“No, sir. I did stop. I could not get over there was a car there.”
“YES, sir, I saw you that is the reason why I stopped when I did. No, I would not hit you or anyone that was not my intention. I couldn’t get over there was cars in the line and I’ll I could do was stop and pray that I didn’t get hit from behind stopping on a busy interstate at 10:48 pm. But sir, if I would’ve tried to get ov-.”
I was cut off by more yelling and harsh words. My heart slowed and fear crawl up me back and rested in my chest. My phone’s battery was low 1% but I dialed my kids father, he was right behind until another truck resembling his sped past me. I was alone and unprotected with no witnesses.
“I’m so sorry sir. I honestly did the safest thing I could do at the time.”
I wanted to get angry. I felt my blood begin to boiled I wanted to curse and scream. How dare he? I did what I could I stopped I slammed on breaks because there was a car next me and my kid was in the back seat and I needed to make it home to my other two kids. Jumping over into traffic I could’ve caused a pile up resulting in disastrous outcome.
I didn’t feel safe, I was scared and shaking. I felt my heart beating in my throat that was stuck under the lump fighting back tears that I refused to release.
I wanted refuge. I wanted to call the police, I pay taxes so that they can ‘serve and protect’ me, but he was CPD, Chattanooga Police Department’s finest. He was who I felt the need to be protected from. A black face. His last words of apathetic dismal “Get over whenever you can do so safely.”
What if I appeared aggressive? Or what if I rolled my neck like I tend to do when upset while he was being hostile? I could’ve been the next name on the long ever growing list of black lives snatched away. I begged for my life because at this moment flashes of countless black faces flashed behind my eyes Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sean Bell, Philando Castile and many others, and I never want to add my name to such a list as this. Had he been the least bit intimidated by my demeanor who would my story end? Would it cause a divide? Would the world take notice?
In the beginning he yelled and behaved like a sleepy toddler, and in a flash it was over. I still wasn’t sure if I could sigh of relief or cry out from fear, so I just drove home shaking. Praying. Grateful. But alive.
I even saw a news headline:
Black female killed after celebrating daughter’s high school graduation.
Her crime not getting over and made an officer angry because he made assumptions, but he had no lights no warning that he was standing outside his car protecting and serving a flooded highway. The witness described as a young black female child in the back seat.
My six year old child that just asked me minutes before “Mommy, why didn’t you let them go hangout downtown?” I answered her “it’s not safe, they are all young black adult-ish kids in unwanted territory. They could be killed.”
She stated “They can just call the police,” and my reply was “The police could be the ones to hurt them. They’ll be fine at my house.”
I couldn’t believe the words I just spoken her and the warning I had given to my kid and her friends might very well be how my story ended.
I did nothing wrong but I stopped at least 60 feet away from here turned my signal on to merge over because he was standing away from his patrol car guarding a flood. In this equation the flood mattered more. I had done nothing wrong, I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t speeding, I was swerving, I was following a safe distance I didn’t even curse the truck that sped pass me.
I apologized and begged for him to spare my life again because let’s be honest I know my place. I will admit he never even mentioned that I was not wearing my seat belt, my stomach is still sore from surgery less than a month old and I was in my daughter’s graduation car without my pillow that I use to keep the belts pressure off my incisions for that I would’ve accepted my punishment.
My phone that held 1% stayed on long enough for my better half to ask “What happened?” I had no idea he even answered the phone. I never ever would have thought I would end a day meant for celebration in such a frighten way. I pray that my kids never experience this. I am a law abiding citizen. I don’t make it a habit to give a reason to be out in a situation like this to have to plead for my next breath and no he never drew his gun or reached for it. My hands never left the steering wheel maybe he needed someone to yell at that night. I rather be yelled at than killed. I can not thank God enough that I am alive to tell this story and reassure my child if you’re right there’s no need to sink to their level.
My black life matters.