Monday, Oct. 26, teens in Washington D.C. witnessed a dance-off between a police officer and a student as a way to resolve a conflict, according to The Washington Post.
At the end of the battle, the student, Aaliyah Taylor, and the officer hugged and went their separate ways as friends, according to the article.
“Instead of us fighting, she tried to turn it around and make it something fun,” Taylor said, according to the article. “I never expected cops to be that cool. There are some good cops.”
It’s too bad that the fact that there are even “good cops” out there was a surprise to Taylor.
Then again, if the media leads a person to think that, then it is not surprising.
Marinos Marinos, the secretary of the D.C. police union, said positive police-citizen encounters like this happen all of the time, but most of them don’t make it to the Internet.
Unfortunately, these kind of “good cop” incidents don’t get reported as often as they occur.
In the past year, there have been a number of police brutality stories reported, and law enforcement has received a bad reputation because of it.
While those awful instances actually occur, they aren’t the only types of police-citizen incidents that happen.
They just tend to be the main ones reported on by news agencies, and therefore, the ones that get all the hype.
While the stories the media has covered are accurate, they are not always a complete representation of reality. People have positive encounters with law enforcement all the time.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, Steven Hildreth Jr.’s Facebook post about his positive experience with his local police department went viral with more than 94,000 likes and 57,000 shares by noon on Wednesday, according to Arizona’s CBS 5 News.
In the post, Hildreth wrote that he had been driving with a light out, and when the police pulled him over, Hildreth openly told the officer he was armed.
“I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped,” he wrote in his post. “According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.”
Hildreth wrote that the encounter went well because of their honest and respectful communication with each other.
So why aren’t experiences like this reported?
Maybe it’s because those experiences are the norm, not the exception.
This doesn’t mean that other examples of police brutality aren’t real, or that they’re not a problem.
The same week this positive experience happened, a video went viral in which a student was thrown from her desk by a school resource officer.
Was that kind of treatment OK?
But does that mean that kind of behavior is typical?
While police brutality is not OK, neither is feeding the idea that all law enforcement is bad.
Undeniably, there are some members of law enforcement that have a racial profiling problem or misuse their authority, and that needs to be corrected.
It’s true; some officers don’t perform their job in the best way they could or even as they should.
But again, some of them is not most of them — it is some of them.
“Police officers are people, too,” Hildreth wrote. “By far and large, most are good people, and they’re not out to get you.”
Hildreth wrote that perhaps if people treated law enforcement officials with respect, they would receive the same in return.
That — respect on both sides — is the answer to this whole dilemma. If either party is stereotyping the other, nothing will ever get solved.
This doesn’t mean one has to shut their eyes to the negative incidents that occur, but rather, remember that those incidents don’t happen every single time.