In the words of Pittsburgh Police Officer Antoine Davis, as a police officer it is mandatory that you are honest, have integrity, courage, compassion, and are respectful.
“I sometimes find it difficult to be a police officer during this era because of social media,” he said in an exclusive interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Every day you can find a video showing a police officer having a negative encounter with someone. This creates the perception that all officers are racist, violent, and untrustworthy. Some people who have never personally experienced an encounter with a police officer will believe these things they often see and hear, and instantly believe it to be true that all officers are this way. Bad publicity makes it difficult for us to do our job at times.”
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and more have been flooded with videos and articles of innocent and unarmed individuals being shot, killed, and treated in an unjust manner by men in blue with badges. Social media has been consumed by these stories since the 2012 Trayvon Martin ordeal. These repeated occurrences have led many Americans to see police officers as the enemy.
“I have experienced racism and being racially profiled all my life, being a Black man and growing up in the hood; I can relate. My heart hurts for those who lost their lives, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, etc.,” Officer Davis said.
“The way I engage with people to break the negative stigma of police officers is by letting them get to know who I am as a person. I tell people all the time that you cannot place everyone in the same category. You will find in every profession, good and bad people. If a person encounters a bad waiter or waitress at a restaurant, it shouldn’t mean they shouldn’t eat out anymore. I believe you should treat people based on the way you are being treated under the circumstances,” Officer Davis said.
Officer Davis decided that he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement during his childhood, growing up in the Hill District in the early ‘90s. “I witnessed a lot of violence, crime, and drug addiction. I wanted to do something to help my community and the people I care about. I believed that if I became a police officer I would get the opportunity to help those that cannot help themselves.”