While I was in bed last I began to think about my past and the events that had happened both good and bad. One event in particular popped in my head it was an even that made me very uncomfortable and to this day I’m glad that nothing bad happened to me. Thinking back I wondered what if I did not follow what they wanted me to do will I still be here today? I was in my mid twenties when this happened to me.
Growing up in the inner city you will see the police everywhere especially in the minority community. You could not throw a rock without hitting one on the head it was normal to hear the police sirens up and down the street all day and night running to a call. After a while you learn to shut off the noise and continue living your life and hope that no one stresses you today.
I can face to face with the police one night while I was going to drop my cousin off to her house. She lived a few minutes away from my house and since the weather was cold I figured it was a nice gesture. The drive was nice as we talked about family and events’ going on in our lives it was nice. After a few minutes we got to my Uncle’s house where I dropped her off. After she went in I put my car in drive and headed back home. I was in a very good mood listening to the car radio on my way back.
I came to a stop light on an intersection and waited for the light to turn green. While I was waiting I saw a police van pull up to the light facing me. I took a glance and noticed both officers looking back. I thought to myself “Why are they looking at me for?” at that time the light turned green and we both went on our way. I continued to watch them through my rear view when I noticed them make a u turn. My happy mood turned somber. And sure enough the police lights came on and they pulled right behind me. I was nervous because of what I saw in the news about the police shooting a man 30 times because they thought he was armed. When you are in that situation you start to think about the worst thing that could happen.
I pulled my car over put the car on drive and opened my car windows so that they can see that I’m not hiding anything then a placed both my hands on the steering wheel and waited.
Do I owe a ticket or something why are they stopping me? I thought to myself.
While I was watching them from my rearview I noticed the two Police officers get out of the van then 6 more of them came out! Apparently I did not notice the other officers in the back. As they approached my vehicle I continued to watch them as they surrounded my car. Since I was alone I was not going to play games with them. One of the officers came up to the driver’s side and asked for my credentials. I asked if I could take my hands off the steering wheel and reach for my credentials in my glove box. He gave the nod and I reached slowly I remember being so nervous that I began to sweat and stutter. It was embarrassing to say the least. I slowly gave me him my paperwork and he went to the van to check to see if my license was suspended or if I had any warrants out.
While the officer was checking my credentials the other cops stayed watching me and looking into my car with flashlights and all. I just sat there nervous and wondering why they stopped me. Finally after a few minutes which felt like hours the officer comes back and then he told me why he stopped me.
Are you ready? You know why he or I should say they pulled me over? They pulled me over because my driver side headlight went out and I did not notice it. And the officer ticketed me for it!
Quickly my nervousness turned to anger but I had to bite my tongue because I did not want this to escalate. If they stopped me for a burnt out light then why did like a whole posse come out? Did they do this because they thought I was some hoodlum or because I was Latino? Or was it my car? Because two officers could have told me that instead I got a whole welcoming committee.
Looking bad I guess things happen for a reason, I take it as a lesson learned which is:
Never drive with a burned out headlight.
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