This afternoon I had the emotional experience of seeing a black man cuffed, on the sidewalk and forcefully seated on a curb surrounded by 4 cop cars and 8 white cops. The man in cuffs was stressed out and scared but complying. One man (also black) was filming and reassuring the man he was documenting it all and he saw what happened and this was race based and he had his back. Cops asked him to stop filming but he didn't because he knew his rights. I began filming as well.
Looking on, I fought back tears in fear of what may happen to this man. We've all seen a million videos like this now but this was the first time it was happening right there in front of me and the powerlessness was overwhelming. In a hushed voice an officer said something to the man in cuffs about jaywalking. People do that in Santa Monica all the time. The man filming said a white woman was jaywalking at the exact same time and asked why she wasn't in cuffs, answering his own question with, "we know why."
I filmed until my phone ran out of space and then hustled late to my appointment. I couldn't stop wondering what happened after I walked away. I was eager to get back and see if he was still there, hoping there wouldn't be any blood on the sidewalk or street where he'd been. Had he been arrested? Had he been released? Is he injured? Is he alive? Will this be in the news tonight?
At one point the man in cuffs said, "I don't even see myself as a black man. I'm just a man. No more. No less. That's how I see it." If only the world could see that too...