While this incident occurred a couple of months ago, on December 29, 2015, the story itself is now going viral. In Tucson, Arizona, Steven Hildreth, who is a black male, said that he was pulled over by two white police officers for a broken headlight when the unthinkable occurred. Between the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray incidents of racial tension fuming across the nation, is why most would agree that the actions by these officers was unthinkable even though, their actions should be viewed as the norm of society that we now take for granted. Reportedly, Hildreth was wearing a hoody and a visible handgun on his hip which in anyone’s mind could stir up all kinds of trouble these days, especially where race can be a determining factor.
When he was pulled over, the lead officer standing at the driver’s window, asked Hildreth if he had any weapons in the vehicle. At which point, Hildreth stated that he had a concealed firearm permit and that his weapon was clipped to his right hip which just happened to be over the back pocket with his wallet. Apparently, the officers were unable to disarm Hildreth from their vantage point and asked him to slowly disarm the handgun and hand it to the police, which he did.
The sad part is that due to all of the recent racial tension between the police and the communities, there are now Android and I Phone applications for minorities teaching them how they should act when pulled over by police officers that are a different race than their own.
“So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop. The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.” The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m [wearing] a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m [wearing] on it.
He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard. Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them. Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”I smile. “Thank you, sir.”
I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be a live right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk. Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you. Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you. I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact. We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.”
— Steven Hildreth