After a brief verbal confrontation one of them showed me a badge and I exited my car. They searched my car, made me park it and then handcuffed me and took me Downtown. They took me to fingerprint room and printed me and misread them by saying I was a liar because my prints proved I was a major drug dealer that they had been looking for.
A White lieutenant who knew my family happened to come by and asked what’s he doing here? They said, “We arrested him for being a drug dealer and his fingerprints prove it.” The lieutenant said, “Run his prints again while I am standing here.” The two undercover police ran my prints again and admitted they misread them the first time, they stated they had made a mistake and I could leave.
I went to Allegheny County Court four times. Twice the case was DISMISSED and twice I was found NOT GUILTY.
In my tenure as a detective I witnessed the animosity, dislike, disrespect and even hate for some Blacks.
My partner and I and three uniformed police from the Mt. Lebanon Police Department went to a home with a search warrant. We rang the doorbell and eventually a White male opened the door and the chief who was in front stated, “The Allegheny County Detectives have a warrant for your son, can we come in?”
The occupant was hesitant but said come on in. He looked at the five of us—the four White officers and myself—and pointed his finger directly at me and said, “WHO IN THE HELL IS HE?”
On almost every occasion when I went into police stations, jails, and homes in White communities the question was who is he?
It became the office joke when we went out that someone would say tell Hop to get his identification ready. It is a big lie that undercover police generally wear their badges around their necks. They become clones of the persons they seek to arrest.
There are those who contend that when White men approach you with whatever attitude a Black person should automatically assume it’s the police.
Allow me to put the shoe on the other foot. If three Black men should approach White persons are they to assume they are police? I strongly doubt it.
A Black state policeman told us while patrolling on Parkway West that he pulled a car over with three White men and asked for the driver’s license and the driver looked at him and said, “It must be Halloween.”
I had hoped that the police in the Jordan Miles trial would have been found guilty on all counts, but in my mind I never lost focus on remembering Pittsburgh is still UP SOUTH.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)