A month ago, my daughter asked, “Are we supposed to be afraid of the police?”

My immediate response was, “No sweetheart, and why would you ask me that question?”

I was unprepared for her answer.

My daughter noted that my 9-year-old son (her twin brother) played in their grandparent’s yard and saw a police car.

He was so frightened that he went to hide until the police vehicle drove by. As an African-American father, my emotions were paradoxical. I struggled to internalize my son’s fear of police at such a young age, albeit I know his pensiveness is palpable.

Paradoxically, when I was a child, I admired police and would become elated upon their visit to my elementary school. Furthermore, as a public servant, I’ve established a diverse set of friends currently serving in law enforcement. Proudly, my grandfather retired as a federal agent after 43 years of service. Because of these men and women, I have a profound reverence for their sacrifice and service to our country and communities.

However, despite my friendship and family ties, I’ve had several unfortunate experiences with the police. My most memorable occurred when I came home for a holiday break during my first semester in college. My flight landed a couple of hours prior; several friends and I were hanging out in front of our childhood homes when multiple police cars pulled up. When we asked why we were being approached, officers responded, “an anonymous tip.”

Subsequently, I was placed in handcuffs under the guise of, “You fit the description of someone who ran from us last week.” My response, “That’s impossible, I’m in college out of state and just came home for semester break today.” Astonishingly, officers then responded, “Shut up, stop talking, you’re not the college type.” To date, one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

Similarly, though that incident is poignant, I’ve had multiple encounters with law enforcement, including being held at gunpoint at 16 years old, in addition to spurious traffic stops asking, “Why are you in this neighborhood?”

Nonetheless, I consider myself fortunate as, sadly, the families of individuals such as Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Botham Jean and Tamir Rice had to endure police killings’ visceral nightmares. And of all the names mentioned, none were criminals; they were law-abiding citizens pursuing the American dream only for their lives to be unjustly taken.

If equitable policies were employed, their lives could’ve been spared. Although no solution is perfect, defunding the police or reducing government budgets isn’t the answer. Notwithstanding, applying safe methodologies in law enforcement engagement can begin with having compassion.

Additionally, reallocating appropriations to cultural competency training within police departments will alleviate police distrust in communities of color. As an African-American father, I don’t want my son to fear the police, or I worry about his safety. To this end, we must cultivate a more racially tolerant society where 9-year-old Black boys won’t fear those entrusted to protect and serve them.

Keith Henry is a candidate for District 1 on the Texas City Commission.

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(21) comments

Carlos Ponce

Where does a 9-year old child learn to fear the police? In some families it comes from their parents. In other cases it comes from media like television. Sometimes it comes from friends.

Keith Henry, you didn't grow up fearing police. The problem lies not with police but how your child is being taught to fear and from what source..

Set the example by showing your children respect for police, not fear.

Keith Henry

With all due respect, you have no idea what I teach my children. Again, I respectfully ask that you do not comment on my child. I would never make any vitriolic statement on any member of your family. Please show some dignity. I'm certain you are a better human being than what your comment suggest,

Carlos Ponce

"With all due respect, you have no idea what I teach my children." No I don't. That's why I made generalizations about how children IN GENERAL are taught to fear police. I taught for over 32 years, all races, most religions, ethnic backgrounds so I have some insight.

"Again, I respectfully ask that you do not comment on my child." Then next time you write a column, don't mention your children as the premise for that column.

"Please show some dignity." I am. I am responding to what you wrote.

"I'm certain you are a better human being than what your comment suggest," My comment is based on what you wrote.

Keith Henry

Mr. Ponce, thank you for attempting to be a morally upstanding citizen. I wish you a wonderful day.

Charles Douglas

Mr. Henry! You look like a smart man! As such we need people like you to step up and lead! If you don't Many African-Americans, for generations after you will still be on the Prgressive Plantations of this country with their minds enslaved, thinking that somebody owes them for what happen to their ancestors 400 years ago! God has already assured our success by what he " hath" already done in Jesus Christ! ( 2 Peter 1:3 )( Ephesians 1:3 ).Preparation, then Word assimilation, plus Opportunity equals success! The problem is our kids are not being properly prepared in the home, nor in the schools! They are being INDOCTINATED more than they are being EDUCATED today in our schools, and many of their school are third rate to start with! Go sit in your son's classroom, or better still stand outside the door one day on a surprised visit, and you will see! This is why we have many young people upset about SLAVES NOW!

SLAVES are dead waiting on God's Judgement, as are the SLAVE OWNERS! It is nothing nobody living can add to, nor take away from, those who lived back then! However, the LEFT has a vested interest in keeping the Slave issue, and Confederate Statues in the face of African-Americans. If you dwell on those things, they can better INDOCTRINATE your kids instead of EDUCATING them! They call that MENTLE SLAVERY, it leads to votes, and political support to the LEFT! Just as chains and SHACKLES 400 years ago, led to free LABOR supplied by those SLAVES! All recompense should be left to the Providence of an Almighty God, because it was he who said, " VENGEANCE IS MINE ...I shall recompense!" Young leader like yourself should be fightimg for school vouchers, school choice, and more magnate schools. A good education is the key which will unlock a thousand doors! No education will get you on government subsidies!

David Hardee

Every child should have a HEALTHY fear of police. That is what is known as respect. If children respect their parents, they will have that essential respect (healthy fear) of all they meet in the future. It is the missing parents' and children's healthy relationship at the root of all our societal problems. Until the family relationship is restored there will be no tranquility in our society.

