A few months ago, I was on a radio show expressing how I felt that my hometown, Dothan, had always had less racial tension that other cities in the South. But with all the stories that keep coming out about racial tension (especially with police), it made me think of inappropriate behavior that has happened to me just in the city of Dothan. Here are my stories. What about yours?
My first story occurs near dusk as I was driving home from work at a local electric generating plant. As I was nearing my apartment, I was unexpectedly pulled over by a police officer that had been lingering behind me since I started my commute.
As the police officer approached, I became very nervous. At this time, I had no idea what I was being pulled over for, but I knew something fishy was in the air.
When the officer arrived to my front door, I rolled down my windows as the officer began to say, “I’m going to need you…”
Before he could finish his statement, he sees my company badge and interjects himself with, “Oh, I didn’t know you worked for the power plant. I had been following you for several miles, and I just wanted to make sure you were OK.”
I sheepishly responded, “Yes, I’m OK.”
The officer then left my car and returned to his police vehicle. Meanwhile, I’m panicking and wondering why this police officer actually pulled me over. Did he pull me over to plant drugs in my car? I’ll never truly know, but I know he wasn’t really checking to see if I was okay.
My second story also occurs near dusk as I was driving from my apartment to shop at the nearby supermarket. Before I could get a block away from my apartment complex though, I was pulled over by another police officer.
Again, once the officer arrived at my driver side door, I rolled down my windows. This time, the officer’s words were not interrupted.
He says with a thunderous voice, “I’m going to need you to get out of your car.”
Because I didn’t want to get physically abused by this police officer, I did what he asked and got out of the car. The officer then proceeds with further statements and questioning.
He states, “I’m going to need to frisk you, and I’m going to need to search your car for drugs.”
If you can imagine, I was very puzzled, but I still cooperated.
As his frisk and search finished, the officer responded, “I just wanted you to know your left tail light was out. Go get that fixed.”
That was the only explanation that he gave. As one might guess, the whole bogus ordeal made me very angry.
The above anecdotes shouldn’t paint the whole picture, but they are signs that we have a systemic problem with inappropriate police behavior—even in supposed progressive cities like Dothan.
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