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READING LEVEL 5
I first ended up on paperwork (aka getting tangled up in the criminal justice system) when I was 25. I lost my rights when some friends gave me a ride to the doctor because I have Sickle-Cell Anemia, and I was sick. I guess those friends were up to no good because we got pulled over and suddenly I was in cuffs, going to jail for burglary.
I got bailed out and was fighting the case from the outside. I thought the way the police were treating me was racist because they just assumed that I was part of the burglary. They tried to place me at the scene of the crime based on a picture that wasn’t even me; it was a picture of a black man in a hoodie and jeans. Apparently, that was enough for them to say it was me. I fought to get acquitted for a whole year before I got tired of fighting and took a deal. The deal was court probation with a four-way search clause for 3 years. A four-way search clause is when an officer can search you, your car, your house, and the people with you.
One day, my friend and I were on our way to get something to eat when the police pulled me over. I asked, “Why are you pulling me over?” He told me I was speeding. He asked for my license, registration, and insurance. Then he wanted my friend’s ID as well. My friend had a warrant for his arrest, so they pulled us out of the car. They told me, “Your friend is going to jail for the warrant, and we have to search you, your car, and your home because you have a four-way search clause.”
They were assuming I was a drug dealer or a gangster. Five cops and a police dog went to my house. I told them my nine-year-old daughter was in the house and please don’t scare her, but they did not care. They came to the door with their guns out and they had the gun on my daughter. It was embarrassing for me. I didn’t want my kid to see this, but that’s life. I tried to walk up the stairs, and they grabbed me and I stumbled. They were using unnecessary force and treating me like I was less of a human even though I was cooperating.
Why was I pulled over? Is it because I am black? Statistics show that there is racial profiling going on in Oakland. As reported by the East Bay Express, 59% of people stopped by the Oakland Police Department were black and yet we are only 28% of Oakland’s population. An even higher percentage of people on probation or parole who were stopped were black. I think the reason I was pulled over was because I’m black. I thought to myself, “I was supposedly pulled over for speeding, but they didn’t even give me a ticket.”
Glenn Fuller is a student at Next Step Learning Center. He is a father of two beautiful little girls. He has lived in Oakland his whole life. His goals are to be a man of value and values.