This is a textbook example of why it's so easy to understand Black people who despise the Minneapolis Police Department uniform on sight and are loath to give the person wearing it even the slightest benefit of the doubt. This is a textbook example of why it's so easy to understand Black people who despise the Minneapolis Police Department uniform on sight and are loath to give the person wearing it even the slightest benefit of the doubt.
A day or so before Christmas I was threatened by a not vastly evolved individual in my apartment complex. Instead of grabbing my baseball bat and splitting his skull wide open, I did the responsibly lawful thing and put in a 911 call to those whose sworn duty it is to protect and serve the citizenry. More than twenty-four hours later somebody finally showed up and, believe me, I would've been better off if they hadn't bothered.
I answer the door. Two cops are there. I invite them in. And immediately wish I'd left them standing outside and simply spoken to them on the doorstep – freezing cold or no. Because where I expected to get help in dealing with an off-the-hook neighbor, I'm suddenly contending – in the middle of my kitchen – with arbitrarily antagonistic, marginally restrained hostility, trying to figure how the hell I'm gonna get this head case out of my home and not wind up accompanying him – in handcuffs.
"What's the problem?" he asks. When an answer doesn't leap right out of my mouth (I'm thinking at that point how to make a long story short – the whole thing between me and the neighbor is just plain goofy), he barks, "Well?!" When I look at him in surprise at his tone, he follows with, "We don't have all night for you to stand there with your eyes wide open!"
So I simply say, "This guy threatened me."
"So, what do you expect us to do about it?"
"Go have a word with him."
"At four o'clock in the morning? How would you like to get woke up this time of night?"
Never mind that I just was. "Well, I didn't threaten anybody."
"Do you have proof that he threatened you? We can't just go knocking on his door because you said so."
Which of course is a damn lie. Had some white woman in the building made a complaint against me, this guy would be banging on my door, knocking it down if necessary, to confront me.
Realizing I'll need ammunition in the event it becomes necessary to get a restraining order against the neighbor, I ask, "Well, would you give me one of those blue cards to document that I placed the call and the police responded?"
"No! We don't give them out like candy!" I swear I'm not making this up. Ask his partner, an apparently sane individual who spent most of the time rubbing his chin and looking at the floor.
So now we're standing there staring at each other and I'm reminded of the last time I stood looking at a snarling, barking dog, just praying to God I wouldn't get bit. I knew I shouldn't have said it, but just wasn't about to punk-up for this gun-and-badge toting bully. "Well," I said, making sure at least to keep the bass out of my voice and, for good measure, giving a helpless shrug. "I can't make you do your job."
Whereupon Mr. Personality pulls one of the department's favorite ploys, pushing up on me so close that the natural instinct is to raise my hands and hold him off – so he can claim I assaulted him and haul me off to jail. This hardly being the first time I've seen a cop try and bait somebody, I don't go for it.
"Well?" he demands, "there anything else?"
I resist the urge to encourage him to go do the anatomically impossible and simply say, "Nope." Once he's out the door, more through surging adrenalin than actual nerve, I blurt out, "Hope you enjoy