Despite the international attention that the death of George Floyd brought to the policing of Black and brown Americans, there are still far too many incidents of encounters with police and innocent people that leave the people traumatized, or worse, dead.
In the midst of the Texas snowstorm that slammed many cities and brought the state to a standstill, 18-year-old high schooler, Rodney Reese, was arrested by Plano, TX police for “being a pedestrian in the road way.” (Did you even know it was an actual crime to be a pedestrian in the road way)?
Reese was walking home from his job at Walmart around 10:30 pm on February 16. In response to a call about a Black man walking in the middle of the street in a short sleeve shirt, the police come and interrogate Reese. He explains that he is walking home from work, he’s walking in the middle of the road because the sidewalks are covered in snow and ice, no he doesn’t need a ride, no he doesn’t need any assistance, no he is not too cold.
Message to the Poor: Don’t Bother Trying. You Can’t Win.
Shaina Bell is a 24-year-old single mother of two daughters. Until recently, the family was living in a motel room in…
Unsatisfied with the responses, the police escalate the situation by getting out of their car, asking for Reese’s name and address. One officer steps in front of him and impedes his path. The other states, “you are officially detained.” Then they tell him to “relax” and stop “resisting.”
Reese — again, a high school student — ends up spending the night in jail before the police drop the charges and release him.
But why was Reese arrested in the first place? The footage shows that after asking Reese where he was going and receiving an answer, the police follow him in their car and literally harass him for several minutes. Then they get out of the car and obstruct him from walking home from work.
In an interview shortly after his release, Reese notes that the death of George Floyd has made him scared of interacting with the police. In the footage, Reese begs the officers to leave him alone — because he’s not doing anything wrong. But they don’t leave him alone, they make up a bogus reason to arrest him and then outrageously claim that he is “resisting” an arrest that should never have happened in the first place. How much more fearful of police will Reese be from now on?
A Dumb Reason Not To Support Student Loan Debt Cancellation
President Joe Biden and a host of Congressional leaders are engaged in a painfully polite war to the death over the…
American citizens — Black, White, young, old, male, female — have a constitutional right to freedom of movement when they are not breaking any laws. These rights should be protected for all of us, and not be infringed upon because that citizen is Black, because he is male, because it is nighttime, because it is cold outside.
This type of harassing and aggressive behavior on the part of police creates even more distrust and hostility within the community. At a time when law enforcement and the community should be forging relationships of mutual trust and understanding, picking on a Black man who’s simply walking home is counterproductive, frustrating and, sadly, far too common.