With so much in the media about the deaths of black men at the hands of police, I was compelled to share my thoughts.
Loading his hunting rifle Don Patrick, a wealthy fifty-five-year-old white man, prepares to assist the local Sheriff’s Office in the day’s pursuit of dangerous fugitives. He’d been training for this very day for two years, and finally he was to be allowed to come along during an actual pursuit.
Deputy Robert Markham, the fifty-one-year-old with the duty of supervising volunteers like Don calls, “Hey Don, how’s it going?”
“Just fine Bobby, getting ready for this morning’s hunt. Gon’ catch us some criminals today. Wooo!” he says with excitement.
“Well now hold on Don. I told you before you can’t go throwing that ‘hunting’ word around like that. We’re out to arrest fugitives, not to harm them.”
“You telling me we don’t get to get to hang ’em up on our walls like deer?”
“Very funny Mr. Patrick. No, seriously, I called to tell you your sensitivity tests have not turned up yet. Maybe you should wait a few weeks, take the tests and then join us.”
“Aww hell Bob, sensitivity?! I’m sensitive enough. I have great compassion for the honest, hardworking citizens who’ve been victimized by thugs.”
“That’s not enough —” Don cuts Robert off mid-sentence.
“Put the Sheriff on the phone!” Don yells angrily
“Mr. Patrick that won’t be necess—” cutting him off again.
“Dammnit! I donated $60,000 to this County this year alone. Now you get the Sheriff on the phone. Now!” Intimidated, Deputy Markham complies with Don’s orders and calls Sheriff Randle Hirsch into the office, “Sir, Mr. Patrick wants to speak with you.” The Sheriff grabs the phone, “Don, how’s it going? You ain’t chickenin’ out are ya?”
“Hell no, that idiot you got working for you is giving me mud about some sensitivity test.”
“Who Robert here?”
“Yeah, that idiot!” Covering the receiver with his hand Sheriff Hirsch asks Rob, “You told Don he couldn’t join us today?”
“Yes sir. The new law says that everyone, including volunteers, has to be given humanity and sensitivity training and tests before entering the field. Mr. Patrick’s files show he hasn’t taken the tests or completed training.”
“You talkin’ ’bout those classes teachin’ bout how to treat coloreds and what not?” Bob turns red at his superior’s use of the term “coloreds’ and responds, “Sir, these are required by law and it’s believed they may warn of someone who could cause unnecessary harm due to insensitivity.”
“Aww hell Rob, lighten up, will you?” Thinking the situation is over, “How’s this?” the Sheriff tells Rob, “Don, you have any problems with Blacks or Latinos?” “Of course not. I play golf with many Blacks and my entire employee-list is filled with Blacks and Latinos.” “Good enough, you satisfied Rob?” Outranked, Rob complies, “I guess so sir.”
Not two days later: “Don Patrick a volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office has been charged in the shooting of Dujuan Brown during an arrest this weekend. Reports ay that Mr. Patrick allegedly shot Mr. Brown while reaching for his handcuffs, pulling his gun and shooting Brown instead. Witnesses report hearing Mr. Patrick call the chase a ‘hunt’. He allegedly yelled ‘hunt ’em like a dog’ as deputies gave chase to Mr. Brown. This is Casey Stark with breaking news on A.L..E.R.T.”