Our Delaware student-athletes and the adults traveling with them did not deserve the treatment they received by Georgia police officers. I commend each one of them for their fortitude in the face of a scary situation. And now, we must wait for “the rest of the story.”
Namely, what is the law in Georgia regarding searching people’s personal belongings, without probable cause, during a traffic stop for a minor issue?
I can well imagine how it did not feel safe for the driver, the coaches or the 25 Delaware State University students on the bus to ask the obvious question: “What gives you the right to search our belongings?”
Possibly, they were remembering Ms. Sandra Bland, who one moment was alive and well during a trumped-up Texas traffic stop and, three days later, was dead in a county jail cell, where she never should have been taken.
How can our country, which considers itself the leader of the free world, still have a system in place where people in a police-citizen encounter cannot talk freely and respectfully to each other, to ask valid questions and receive truthful answers? If this were the norm in the United States today, then Mr. George Floyd — and many other people of color who have wrongfully and tragically lost their lives during encounters with police officers — would still be alive.
We have a lot of work to do and not just in our police departments. The work begins with each one of us. Can we discuss important issues with people who think differently than we do without calling them names or defaulting to judgmental cliches?
Our children are listening and will model their behavior after ours. Let’s practice until we get it right.