In Buffalo, a number of Black kids and young Black men were playing foot ball in the street – a common activity in many places across the US. One imagines that the players were engaged in the usual shouting for the ball, playful trash talk, and other noise making that comes with a friendly game of touch football among friends. Despite the daylight hour, apparently a neighbor took exception to all this activity and called the police to register a complaint about the noise. A white cop, Officer PATRICK McDONALD was dispatched.
You know where this is going, don’t you?
Yes, that’s right. Apparently the handgun-armed Officer PATRICK McDONALD is a stickler for obeying laws and rules. So he drove out to where these Black members of Buffalo’s community were playing football and immediately upon exiting his car his first question was decidedly rule-oriented: “Where are we lining up?” He took up a position, tried to fight his way past the defense, but when the defender wasn’t going to let him get behind the coverage, turned and used his broad, bullet proof vest-covered torso to block out the younger player and make a good catch.
There is video of the event, which got some local notoriety, not least because after taking yards like candy from a baby he asked his defender if he wanted to file a police report because “you just got robbed”. Though it’s not entirely clear from the different reports, it seems that the teams did get told there was a noise complaint, and that Officer PATRICK McDONALD was just doing his job checking things out, but that he had never been worried about anyone playing football.
In Buffalo, this got a lot of positive attention, with the mayor praising McDONALD (“who called it ‘Community policing at its best’“) and the officer winning an award, according to RawStory.com. Both McDONALD and the players have been speaking about the interaction:
“It helps break down the barrier, this ‘us versus them’ barrier,” he said. “And, at the same time, it shows that police officers empathize with the general public, and that we have a lot of common interests, like playing football.”
One of the young men in the video shared it with the hashtag #NotAllCopsAreBadIGuess. McDonald scored the Citizen of the Month award after the incident.
I’ve always believed that while bad things need to be taken down, positive examples also have to be highlighted. As long as I write about fascist policing on this blog, I’ll also be looking for people like McDONALD who are doing things well and for the right reasons.