MANSFIELD: Whatever Happens Don’t Call the Police

My father drilled this bit of wisdom into our heads from day one, and he did so because we were a black family. “If the house is on fire, call the fire department, but under no circumstances do you ever call the police for any reason,” he always said, “since the only thing they will do is make a bad situation worse.” My father knew what he was talking about, and this was back in the ’50s.

What if someone is breaking in your house, you might ask. In the unlikely case that someone is breaking in while you’re at home — unless you want to grab your gun and play John Wayne over an X-Box or a laptop — simply tell them to take whatever they want and leave since insurance covers it anyway. Don’t risk your life over items that are easily replaceable.

If you hide in your bedroom and call the cops when you hear the burglar, he will most likely be long gone by the time police arrive, and they just might mistake you for the bad guy once they do show up, especially if you are black. The best home protection is still a dog.

Of course, a family member, such as a young adult still living at home with a mental health issue, or a young addict living in the basement (something that seemingly is on the increase), could act out in an inappropriate or dangerous manner. But that kind of behavior is usually highly predictable, even though the signs of such problems are often ignored by family members, and the best agency to call in this situation is EMS, not the cops, since these are medical concerns.

The well-meaning neighbor who called the cops to the home of Atatiana Jefferson’s sister in Fort Worth (he saw a door standing open for a couple of hours and called a nonemergency number for a simple welfare check) had the expectation the cop would respond in a professional manner.

Alas, my father knew different.

The white cop who got the call was responding to a mixed black and Hispanic neighborhood so, since he was trained to believe that all persons of color are dangerous as long as they are breathing, he fired through a window, killing the 28-year-old woman without even identifying himself as a cop. He yelled “show your hands,” and a split second later fired into the home.

While the cop, Aaron Dean, has been indicted for murder, his defense team will, of course, claim that he was in fear of his life. After all, 28-year-old college graduate and pre-med student Ataliana Jefferson was black, and in Texas that just might be enough to get her killer acquitted.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc

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