I was abused and assaulted by Michigan State Troopers during Father’s Day weekend in 2011.
They refused to answer three simple questions — What is the purpose of this detainment? Am I under arrest? Am I free to go? — and once I told my companion to begin filming the interaction, the officer pulled his tazer on me and commanded the second officer to perform a takedown maneuver on me which ultimately caused permanent damage to my spine and hip.
Handcuffing me and placing me at the front of their vehicle, they interviewed my companion in private, then spoke with each other in their cruiser. After ten minutes waiting, standing dirty, scratched, bruised, and bloodied at the hood of their vehicle, they returned to inform me I was being placed under arrest for “Resisting and Obstructing”.
“How was I resisting?? I was just asking questions!” I said.
“You weren’t resisting?? Then why do I have dirt on my pants??” replied the officer.
“Because you tackled me to the ground, sir. I have no idea why this is happening, I’ve never been in trouble in my life.”
The senior officer walks over…”What are you waiting for? Put him in the car. Let’s go.”
They took me to jail, booked me, and I was there overnight. The next morning the magistrate read the charges: “You’re being charged with Resisting and Obstructing including assault of an officer, which is a two-year felony.”
“What?!? Assault?? I didn’t assault anyone!”
“It says here that you ‘struck Officer Bell.'”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. That didn’t happen,” I protested.
“I’m just reading the report. You can explain yourself in court.”
Cut to the end of the ordeal: the attorney convinced me to accept a misdemeanor plea deal. His words exactly were…
“My job is to keep you out of the system. They have the pen and paper, and therefore they have the power. They wrote down that you assaulted an officer, and now the burden of proof is on you. Do you really want to tie yourself up in court for years over this? You won’t win.”
I caved. I took the deal and got six months probation…and a criminal record.
And now, five years later, I can’t get no retribution. On paper, I’m guilty. Because I took a deal. The other deal was to immediately go broke fighting our government in an attempt to prove my innocence, with an uncertain outcome leaning toward two years of incarceration.
Since this experience five years ago, the chemical reaction in my body which is generally reserved for fight-or-flight response occurs whenever I see a police officer when I’m out in public.
So I can’t even imagine what it’s like for a black person…whose entire race was considered “unequal” under our laws a few short decades ago…when a police officer engages with them. I wonder if they experience the same chemical reaction I do, the same fear, the same confusion as to why they need to be suspicious of those who are supposedly sworn to serve and protect them.
I bet they do. I bet it’s much worse than what I feel.
I haven’t thrown this story out there publicly much, because these days it seems everyone wants to lead with their victim story. But in light of the relentless killings of black United States citizens, and since it has been a full five years gone since this happened to me, I figured it was an appropriate time to share it.
In conclusion: when a member of “law enforcement” shoots someone and kills them, regardless of color, I have serious doubts and disbelief about their version of what supposedly went down…
And I will still question authority.
So should we all.
“No More”: https://youtu.be/2di4s_yrfLE
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