Making Sense Of My Interactions With Police

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A federal judge ruled this week that the policing tool, “Stop and Frisk,” that allows police officers to stop and search anyone that appears suspicious, violates the constitutional rights of minorities in New York City, according to the New York Times.

Youth Radio’s Joshua Clayton grew up in West Oakland, and never experienced “Stop and Frisk.” But that doesn’t mean he felt respected by the police.


Police treat my neighborhood in West Oakland like they’re on a playground, toying with young men like kids.

I remember a time when my friend and I were minding our own business, just talking and chilling in front of my house. Two cops pulled up and started asking us why we were standing outside, if we were on probation, or if we had tattoos. Imagine going outside to read a book on your porch, and two cops pull up to question you. That’s what happened to us.

I feel like police run around harassing people as if they are better than us. But they don’t realize they’re making it worse for themselves as well.

My friends and I don’t trust the police. Police are supposed to be the protectors. When most people hear police, they think help. But when I hear police, I hear problem. Police do a lot for the city, risking their lives for us, stopping the real criminals, making the streets safe. But my encounters with cops make it hard to see the good in them.

How can you trust somebody who toys with your freedom?


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