I was 22, first person in my family to go to college. I was living the dream, cushy law firm job in the big city, apartment with a view and a doorman. Traveling for work and for pleasure. All the things I was supposed to aspire to growing up black and poor were at my fingertips. I wasn’t thinking about Ferguson or Eric Garner. I had escaped. If they’re done as they were told they’d still be alive besides I had all the time in the world to fix this. I would make partner, establish myself,  run for office. I could show everyone that if you studied hard and dressed properly you could be black and successful.

I’d rented a car to drive to a formal affair on a client’s property that was outside the city. I was trying to impress the client and I could write it off so I went with expensive but not ostentatious or I chose the Mercedes instead of the Jaguar or at least that was my 22 year old justification. If I got this client to sign a new contract I could lease one of these instead of renting it for the weekend.

I was on my way back to my building, luxuriating in the ride when I noticed the flashing lights in my mirrors. I hadn’t been speeding or ran amy lights so I moved to the slow lane to let the police car go by. The police car stayed behind me and as I braked at the next set of traffic lights I heard the officer demand that I pull over.  I stopped, still puzzling over the nature of my infraction. The office approached the car and put my window down.

“Can I help you officer?”

“Do you know why I stopped you?”

“Can’t say that I do”

“OK. License and registration!”

“Sure let my grab…”

“HE’S GOT A GUN!”

My final thought as I sat at that redlight trying to catch my breath as fluid filled my lungs was what picture are they going to dig up to justify this?

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