This dad is at a loss on how to help his son overcome the trauma he’d experienced when cops pulled them over. What should he do to help him move past this?
Father and Son Bonding Time
OP (Original Poster) and his son were out of town the night before this story was posted, and they stayed up late playing games.
At around 11 in the evening, OP’s 11-year-old son realized he left his toothbrush at home. So, they drove around town to find an open store to buy a toothbrush.
Getting Pulled Over
OP suddenly got pulled over because one of his taillights was burnt out. He gave the cop everything he needed—registration, license, and more.
The cop returned to his car, and when he came back, he asked OP if he had any drugs or weapons on him. He said no, but the cop didn’t seem to believe him, as he kept shining his light in the backseat—on his son!
OP was asked what they were doing out so late at night in another state. He felt like he was asked this same question 10 times already, but he still answered and repeatedly told the police officer that they were looking for a gas station or store to buy a toothbrush.
Step Out of the Car!
Suddenly, the cop ordered OP to get out of the car so he could search it. OP said, “As a Black guy, I know better than to question a cop’s authority, so I stepped out.”
Then, the police officer asked OP’s son to get into his cruiser.
Chaos All Around
OP’s son started crying because he was scared. Then, the cop suddenly started cuffing OP and called for backup.
He snapped and asked, “What the f*** did I do? Why am I being arrested?” The cop said he was not arresting him; he was just “making sure” that he didn’t run while his car was being searched, but OP thought, “As if I would run when my f****** kid is in his car.”
Another cop soon arrived at the scene, and OP was “forcibly held” against the back of his car while the other police officer searched it.
He shared, “There’s nothing for them to find, so as soon as he’s done, I tell him to let my son out, and when they got him, he was absolutely sobbing.”
When everything was over, OP’s son broke down. He told his dad that he thought they were going to kill him right in front of him.
Questions in His Head
OP was furious, upset, and confused.
He said, “I didn’t sleep all night, and I don’t know how to explain to him that this s*** just happens. And that you can’t disagree with them because it’s too dangerous. How do I comfort him?”
A Reality Millions of People Face
In an edit, OP addressed people who accused him of leaving “important” parts of the story for the situation to have escalated so quickly.
He wrote, “I envy you for thinking a cop needs a good reason to act this way around a person of color. This is the reality for millions of people.”
OP also explained that this was not the first time something like this happened to him. However, it was the first time it happened while he was with his son, which is what made everything “so horrifying” for him.
The Community’s Reactions
Redditors are apologetic and sympathetic; they are sorry that this happened to OP, especially when his young son was present.
A top comment was, “I don’t have any answers, but I am really sorry this happened to you and your son.” Another replied, “That’s unacceptable. I’m so sorry, OP.”
Act On It
Some users gave OP notes and suggestions on what he could do to try to correct the system.
“I’d be filing a complaint against those cops and the department. Also, they conducted an unlawful search. I’d be raising hell,” advised one Redditor. Another user said, “Go to your local news and see if they think they can get body cam footage and make a story out of it. That will make a complaint get taken more seriously also.”
Bringing Wrong to Light
One user agreed with the Redditors telling OP to file a case and share it with local news companies.
He said, “This would also help the child immensely to see there are ways to bring the wrong to light and have their voice heard; take back your power. For the community to validate that the cops’ behavior was horribly and completely wrong and there is no justification for it would help him find a way to heal a bit. There’s no way to erase the traumatic experience, but many of the greatest leaders we’ve had found their direction in the worst event they’ve ever faced.”
They Were Racist!
Community members were also appalled at the blatant racism the cops displayed.
One said, “They were afraid he would run because he is Black. Because, ‘apparently,’ a Black man will run from the cops and abandon his child. Again, this is in the mind of the cops, not mine. This seems straight up and down racial profiling from the traffic stop right to the handcuffs.” Another wrote, “I would think they would be happy if he ran cause then they have a reason to shoot him. At least, that is what they usually say is the ‘reasonable’ procedure when an unarmed person of color is running away from them.”
What advice would you give OP? What should he do to help his son overcome this trauma?
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This post first appeared as Racist Cops Pulled Him Over, Handcuffed Him, and Searched His Car for Drugs, in Front of His 11-Year-Old Son. Now He’s Traumatized, Thinking They’d Kill His Dad! What Should He Do? on Quote Ambition.