When I was a little boy, I was taught, “If you’re in trouble, look for a policeman.” Now it seems more like, “If you see a policeman, look for trouble.”
The few law enforcement officers I’ve been stopped by have always been cordial and respectful. But as everyone’s getting more trigger-happy in this country, I wonder: What do I tell my son (who just got his driver’s license) he should do if pulled over?
Years ago, I would’ve said, “Have your license and registration ready for the officer.” But now, if someone is seen reaching for a wallet, he might be shot by a cop who thinks he’s going for a gun.
Now I would keep my hands visible on the wheel until spoken to. But what if the officer asks to see license and registration? Someone would still look like he’s going for a weapon, and he may still be shot. They may be shot even after they’re yanked out of the car, cuffed and thrown to the pavement.
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I’ve tried to raise my kids not to prejudge any person as a threat just because of skin color. I don’t want to have to warn them to prejudge if they see a badge.