In the wake of the recent Department of Justice report which said the Baltimore Police Department routinely violated the constitutional rights of African Americans in parts of the city, the AFRO asked residents of Baltimore and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area to share their experiences, both good and bad, with the police.
Kehinde Badmus, a D.C. resident, says he and his brother were threatened by the police after being pulled over.
Kehinde Badmus, 26, works for DC Water in the Nation’s Capital. Badmus has had his encounters with police “shape” his perspective on being Black.
“My brother and I drive pretty flashy cars, and we were with friends in Greenbelt, Md. when we were pulled over for nothing. The officers wouldn’t tell us their names, one saying my name is Officer Happy and the other threatening to kick my brother in the face. They sat us on the curb in the cold for nothing while a search produced nothing and they arrested my brother for saying he felt uncomfortable. Even though I co-signed on my brother’s car, they wouldn’t let me drive it home and we were stranded.”
Victor Ehienulo is an Information Technology specialist and graduate from Howard University. A rough upbringing in Landover, Md. combined with constant harassment from police motivated him to escape his surroundings.
“My history of police brutality has scarred me for life,” said Ehienulo. “It was one time when a police officer pulled me to the side in my neighborhood and punched me in the face, like ‘What are you doing around here?’ Just for being in my neighborhood, like I can’t help where I live”
Thornal Coachman is a lifelong Washington D.C. resident and graduate of the University of the District of Columbia. A tutor by trade, his accomplishments couldn’t prevent him from a friction-filled encounter with law enforcement.
“I was racially profiled by Temple Hills PD after an officer pulled me over and said my registration wasn’t in their system,” said Coachman. “The officer pulled me out the car and sat me on the curb for 20 minutes searching my vehicle before saying it was an accident because her scanner was broke and to just have a nice evening.”
Dominic Rowe is a Washington D.C. resident and student who has used his time at Morgan State University as an opportunity to immerse himself in the fight for bettering Baltimore. Rowe’s upbringing in the Trinidad area of D.C. and time in Baltimore has afforded him the perspective of possible solutions for the nations problems with police. But Rowe’s time in these urban areas have also unfortunately granted him his own stories involving the police.
“It was a wrong place wrong time situation, but minding my business nearly cost me my freedom as I had to run from jump-outs just for being Black in my neighborhood,” said Rowe.
Donika Gibson, a graduate of Morgan State University and current resident of Baltimore, is one of many peeved by the constant evasion of justice by cops who have managed to avoid facing repercussions for their actions. Lucky for her, her encounters with police have been marginal.
“I have only been pulled over once by police for not having my lights on at night, but that turned into them telling me that they thought my boyfriend resembled a robbery suspect just to hassle us,” she said.
Donald Logan, a lifelong Baltimore resident has been “lucky” not to experience the rigors of police brutality comparable to some of his friends.
“It was raining late at night on Route 295, and two White male officers pulled over and helped me change my tire,” said Logan. “The officer said you just look like you didn’t know what you were doing, we shared a good laugh at that