A black man’s encounter with a cop is going viral, but this story’s got a different twist than what you’re used to seeing in the media.
Steven Hildreth Jr. was pulled over by a cop in Tucson Arizona for driving with one headlight. As a black man wearing a black hoodie and carrying a weapon, many would have assumed that this situation would take a turn for the worst.
But Hildreth’s experience was quite the opposite.
He pulled away with a warning and a powerful #BlueLivesMatter message that has since been shared over 300,000 times on Facebook. The post reads:
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 running 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 running 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Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date.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 alive 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.
[EDIT: In my rush to post, I accidentally omitted that my wallet was in the back-right pocket, near my firearm. This was the primary motivation for temporary disarmament. The post has been modified to reflect that.
Again, I’d like to thank the TPD and their officers for their consistent professionalism, courtesy, and the good work that they do, both in this particular contact and every day.]
Hildreth also recently posted this public “thank you” to OFC R. Rodriguez and OFC A. Ammon for their commendable service and for treating him with so much respect during his traffic stop:
What a beautiful thing to see #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter being celebrated in unison rather than in spiteful opposition to one another.
Red, white, black or blue, we all matter.
And these guys just gave us one shining example of how we can elevate apparently opposing platforms for the greater good.
For more info, check out his Facebook Post