Photography has been dope for me because it forces me to actually slow down, but still get out in the world and match ideas with action. With writing I can have an idea and flesh it out on paper or my iPad, but it’s a longer process of evaluation and appreciation. Think I was editing myself too much for a while, but I was definitely struggling with the focus and delayed gratification aspect of writing. I’m learning not to view it that way anymore. The struggle is not as hectic with the camera. I’m excited to get out smell the air and see what the world has to offer. I’m falling in love with capturing colors and the human condition. However, in this changing world, I’m also realizing that we need ALL forms of media and expression in order to shed light on our humanizing truths and change what needs to be changed so we can ALL experience the equality that should exist everywhere.
I am truly blessed. Accidents happen all the time around my home and I am usually not around when they occur and definitely not in harm’s way. Before I took the picture that is showcased in this week’s article, a driver used a stolen car to have a reckless cruise that left a car totaled on my street and a couple other vehicles wrecked before he ejected from the illegal joyride and impaled the car on a street pole. I’m guessing the stolen vehicle was being ditched right as I was cursing traffic. It’s funny how so often a perceived inconvenience saves us from some detriment or peril and we’re ignorantly cursing it at the same time. I was about to park and go home but I noticed there were ambulance and police lights at the top of my street so I drove further up my street and decided to check it out. The stolen car driver definitely caused his fair share of damage as I alluded to beforehand. It’s not often you see a vehicle perpendicular to the street with its hood basically in a store front window, crashed and abandoned.
I was fascinated by the image and the chaos so I raised my camera and went closer. There were plenty of policeman surrounding the area because of the accident, however there was no yellow tape set up to determine a crime scene periphery or boundary. I surveyed the scene saw no opposition and went in for my shot. Here’s where the issues started happening. You can determine for yourself how you feel about it after you read my experience. I was getting pretty close to the stolen car in question for the crime and I started taking photos. At this moment a cop just starts yelling at me saying it’s a crime scene , asking what am I doing, don’t I know I shouldn’t be here. Now as I was approaching the whole time, apparently no one noticed me or the camera, I don’t know how because I was looking at them with a camera around my neck and pointing the whole time. I walked into the ‘crime scene’ and no one wanted to say anything or have a conversation about my whereabouts. I don’t mind people doing their job. I don’t want to obstruct justice, I just want to document life. However, I do have a problem when cops are in my neighborhood conducting business and they don’t have the decency to speak to me like a human being. This cop could have displayed far better people skills but he chose to get hyped up and yell like an ignorant person, who happens to have a badge. After we stared each other down and I moved to the aisle to take pictures, the tension was obvious. There never had to be any tension though. It has been my experience that cops are quite aggressive towards residents in my neighborhood of Dorchester, MA. It truly seems like they don’t want to engage properly and respectfully with the residents of the area even though they are public servants supposedly there to help us. I will speak for myself, but the law enforcement in the area seems like they want to cause a confrontation more often than not if you’re not their color,or white. Very rarely is there a nice dialogue between cop and civilian in my neighborhood. These guys are so ramped up when speaking to a Black man, it’s like they want to bait us into trouble, fuck helping in any way.
In my last three encounters with the police I have experienced nothing but hostility and I’ve only been asking questions about their own practices. One cop on detail actually told me, “Fuck you” while I approached him on his cellphone and he got defensive. In my latest meeting with one of our city’s finest, officer badge number 2626 told me not to call 911 if I ever got into trouble. I promptly told him I typically don’t because they take too long to arrive in my neighborhood. I think Public Enemy had a song about it, look it up. My point is, this should be over. There should be no room for racism left in the police force. But, since I am mature about things and realize they don’t go away suddenly, I really would like to state this clearly. The Boston Police department needs change, now. I am not a criminal and these guys with badges have no respect. We need more black officers and we need white officers to stop getting special treatment. I have heard countless times of white officers being transferred while the black officer gets fired. I’m tired of the special treatment certain white officers get, while they simply don’t deserve it.
Our city has a problem. We have a large police force that either doesn’t want to know the black population or they don’t care. Furthermore we need to get more black cops in their own neighborhoods. I don’t need to talk to another white man, who assumes the worst about me and doesn’t know me. I also don’t need a multitude of scared white men around me with guns, because that’s all you’re doing. Why can’t we have proper representation as black people on the police force? Until we have more honest talks there is going to be a strong racial divide on the force and beyond. I don’t feel protected. I feel targeted and oppressed. The picture above shows a cop staring at me while I just take photos. There was no dialogue, just his partner trying to yell at me. You see his hoodie? I don’t. I don’t trust the police.