A year has passed. But, unfortunately, the officers’ apologies have not made the nightmare go away. I relive it every time I hear the senseless ways people of color are murdered by police. I panic slightly when police are present or when they are just driving by. Police are not a symbol of safety or protection for me.
That day, when I picked up my Uber customers, one entered the front, and one behind me. While I waited for the last two to get in, I saw through the rear window, a man and a truck pulling up toward my car. First, I thought the pedestrian running between our cars was trying to avoid getting hit by the speeding truck. Then another man hit the back of my car. For a split second, I thought I had hit him.
I screamed, “Oh my God what is going on?”
When I turned back forward, I was staring at three police officers with guns drawn. (So…that was NOT a pedestrian.) Two in front of me and one to my left. I kept staring at the barrel of the guns into the officers’ eyes.
All I could say was, “Jesus!”
I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t anything. Time stopped.
Immediately, I saw the replay of the recent weeks of white cops and black males.
It was silent inside my car. I couldn’t see in my back seat and neither could the officers. I could hear clearly, “I need an officer to get a clear view of the passenger in the back seat.”
Is this really happening? To me?
One by one we were instructed to exit the car. The officers put me in handcuffs.
My blood began to boil. I needed to get home so I worked hard at controlling this injustice. I was livid, but I waited for the right opportunity to speak.
After they rummaged through my belongs and found my identification, they asked my relationship to the passengers.
“I am an Uber driver!” I replied, louder than I intended and with full disgust.
“If you are telling me the truth we will get you out of here as soon as we can,” the officer responded as he walked back to my car.
Another officer removed my cuffs and said, “I am sorry you don’t need to be here.” I was now “free.”
But I wait in that tension of, “Oops I’m sorry, just stay right here and take some deep breaths and we will get you out of here as soon as we can!”
It turned out, the other two passengers that never made it into my car were who the officers were looking for. So yes, ALL of this happened for a crime that was committed prior to that day. I drove away thinking this reactive moment could have been several tragedies.
Today, I understand differently. I hurt differently for the lives lost.
In the midst of this crazy world, two things I know for sure. God is with me always ~Jehovah Shammah. He is my protector ~El Elohim!