Black man is always a suspect

Just when you think most racism is subtle, a Davis police officer yanks you back to reality.

I live between Village Homes and Lake Boulevard, in West Davis. As I was mowing my front lawn on April 17 at 2:20 p.m., a Davis police car drove past. It made a U-turn, drove back and stopped in front of my house and driveway.

A policeman approached and asked, “Sir, do you live here?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I need to see some ID,” he stated.

I attempted to ignite his common sense by stating that I had lived here for 30 years. It didn’t work.

“I still need to see some ID,” he demanded.

Since I am the only black person on the street, I thought of racial profiling. “Are you going to ask the others on the street for their ID?” I asked.

He answered, “No, you fit the description.”

“What is the description?” I asked.

“You fit the description,” he replied.

I told him that my ID was inside and went to get it. He followed me inside. He asked my name and I told him. Upon attempting to hand him my driver’s license, he stated, “That’s OK, it’s over. I can see that you live here, you had no trouble getting into the house.”

Afterward, I called the Davis Police Department and gave my name and location, and asked: Were they looking for a tall, slim black male?

“Not in general,” was the response.

“Are you looking for one right now?” I asked.

“No,” he answered.

I fear that the only description that fit is that of being a black American male, and therefore is an image of his ignorance. His action was more gut reaction of “see a black male” and think “suspect of something.” Perhaps he thought I was stealing a lawn mower and was mowing the lawn to make sure it worked.

My father appears to be right: “They have a select non-ability to believe you, and you are always a suspect.”
Eli Davis


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