“He Fits the Description”
Friday night my grandson and his friend were at home for the evening and decided they wanted to make banana smoothies. I will admit I’m was a bit surprised by this because I have never experienced teenagers who think making smoothies is a good idea, but that’s my grandson for you. They were out of bananas so they decided to walk to the local convenience store a few blocks away to get some. A little later when they were ready to make them, he evidently looked into the living room and saw my grandbaby asleep in my daughter’s arms. My daughter heard him say something along the lines of “darn it, she’s sleeping” to his friend but heard nothing more. It turns out he and his friend took the blender to the garage to make the smoothies out there so they wouldn’t wake her up. Sweet, right?
They got them all blended together, took the pitcher on top of the blender off, and headed out of the garage. As they stepped out the side door the motion light came on the way it always does. Before they could take more than a couple of steps, there were two police officers in front of them.
The conversation/interrogation went something close to this:
“Do you live here and where have you been?”
“Yes I live here and we’ve been here”
“What are you doing out here”
“Making smoothies out here because my baby sister is sleeping.” Holding pitcher.
“What’s your address?”
He gives his address and then asks “Why?”
“We had a report of two kids messing with cars and you fit the description.”
The officer at some point takes a handful of his friend’s pants and says, “See, light pants”
It was at about this point he (not the officer) said we need to go inside and talk to my parents. He walks in and says, “Mom, they think we were breaking into cars”. My daughter gets up from the couch holding her sleeping baby. Of course she asks what is going on? She was told the teens matched the description of two kids messing with cars in the area.
The next part went along these lines:
“Where has your son been tonight?”
“They have both been here.”
“Well, they did go to the store to get bananas for smoothies. But they have been here otherwise. They haven’t done anything. What is this description?”
“2 guys. White shoes. One wearing all black. One with light pants and a dark top.”
“As you can see neither is wearing all black and they both have light pants.”
“Where are your shoes?” They had taken them off when they came in from outside, like they always do”
“Over there” Pointing.
“Which ones?” There were 3 pairs.
“The black ones” There were one pair of white ones, his dad’s.
Next thing they know two more officers walk in the back door. Didn’t knock, just walked in. Now we have 4 officers in a home over “2 kids messing with cars”, not stealing cars, messing with cars.
The officer now asks dispatch for a description again via radio on his shoulder.
“White shoes, one in all black, one in light pants” and he points to the light pants.
He asks dispatch “was one reported as tall, like 6’2”
The officer then takes down both of their names and birthdates and then they leave. No apology. No admission that in fact the only part of the description they matched was 2 kids. Two kids at home on a Friday night making smoothies.
I will add here that my grandson has a full head of dreadlocks, if someone saw the kids well enough to know the color of their shoes and what clothes they were wearing I can’t imagine they would leave out that detail. We have no idea why they thought they needed names and birthdates since the teens had been home all night and did not match any description at all.
I’m a grandma bear who is very angry. I thought about what I could do besides ranting to my friends, something potentially productive. I have called and left a message for the chief of police. I asked for a return call to set up a meeting to discuss an incident over the weekend that I am very concerned about. I will call every day until I get to meet with him.
I want to ask him if it is protocol to ask teenagers in their own yard where they have been before getting a parent from inside the house? Why they didn’t take the parents names instead of the kids. I want to know why, if they are as interested in building better relationships with the black community as they have said they are, the approach wasn’t more along the lines of – “Hi guys. Hey, have you seen anybody doing anything suspicious in the area tonight? Is your mom or dad home? I’d like to talk with them if they are.”
At this meeting I will ground myself in all the skills I know. I’m thinking the Priestess Art of Air will most definitely be needed. The sacred rite of communication, of speaking and listening. To communicate directly, honestly and effectively and to listen to what is being said, not simply react. I’m going to need all of that and more because my grandson did not fit the description and there is no excuse for the officer’s behavior.
This post was written by Elizabeth Wilson