He got off his bike, held his hands in the air, asked “How may I help you officers” and was knocked to the ground, beaten and choked, apparently for speaking when he wasn’t spoken to. He also happens to be dark skinned.
I think more and more people are coming to the realization that this can happen to anyone, not just dark skinned men, even though it happens more frequently to them. I also think that we are reaching a tipping point wherein Americans are waking up and realizing that we live in a police state and are being conditioned to get used to it from being strip searched at airports to having police in riot gear using sonic weapons, gas, guns and batons on protestors and provoking them to riot in frustration because they are not allowed to protest in peace. The reason for this provocation is to justify the police presence and martial law.
What I am suggesting is that protesters keep their wits about them and remain calm under harassment and that individuals who are stopped by police remain calm, no matter what. It is imperative that you not exhibit fear, frustration, or anger because they feed off of that and use it to justify brutality. They also feed off of your victimhood.
Know that you are never alone; God is with you and can manifest itself more powerfully through you when you show no fear, anger or frustration. I believe that there is no death; that it is just a transformation from physical matter into spirit. That is why I did not fear dying or being shot by the police. They cannot kill my spirit. If they want to shoot me, beat or rape me after I am dead, they can have at it. I am not my body. I am an immortal spirit who happens to be in a body. I simply refuse to willingly offer myself up to be abused. I also know that there is no point in physically resisting someone with a gun.
More importantly, what I also know, on a spiritual level is that anyone who kills, harms, or falsely accuses a holy innocent automatically calls forth the judgment of heaven upon their own heads. The law is perfect and no one gets away with anything. My point is to always maintain your dignity, no matter what the circumstances. Be like the author of Invictus who said, “My head is bloody but unbowed” I do not bow to any authority but God and the God in my being respects my right to maintain my dignity. The poster below goes to show that when the people raise their consciousness, come together and demand change, the powers that be have no choice but to give the people what they want. – Parthenia Grant
Check out my article Zoot Suits, El Pachuco, and The Sleepy Lagoon Case Institutionalized Racism is Alive and Well in L. A.