What corrupted the traditional family is well known but cannot be admitted because that admission would gut and destroy the progressive liberals. It is in the Big Tent of the Progressive Liberal Democratic Party you will find the village (government) that is raising all those children that are born out of wedlock (marriage) abandoned to a single parent life and pushed out into society without a healthy respect for anything. Those are the children that have become the adults that corrupt where ever they reside (police, politicians, etc,) and start the process again by producing more children without a healthy family relationship that teaches a healthy fear (respect).

In the BIG TENT is where all the social reprobates find refuge as mattering. They are enabled to continue with their anti-social behaviors. That enabling is disguised as caring and charitable but is the false shepherd keeping power by keeping the flock under dependence and control.

Where did marriage get attacked with making it a homosexual entitlement – the answer is – the progressive liberal Big Tent. Where is the problem about which restroom a confused gender person can use – the answer is – the progressive liberal Big Tent. In the Big Tent needles for addicts, abortion on demand, open borders for illegal/criminals to enter, disrespect the Anthem, flag, Christ, etc.. Where are these banners, mantras, and demonstrations organized and acceptable while looting and burning cities. -the answer is again - in the Big Tent. That Big Tent where everything matters so the result is nothing really matters.

Additionally, the traditional conservatives deserve their blame (butts kicked) for their apathy and reluctance to compete with the progressive liberals.

The source, of our continuation of social pollution, primarily is in the politicians and the media. Since the defeat of Clinton, we have experienced a bombardment of vitriol spewing from the politicians and the media into the public. That constant irritation is sickening but it is the necessary festering of the infection as it is being attacked and healing.

During the Trump presidency, the swamp creatures are being forced to expose themselves. Now, citizens of goodwill have an opportunity to make a choice. Either continue with the process of forcing the creatures out by draining the swamp by accepting our unconventional president with personality foibles or give Biden (a 47-year swamp resident) as the next Swamp leader president.

Get wise to the Judas goat leaders that are using enabling as the method to hold power.

Vote wisely, MAGA.

David Smith

Teach your kids the meaning of the word

COMPLY

Ted Gillis

Well I guess you all showed him. He’ll think twice about expressing his opinion from now on.

Comply!

Bailey Jones

The fact that kids are afraid of the police says it all. Kids aren't afraid of fire fighters, or of soldiers. If you needed proof of the pervasive policing issues we have in this country, this is it.

The comments so far seem to indicate that the problem isn't the police, but the policed. I disagree with that assessment. The police work for "we, the people". I wouldn't have an employee that my child was afraid of.

Carlos Ponce

You must be taught to fear and hate. Not a sign of "pervasive policing" but of indoctrination.

Don Schlessinger

[thumbdown]

Keith Henry

To all the individuals asking my son to comply. Please note, my son is only nine years old and only saw a police car drive by. He was not under any suspicion. I respectfully ask that you read the article in it's entirety and please refrain from speaking about my son. There is a certain level of decorum we all could display. Again, make comments about me not my child. Thank You

Ted Gillis

Keith, don’t let these blows hards bully you.

They seem to think that their opinion is the only opinion that matters, and that anytime one of us speak up, they need to shout at us.

They think that since can type out lengthy diatribes it will impresses us. But after you read one, you realize that it’s the same old hateful, racist, religious, and homophobic excuses that they typed before, but with new sentences.

Carlos Ponce

Yes, don't let those blow hards like Ted bully you.

Jim Forsythe

It's amazing, in a story about respect, Carlos disrespects a request to not talk about a 9 year old!

Carlos Ponce

No disrespect was shown, Jim. As usual you interject your own prejudices into the written word.

Jim Forsythe

It's amazing!

David Hardee

Those you called "blowhards" are traditionalist and their bulling is the century-old message that made America great. the traditionalist is not spouting opinions but tried and true methods to live a peaceful prosperous life.

You used the favorite word of the "progressive liberals - MATTER. To your ilk, everything matters and you can't figure out what really does matter for the best of humanity.

Keith stated his opinion and showed he is a concerned citizen. His proclaiming fear for his children indicates that he is a parent that imparts to them the proper message that will serve them well.

As to NEW SENTENCES, the progressive liberals create them out of their imaginations. the "systemic white superiority, white skin currency, reimagining policing, a village raises the child, kill the police are just a few of the moronic new progressive liberal creations.

We are not seeing traditionalist demonstrating, carrying banners with denigrating saying, looting, and burning, causing the destruction of innocent business owners and the death of innocent people.

The Progressive liberal leaders are using you to maintain their power. What has progressive liberalism delivered that bettered your life and you enjoy? Make a list and you will be astonded.

Gary Scoggin

These comments make me worry for my country.

Charles Douglas

We Conservatives are sorry about that "OG"... but we did not fight for A Democratic Society, with a working Constitution, all these years to see BLM, ANTIFA, and Progressives to hand it over to NATO, CHINA, and the rest of those Vulture Nations sitting on a fence waiting on AOC, PELOSI, SCHUMER, BIDEN, OBAMA, KAMALA, & ILHAN OMAR to sell us out! It is not going to happen! Talking about the GREEN DEAL, no thank you, ...Go ask California's citizens about those ROLLING BLACK-OUTS they are dealing with! Word on the streets is Trump DIESEL could get another " NOBEL!"[beam][angry]

Gary Scoggin

You left out Carter and the Panama Canal. And the Philippines. Why did we ever let that go? And Hong Kong. Oh, wait, that was the Brits.

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