A man’s Facebook post about a recent traffic stop is going viral since it touches on a very controversial topic, particularly in the United States.
Steven Hildreth Jr. was recently pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a broken headlight. The officers routinely asked if he had any weapons, in which he explained he is a concealed carry permit holder and had a gun on his right hip, which he was lawfully allowed to have.
Because his wallet, which carried his ID, was in his back pocket, the officer needed to disarm him to check it.
Hildreth wrote about his experience with the officer and decided to post it to his Facebook page.
Hildreth’s Facebook post has since been shared more than 398,000 times.
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me.
I’m already preparing for the stop. The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.
“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”
The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.
Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.
Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”
I smile. “Thank you, sir.”
I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.
Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.
Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.
I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.
We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.
Although he makes an excellent point, we do need to remind ourselves that he was lucky enough not to encounter irrational police officers, of which there seems to be no shortage. And until the good cops actually stand up to the bad cops, the contempt they are met with is perfectly understandable.
To add credence to his point though, that this is not solely about racism, recently a deaf white father of a 4 year old was murdered for simply trying to use sign language to communicate with police officers. That is not okay and people need to stop making excuses trying to lay the blame on the victims after things like this happen.
This is not about picking sides, it's about standing up for what is right. There needs to be equal treatment. When a crime is committed, it needs to be prosecuted evenly and cops do not deserve to be treated with disrespect just because they are cops. Most of them are trying to make the world a better place.
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