By now most of us have heard of the tragic story of Trayvon Martin, the young man killed in Florida by the community HOA head George Zimmerman. Only Trayvon and George really know what actually happened that day and unfortunately Trayvon is not here to tell his side of the story. However, I believe if we look at this incident a bit more closely, we’ll clearly see that what happened that day could happen to any of one of us.
The day after Christmas five years ago, I woke and walked outside to warm the car for the trip back home. As I approached my car I noticed my back window completely down. As I got closer I noticed that the window wasn’t down, it was broken. My heart sank into my stomach. Someone had broken into my car and completely cleaned it out. I began trying to recall all that I’d packed the car with the night before. radio, the gifts, laptops, cameras, it was all gone, but more importantly they took away my sense of security. Immediately, my mind created an image of the culprits as I tried to ‘telepathically’ track them down. One of them had cut himself while climbing through the broken window, so blood dripped throughout the beige interior. Once the police arrived on the scene they were of absolutely no help. I pointed out a huge complete hand print on the driver’s side window where the perp held on for leverage to pry open the back one. “Well we don’t fingerprint for crimes like this it costs us too much, ya know?” He says while chuckling. He then advised that I do my own investigation and let them know if I come up with anything…………. really?
So, maybe two weeks later I get a call from a friend in the same neighborhood saying that they found the people responsible for the break-in. I was so relieved…until I called the police department. These clowns said to me, “Well, we did find the guys and they had a lot of merchandise when we arrested them.” Again I was relieved. “When can I come pick up my things?” I asked excitedly. “Oh, we left everything at the house, we only had a warrant for their arrest”……………..(SMH)
“Ok, so how do I go about getting my things back?” I asked. “Well, he says, let me see…he pauses to check his computer, yes, it looks like we’ve already released them so here’s their home number and their address. Go there and tell them that you know that they have your stuff and if they don’t give it back that you’re going to call the police…………………………..I swear to you that’s what they said.
After doing a little research myself I did eventually find out what the perps looked like. I immediately remembered the image that I’d created in my mind of the perpetrators and it matched.
Why? Why did the image of what I thought the perp would look like actually match what he looked like? From that day any black man with dreads and sagging pants walking near my car was a potential criminal. I began to racially profile and even carry my piece with me. I was hoping to catch someone else breaking into my car so I could unload my fury on them and to make matters worse, I’m black. If you’ve ever been robbed of anything, you know the feeling that I speak of. The feeling of being invaded or violated can never be unfelt or gotten over. It rests dormant, patiently waiting to be vindicated by anyone who dares to pass in front of its crosshairs.
One report spoke on how there were a number breakins in the community where Trayvon was killed and Mr. Zimmerman was supposedly tired of no one being held responsible for them. Now I’m not sure if Mr. Zimmerman was a victim in those robberies or not, but if he were, I’m pretty sure that his emotions were at the helm during the time this occurred.
I wrote about my story to show how easy it is to allow things that have happened to us in the past to affect our present and ultimately our future. As I said in the beginning there are always two sides to any story and this was only one side. In part two I will discuss how it feels to be racially profiled and acted upon forcefully as a result of it.