While sitting in my backyard I heard adult male voices around the side of the house. I opened the gate and saw a white police officer handcuffing my 13-year-old son. The plainclothes Evanston, Illinois, officer and his partner did not identify themselves as police. They did not ask our son’s age or where he lived. They told him first to put his hands up and then handcuffed him. They assumed he was guilty, of what we didn’t know. His crime appeared to be that he was a black male.
Later, we would listen to the 911 tape of what preceded the incident. It was apparent police had targeted my son while he was riding his bike home from a friend’s house. Why? According to officers, he fit the description of a burglary suspect who had allegedly entered a nearby home. The description they offered: a black male wearing cargo shorts.
Our son was wearing cargo shorts, but that identification could have applied to hundreds of black males in Evanston on that particular day. Why didn’t the 911 dispatcher ask for a more detailed description of his skin color? His build? Whether he had facial hair? (He doesn’t.) Whether he had a tattoo or piercings? (He doesn’t.) Or whether he was wearing a hat? (He was.)
Reeks of lazy Police work, and a wrongful arrest. Sorry “Black male wearing cargo shorts” is pretty darn vague, and covers a LOT of ground. I’m not a huge fan of the whole “Driving while black”, as I know lots of white folks getting pulled over for a bullshit traffic stop, and I know lots of stories of black males doing all sorts of depraved shit, and getting rightfully arrested, but somehow think its only relevant to their skin color.
This doesn’t seem to be one of those cases.
h/t Mrs. Weer’d