Skip to main content

Around 12 years ago, while running errands in a small Alabama town, a friend and I stopped at an ATM. She put in her card and entered her PIN, but the machine was acting up somehow. She tried again. Still not working. She was trying one more time when we were suddenly surrounded by police. I don't think there were weapons drawn, but some of the officers definitely had their hands on their guns.

My friend jumped back from the ATM with a startled "whoa," raising her hands—it seemed half-joking, but also an acknowledgement that there were armed police moving toward her. The officers asked what we were doing, and relaxed as we explained that we'd stopped at the ATM but it didn't seem to be working. They explained in turn that they'd had an alarm from the bank and came expecting a break-in. They didn't take our names, didn't detain us at all. We walked away, talking about how startled we'd been but not deeply shaken. It's not something I think about often. Why would I? It wasn't a big moment in my life.

The only time I think about it is when I read a story like this: Roy Middleton, aged 60, was getting a cigarette out of his mother's car one night in the driveway of the home he shares with her, when, suspecting robbery, a neighbor called the police:

Middleton said he was bent over in the car searching the interior for a loose cigarette when he heard a voice order him to, “Get your hands where I can see them.”

He said he initially thought it was a neighbor joking with him, but when he turned his head he saw deputies standing halfway down his driveway.

He said he backed out of the vehicle with his hands raised, but when he turned to face the deputies, they immediately opened fire.

Do I need to say that my friend and I at the ATM were white, and that Roy Middleton is black? Whiteness may not be magic armor, and blackness may not be a certain death sentence, but they sure do change the odds in the favor of some and against others when it comes to how many shots police will decide to take.

(Via ThinkProgress)

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, felix19, Thumb, Chi, mwm341, teacherken, Trendar, AaronInSanDiego, TrueBlueMajority, mimi, Susan Gardner, billlaurelMD, kpardue, eeff, rubyr, saluda, devtob, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, expatjourno, concernedamerican, BlackSheep1, whenwego, CoolOnion, boadicea, mkfarkus, splashy, wader, Lilyvt, kharma, Dr Colossus, brainwave, RuralLiberal, JayBat, Noisy Democrat, AllisonInSeattle, Major Kong, zerelda, ScienceMom, Paul Hogarth, Albanius, lyvwyr101, rambler american, eztempo, Sassy, Armand451, Frank Vyan Walton, oortdust, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Bluesee, marina, jrooth, Tonedevil, Lying eyes, democracy inaction, Alice Venturi, terrypinder, Laurence Lewis, reflectionsv37, eru, owlbear1, Little Lulu, Hastur, Tool, Shotput8, FindingMyVoice, Nowhere Man, third Party please, redcedar, tommymet, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, myboo, Kingsmeg, RAW, cybersaur, emeraldmaiden, dopper0189, mr crabby, mooshter, AoT, kck, StrayCat, twigg, gpoutney, slothlax, JVolvo, middleagedhousewife, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, SmallAxe, blueoregon, Ian Reifowitz, ammasdarling, jessical, EdSF, mommyof3, joedemocrat, bnasley, HCKAD, jedennis, millwood, carpunder, Got a Grip, TomP, Empower Ink, rmonroe, fb, jwinIL14, MKinTN, thankgodforairamerica, also mom of 5, kimoconnor, hulagirl, HappyinNM, GAS, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Buckeye Nut Schell, Calamity Jean, Cassandra Waites, smartdemmg, codairem, Gemina13, Al Fondy, JBL55, MufsMom, Glacial Erratic, spacecadet1, ewmorr, lilsky, eltee, TehWondahkitty, tari, janmtairy, earicicle, I give in to sin, shopkeeper, shalca, DefendOurConstitution, glitterlust, politicalceci, Denise Oliver Velez, jfromga, astral66, joe from Lowell, Nannyberry, Larsstephens, Words In Action, Lefty Ladig, BlueOak, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, commonmass, flitedocnm, The Jester, gramofsam1, piers, Lost and Found, shyewoods, Kristina40, anonevent, ramara, tvanel, Yasuragi, addisnana, ericlewis0, cocinero, petesmom, nosleep4u, mallyroyal, slice, indubitably, kerflooey, Front Toward Enemy, I love OCD, Lost Left Coaster, slowbutsure, stone clearing, Mr MadAsHell, FarWestGirl, NormAl1792, molunkusmol, marleycat, thomask, Tommy Aces, SueM1121, Imhotepsings, randomfacts, ratcityreprobate, jham710, nyer11Oak, Auriandra, No one gets out alive, Laurel in CA, longtalldrink, Mathazar, BlueDragon, quill, anodnhajo, Mindful Nature, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, nellgwen, orangecurtainlib, a2nite, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, jan4insight, belinda ridgewood, BusyinCA, tytalus, avsp, arizonablue, jeannew, Glen The Plumber, George3, Robynhood too, ShoshannaD, Australian2, nuclear winter solstice, kmfmstar, Alhambra, howabout, Icicle68, Smoh, peterfallow, Not A Bot, NeverThere, WFBMM, Kombema, northcountry21st, Havoth, Mark Mywurtz, richardvjohnson, dannyboy1, Dodgerdog1, micsimov, SouthernBelle82

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site