On the morning of April 21st, a police team from Pasquotank, North Carolina, is sent to ‘execute search and arrest warrants’ on Andrew Brown Jr, who had a history of prior convictions and resisting arrest.
They find him at his home, in his car, having just returned from a morning drive.
Mr Brown resists the arrest, drives off instead and as he does the officers fire 13 shots into his car, one hitting him in the back of the head and wounding him fatally, after which he crashes into a tree 50 yards from his house.
Mr Brown should not have resisted arrest.
He should have stepped out of his car and surrendered.
There were several officers surrounding him with plenty of weapons to fire away.
What’s wrong with this picture?
There is no mention in the article that anyone was in danger from Mr Brown’s actions.
No mention of what his convictions had been, what kind of crimes had Mr Brown committed to warrant the size of the police force sent out to arrest him.
He was still living in his home, even going out for a ride that morning and then returning.
He wasn’t racing out of State to avoid capture, so just what were the infractions?
Still, he was in violation of the law and he should have surrendered.
But he didn’t.
What could possibly be wrong with a man who is so defiant with the police, recklessly so?
Something was wrong. Something that needed a different kind of intervention than a posse of cops armed to the hilt and ready to shoot the person.
Then here it is.
Send in two social workers from the county, a man and a woman, to knock on his door.
‘G’morning, Mr Brown. We’re social workers with Pasquotank County and we’ve come to chat with you for a moment. May we come in?’
No, he wouldn’t let them in but he was willing to step out into the porch.
‘What’s this about?’ asks Mr Brown, warily.
‘We know you have a history of resisting arrest and there’s a warrant out for you. Look, resisting arrest can get you into a whole lot of trouble. What’s the problem?’
‘Things are not going well for me…’ replies Mr Brown.
‘So you need help… maybe we can help. We’ll do what we can, but we want to stress that resisting arrest can get you killed. Do you want to live?’
Mr Brown smiles as he drops his head. Maybe he’s not sure he wants to live.
‘Let me restate that,’ says one of the social workers, ‘resisting arrest will get you killed. Is it worth it?’
Mr Brown shakes his head slowly.
‘Then let us help you. How about if you turn yourself in? We’ll do what we can to get some financial and mental health assistance for your family while you’re in custody,’ says one social worker.
‘And we’re willing to work with you to keep you from getting in trouble again, whatever it is that you did,’ says the other.
‘You’ll do that?’ asks Mr Brown, a hint of relief.
‘Yes. We’ll do the best we can.’
‘I… I have trouble learning… ‘ begins Mr Brown, ‘I have trouble thinking… I don’t make good decisions… but I’m not a bad person… you get what I mean?’
‘We do,’ say the two social workers in unison.
‘And on top of that I haven’t been working. I get so angry sometimes. I can’t provide for my family.’
‘Let us help you,’ replies the lady social worker. ‘One step at a time.’
‘Will you be willing to come in with us today?’ asks the other social worker.
‘Turn myself in?’ says Mr Brown.
Mr Brown lifts his head and swallows hard. He closes his eyes for a moment… then he nods in assent.
‘It’s your decision Mr Brown. We’re not with the police. It’s up to you.’
‘I know. Thank you for coming out. Let me go in and tell my family.’
Dear reader, think about it.
Could this have been the case for Andrew Brown Jr., age 42 in Pasquotank county, North Carolina?
And if so, he would be alive today. Alive to learn to be a better man, a better father, a better citizen.
Sad, isn’t it? How easy it is for guns to take the place of words.
And will the African American leadership in our nation please send out a call to all African Americans to not resist arrest, not run from the police? Please.
Just so we can give words a chance.
Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net