How to React to Police in Communities and in Cars

“The number one rule is that everyone safely goes home from a traffic stop!”

Hubert A. Peterkin

And “We are part of the problem.”

The father of Sean Bell (Police Don’t Shoot) is William Bell who lived right by the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

With that said more is needed today to keep people safe and to save lives. Minneapolis PD failed but it was not the police alone that failed. Is there a 311 or 911 number so that people can call a police supervisor when that is badly needed?

Millions of people heard the name Sean Bell mentioned again as there was a large really in New York City organized by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. William and Valerie Bell were there to speak out against the violence that affects far too many people and families across our nation. Few people know this true-life story told to me years ago by William Bell as we went up to Yonkers together. It took place in Selma, Alabama which was William Bell’s hometown and it involved a car that was stopped by the police there. This was Selma with the KKK headquarters near his home. This was the South with a man lynched and his body burning in the woods there.

William Bell was in a car with friends, white friends too. The police officer who stopped the car asked the white youth if they were alright. Such was the racism of that time and the extent that police would go to keep the status quo, even though the driver of the vehicle had not committed a violation.

Please realize that if William Bell had lost his life through a chokehold, a bullet, or other that there never would have been Sean Bell. Tragedies are avoided by lots of means, including better communication that has to be two-way communication.

I was sent a video and there is a request at the end of the video to help make it go viral.

Police surrounded a Black child about eleven years of age who was being arrested. This is being videoed while a man talks about what is being put on tape for all to see. The man is as much the story as the youth who being arrested. The man called out various things that have to be reported here.

I do not know the origin of the video that I watched to present the information below but before publishing this I saw a video titled Ahorita en Bayside, Miami

You’re doing this to a minor.

His parents should be here.

He asked for the badge numbers of officers.

He asked for someone not to touch him.

He reacted to a statement by one of the officers who said that she would arrest him.

He shouted out that the youth was in a chokehold as a male officer held the youth.

The youth backed away from the police car and he ended up on the ground with officers attempting to restrain him.

The police noticed that the youth was spitting and a bag was placed over the head of the youth.

The man called out that the bag should be taking off since the youth stop spitting.

A backup team soon came in a police car.

The youth reacted to the comments of the man repeating his comments.

The officer never explained why she would arrest the man.

The man who sent me the video on FACEBOOK I know well, for many years. We had an exchange of thoughts and his was about White Supremacy and racism. Mine was about the man that I have written about.

I wish everyone could watch the video but it can only be forwarded to people on FACEBOOK.

The traffic stop is an integral part of community policing when done right and is not just an integral part of community policing when done (without the right). I know that African American parents are worried about their children as they walk down the streets of their neighborhoods. I know that police have the most trouble (as told to me) with teenagers or youth. I know that there are better things that can “close the gap that has created a serious disconnect leading to confrontation, serious injury and sometimes even death in a traffic stop (or anywhere else).”

Sheriff Peterkin of Hoke County was a guest speaker at the George Floyd Memorial Service in Raeford, North Carolina where he spoke about the hurt of the racial injustice that he sees all over the world. He called for taking out the trash or those police that do not belong (citing one or two percent). Six words “We are part of the problem” are words he wants law enforcement officers to repeat all over our nation as he called for police to stop bullying and other tactics that negatively affect the nation.

Anderson Cooper spoke about the changes that have taken place in policing including the demand for higher education. I have repeatedly pointed out over the years that counties only require a high school diploma or GED and that could be a very positive thing if done right. Cooper and Peterkin spoke about officers that just go to the next county to be hired that should not be hired and Peterkin indicated that federal legislation might be necessary. Peterkin is against “defunding” as he correctly points out that innocent police will be punished. They both talked about the hiring and protecting of officers that should not be on the job.

As far as the “defund” police movement goes, more (much more) discussion is needed.  Clarification is needed as well right now as we follow the news. We do not want an ill-conceived notion to capture the minds of people and then find out months, a year, or years later that it is not working. This movement, on the surface, reminds me of George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” at a time when I was promoting “No Person Left Behind” because Adult Lives Matter. An integral part of that law of the land was that school closings should take place as 50 percent of the teachers were to be retained and the other half would be new teachers. That law was replaced. A knowledge of history is needed, essential facts matter. That was an example of bad government. Lots of community people went for it and I knew even back then how unfair it was and knew that it could be done to the police. Attempting that at the time with the police would have created national outrage which came about more slowly with the attack on teachers.

I have been with violence interrupters. I do not know them well enough to speak about everything, but here is important information. One of them who works with a well known group told me this why should people study for the GED (in the poor economy following the burst of the financial bubble) when people who have high school diplomas cannot get jobs. I was the wrong person to say that to.  And keep this important paragraph in mind as reform takes place since we are experiencing much greater challenges now than in 2008.

Another person involved in that work long before that appointed me vice-chairman of Operation SNUG (guns spelled backwards) in Suffolk County which was subject to getting the funds. I did not consent to join based on my relationship with that man. My goal was to help people earn their GED and 2.85 adults in the state of New York were lacking a diploma (things have been getting worse since). I wanted Harlem SNUG and other communities to help the youth put down guns and get a diploma. My outreach had started long before that and I called Palestine, West Virginia to reach Jessica Lynch when she was world famous due to the War in Iraq.

The “Minneapolis Effect” that we see around our nation needs more than the leaders are proposing. I would like Sheriff Peterkin to hold discussions with Black Lives Matter and other organization of protestors. We are all part of the problem rings true. I brought this to attention of community organizations yet I see a great disconnect to the process of helping anyone who is unjustly stopped by the police.

And I just saw another video sent to me by a pastor on Long Island where a backup police officer started to rough up a Black man being detained, who asked why he was being arrested (for speeding as the answer from the officer) all captured on camera (possibly by the man’s wife) and no supervisor was called. Yes the man being detained had not read Sheriff Peterkin’s book and he meandered in and out of doing things well. He was wrestled to the ground on grass, but he could easily have suffered serious injury. Why? We would have to take another look at the backup officer and his training. The first officer appeared to take out his taser but refrained from using it (which was the right call there). In other words, there are more George Floyd’s in the making as people as people discuss what we should do. My call for people to call a supervisor before things escalate appears to not be taking hold anywhere, particularly in Minneapolis where I have done the most to promote the idea. And in the George Floyd video that the world has seen, even the people who cared enough to record this history did not call for a supervisor to intervene.

Basic prevention is going out the door in favor of reform. Reform is badly needed but people in power will fail because they are failing right now and need to know the best formulas for success. A major part of the response to the killing of George Floyd has to be My Brother’s Keeper today and not wait for months to pass by. And people in power leave important things out, whether those people are connected to government or to community. We cannot allow the failure to take place, the memory of George Floyd and the police reaction should not continue today or tomorrow anywhere in the United States.