by S.A. Prince
It was a long day at work. You had to complete an extra task, but that extra task now has you running late leaving the office. The kids keep calling, asking the same question. “We’re hungry. When are you going to get home?’ Your frustration is mounting. No doubt, you’re overworked and underpaid. You jump in your car, fuming. You turn the radio up. ALL THE WAY UP. The music is blasting and you’re trying to zone out. These precious moments are few, your calm in the storm. Heck, maybe you even open the glove box and take a few puffs of the spliff you’ve hidden away. While trying to get your mind off of the day, you begin to push the gas pedal further than usual. Before you know it, you’re driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, and you bypass a cop. He races out of the hole he’s hiding in, flashes those lights and sirens that you’re all too familiar with, and he pulls you over.
What do you do next?
At this point, you only have two choices: Comply or Die.
If you’re saying that’s extreme, you’re right. Complying or Dying are the two extremes of police interaction. The hope is that your interaction would fall somewhere between the two extremes without landing on either one. You would hope you could listen to the officers, and they listen to you, but you can’t count on that. I repeat: Do not count on having any give-and-take conversation when pulled over. We are failing to understand the magnitude of the moment when we get pulled over, and that is to our demise.
This misunderstanding is contributing to the senseless number of deaths we’ve seen. Most of these deaths could have been easily avoided if people, especially my fellow blacks, understood that when you get pulled over by police there is no choice. You either completely comply or prepare to die.
There is no room for questioning. There is no time to think. You either completely and utterly comply, or be prepared to die. In any video where a person is not completely complying, the police are clearly in the right to use deadly force to make you comply. It is to their discretion in an escalating situation where you appear to not be complying as to whether they choose to react to your non-compliance with deadly force, or not.
You are not in an authoritative position. You have no leverage or bargaining power. Understand this: If you do not comply, you will be shot, you will be killed, you will not make it home to your family, you will be on that night’s news not complying, and nobody will be able to come to your defense. You will die on the cold pavement crying for help, and there will be no help for you. You will die alone, your hopes unfulfilled, your dreams unrealized.
…and this will likely be all because you did not completely and utterly comply. Don’t be the next viral video of a police interaction gone wrong. Do not die, comply. Your life is on the line.