I didn't sleep well last night. Was up until 4 a.m., I guess too wound up to let my body do its job over my mental anguish of seeing a human being -- a BLACK human being, like myself -- murdered before my eyes.
I spent much of the day after the fateful video surfaced reading the comments from various news sites. To be sure, 95% of them were equally appalled. I found, and verified the irony of ex-police officer Michael Slager's surname. In the Dutch language, "Slager" means "butcher shop."
I ran back my own memory of being stopped by police...once as a 16-year-old high schooler, while walking to the bus stop after a classmate's birthday party. I was accused of stealing a car. Again, I was walking.
I was stopped in Prince George's County on my birthday (some 40 years ago) for speeding. I knew there was a cop car behind me, and knew the highway I was on, so I slowed down. Nonetheless, the officer lit me up, pulled me over and cited me for speeding. I went to court, armed with a photograph I had taken of the speed sign showing 35 mph. I didn't need that proof, however; the cop never showed and the case was dismissed. But I lost a day's pay back in the day for that foolishness.
It was 1985 in New Jersey, when I was pulled over by a state trooper on the NJ Turnpike; I had just relocated from The Miami Herald, and had Florida tags. The trooper did his usual protocol of running my tags, etc. About 20 minutes later, he returned to my car and said I could go, offering a lame explanation that there were a lot of drugs running up from Florida and that was why he pulled me over. Then, he had the audacity to ask me why I was even in New Jersey.
I told him, "I just relocated here from Florida. I am the new city editor of The (Bergen) Record," and I'm on my way to work. His face turned fire-engine red.
Today, more than ever, I shudder that there are few black journalists in America's newsrooms to fight the power that be. I am no public enemy. Peace!