I reserved my trademark What da cuss? phrase for times like these, when there are just no dignified words to explain the lame-brained, nutty, batty, cuckoo and looney things I catch wind of folks doing.
One such WTC moment just happened a few seconds ago when a white grandfather was stopped because some “concern troll” call the police because he was walking down the street holding hands with his black granddaughter.
I could just imagine what the caller must have sounded like.
“Yes, uh…911? I’d like to report a strange white man walking with a little black gal. Now you know, I don’t like to be a busy body, I’m just concerned, what with all those shows about little black girls going missing and old wrinkly white men usually do that kind of stuff, and I’d hate to see another black baby on a milk carton. Just one question–can you please not mention that I called?I see that man at church every Sunday.”
To add insult to injury, not one, not two, but THREE cops showed up to harass this man and his poor little grandchild, who not doubt was frightened to death and left to wonder why the police thought it was so wrong for her and her grandfather to go out for a walk together.
Here’s a bit on the interaction:
Two blocks from home, an Austin police officer pulled up and, to my surprise, got out and announced she was there to question me. Someone had called 911, she said, to report a suspicious looking white man walking down the street holding hands with a black toddler. (I could tell where this line of questioning was headed.) She said this as though it were the most natural thing in the world for police to investigate, as though my race and Ty’s, in and of itself, was reason enough to stop and question me.
I’ve heard of racial profiling episodes involving “Driving While Black,” but “Babysitting While White” is a new one on me. ‘What’s your relationship with this girl?’, she wanted to know. ‘Where are you going, where are you coming from?’ “No offense,” I told her, “but that’s none of your business.”
Not wanting to violate the failure to identify statute, I gave her my name, address and birthdate but refused to answer any other questions. (“I’m going to write down that you were noncooperative,” she warned ominously, as though admonishing an elementary school student that some infraction might go on their permanent record. “Oh no, not that,” I thought to myself.)
I asked if we could leave, but the officer kept me there demanding answers. “Someone complained,” she declared, “we have to follow up.” “Like hell you do,” I told her, “not when you don’t have reasonable suspicion to think I did anything wrong.”
To my astonishment, while we were talking, another officer pulled up in response to the 911 call, this one a tall, older, thick-chested fellow with graying hair who felt the need to demonstrate his dominance. I replied to his “I’m in charge here” bluster by again asking, “Am I free to go?” “No you are not,” he insisted, “not until I’m finished,” and continued his pointless monologue.
Meanwhile, a THIRD police car pulled up to the scene. By then I was getting mad. Austin police had already disrupted my day significantly because they’re supposedly out hunting armed killers, but they’ve got enough extra cops lollygagging around to send THREE squad cars to investigate me for Babysitting While White?
Toni_M added this little tidbit that missed. Apparently this was the second time this has happened to this man. The first incident occurred in 2008, this one was more recent:
That night, Henson opted to walk home from the rink instead of having his wife come pick up him and Ty.
“This was a terrible mistake on Grandpa’s part,” he said.
According to the blog post, which was published Saturday, Henson was stopped by a deputy constable, who told him that there were reports of a white man kidnapping a black girl. He was ordered to step away from Ty, and the officer began to question the girl.
“He’s my Grandpa!” Ty said, according to the blog post.
Satisfied, the officer released Henson and Ty, who continued to walk home until they were stopped again — this time, by five flashing police cars and a crowd of police.”
“The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child,” Henson said. “I complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly.”
“Meanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying.”
Henson said he provided officers with phone numbers they needed to verify that Ty was his granddaughter, “but for quite a while nobody seemed too interested in verifying my ‘story.'”
From the local news:
â€œThe officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child,â€ Henson said. â€œI complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly.â€
â€œMeanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying.â€
GRRRRRR! As we move to a more multicultural and multiracial society, more of this stuff is bound to happen, but that doesn’t mean family members are to be subject to Gestapo-type interrogations for being out in public with their loved ones. Shame on the Austin, Texas Police Department. WHAT THE CUSS IS WRONG WITH YOU?!