DETROIT (AP) — Nearly 50 years ago, Greg Bowens was given sage advice on what young black people should do and, more importantly, what to do when stopped by the police in Detroit. rice field.
But only this month tire nicholsblack man, later died police officer in Memphis, Tennessee, Stopping, threatening, and brutally beating him, despite seeming to follow the same advice Bowens had heard in the 1970s.
A narrative that is handed down from generation to generation In many Black families, it has been used for generations as a way to prepare their children for interactions with the police. is often seen as more forceful and violent in
“(Nichols) had the windows closed. He was stopped. He was calm,” Bowens said, adding that traffic stoppages, beatings, police and medical personnel had been reported as Nichols writhed in the street. He later died in hospital.
“It didn’t look like they were going to arrest him,” Bowens added. I was scared. Tears came out. “
Nicholls, a 29-year-old father, was stopped by police on January 7 as he was walking home from taking pictures of the sky. He was just minutes from the house where his mother and his stepfather lived. brutally attacked.
the unit to which the officer belonged Disbanded Saturday.
The video was released Friday night by the Memphis Police Department. They showed Nichols being violently pulled out of the car after it stopped. I heard you.
One officer said, “These him! Taise him!” I’m just trying.”
“Stop, I’m not doing anything,” he yelled after a while.
Black parents have long warned of brutality by white police officers. A black man was arrested for Nichols’ murder and charged with murder.
“He was cooler than the cops,” said David Robinson, a Detroit-area attorney and former Detroit police officer.
“You know something was going on before you saw what you saw at the beginning of the video,” Robinson said. “There’s some history there. Something is brewing. What? I still don’t know.”
Lee Ivory, a 64-year-old media consultant and former senior media executive in the Washington, DC area, also watched the video.
“I don’t know what I said to a young black man who had only been driving for five or six years when he saw the sight last night,” he said. Just let them beat you? Or do you run away in hopes of running into a higher-level cop? “
“Even the police chief says he has yet to identify the type of traffic violation he was accused of,” Ivory added.
Nicholls sought to employ the same techniques he’d passed on to his son, now 29, for years.
Bowens, 58, runs a public relations firm in the Detroit area. Bowens was preached by her parents, her grandparents, and other black adults that they “don’t want to get in trouble, they don’t want to disappear,” and were warned about the police.
“They said they would avoid the cops and do whatever they said when they approached you,” Bowens said. I don’t know who did it, but it was the Boogeyman story.”
Robinson, 68, said he hadn’t heard the “story” because his brother was a police officer and his father was involved in law enforcement.
“With that background, it was assumed that I was somewhat safe,” he said. “But reality is reality.”
Robinson explained that as a teenager he drove and was stopped by police who searched his car for no reason. After having children of his own, now 41 and his 40, Robinson said he was making sure his children were taught how to behave in front of the police.
“Always respect a cop. Don’t talk to him. Do what he says,” said Robinson, who spent 13 years as a Detroit police officer. “The bottom line is that the police tend to show their passion in such encounters. They tell the supervisor he has to say ‘sir’ for eight hours, so he goes out on the street.” I want someone to call me sir when It sends the message that you are not a threat. “
Ms Bowens said she had conversations with her two sons and daughter before they entered elementary school. they are adults now.
“As young black boys, as soon as they hit that growth spurt, you’re cute and threatening,” Bowens said. You have brown skin, people are prejudiced, they stop seeing you as cute and they start seeing you as a threat.”
“The first rule is to stay calm in your interactions with adults in stores, schools, and the police,” he added.
A 65-year-old former GE Branch and Ivory journalism colleague said his advice to his sons was, and still is, to be respectful and follow directions. However, when watching the video, Nichols was lying on the ground and police were still screaming at him. “He complied. What more could he have done?” Branch said.
Branch said his lesson is to “further push our efforts to de-escalate” in discussions with young people unless a change in culture occurs and bad officials are eliminated. rice field.
“Obviously the cops don’t do that,” he continued. It’s crazy, but going home is your goal right now. “
Field reported from Washington DC