Item on Bloomberg Radio today:
"A survey conducted found that every single black, hispanic and asian males asked felt that yes, theyve been racially profiled when stopped by the police. One in five minority women asked also answered yes to that question..."
There are times when you go.. "Oh lord.. what NOW?"
Some years, you would like to go decades without ever having to say that. It would be nice.
Walking down the Bayonne Bridge, seconds after I took the above picture, a Port Authority police car, lights blazing in full emergency mode, shot past at high speed going toward Bayonne.
Odd, I thought.. why would a Port Authority cop car be heading toward an emergency IN Bayonne? Shouldnt that be handled by the Bayonne Police or NJ State Troopers?
(The Port Authority, an independent interstate authority is in charge of all interstate bridges, ports, tunnels, trains, bus stations and airports in the New York/NJ metro area. It also has its own police force with full enforcement powers.)
Then it slowed and took a sharp 90 degree turn to block traffic, lights still blazing.
Being a cop's son.. and a black man in America.. I had a good idea what was about to happen next, but maybe it was merely an emergency on the bridge itself. Maybe. Probably.
Sure nuff, here came Mr Man#2 screeching to a halt right beside me, shining his spotlight in my direction, with the third coming to halt not far away in support.
Oh lord.. what NOW?
Was my camera flash on the bridge bothering somebody or something just as trivial?
Oh so casually, I kept the tone light and leaned on the railing by the car, my arms over the side to keep them in sight.
Ive been through this before.
Me: Hey. Can I help you.
It wasnt a question.
Officer: Hang on.
I waited a bit.... then asked it again. A little more loudly.
Direct. But still casual.
The best way to get shot is to act afraid, suspicious or belligerent.
Officer: We had a report of someone looking like they were about to jump...
Me: ME????? HA! Me??? Eh..no.
Officer: What were you doing on the bridge?
Me: Showing the camera Taking pictures. ..and minding my own fucking business, I thought..
Officer: Hm. Got some ID?
Me: Sure. *sigh*
Im a fucking jumper and his instinctive reaction is to ask for fuckin' ID.
He queried me and I lightly answered. Good thing some idjit didnt just get mugged.. then i wouldnt be having such a long converation..
Satisfied I wasnt a/the jumper, the other units took off back over the bridge. Only then did he think to ask me if I had seen anyone else on the bridge.
I didnt insert any sarcasm when I said no....
Then as he called his dispatcher to make sure what race the possible jumper, I realized I HAD passed someone on the way from the span .. a white guy.
Five minutes before.
That being the only other possibility, he queried a desription and what direction the guy went.
He then radioed the description (Was it a BLACK guy? No, I got a BLACK guy here. A WHITE guy? Was it a WHITE guy? A white guy.)and got ready to take off.
Shit I thought, this guy either jumped into the Kill VanKull already or was safely in Staten Island by now.
I didnt want to think about the possibility someone (probably..no, *likely*, the guy I passed) saw me walking along and simply put in a phony 'jumper' report. Just for kicks.
That would make ME look paranoid, right?
Only then I realized I shoulda been taking pictures. I tried, and I heard the cop go.. "Oh no, not that shit.. "
Yay, Rodney King.
For some reason, the picture was black and unusable.. so no, I dont have any record.
Thinking back, it was probably the Coast Guard boat I saw just before I had started walking back that might have radioded it in...
Thinking that someone was doing something suspicious on the bridge.
Who knows. Maybe the guy did jump.
Im placing bets this guy got home safe and sound.