African-American males, expect the police to stop you

African-American males,  expect the police to stop you
May 31
02:00 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

There are a few undeniable facts that are a part of our lives in America. They are that we will all pass away and we will all pay taxes. I don’t think I will get an argument about these truisms.

If you are black and male in the United States of America, you stand a good chance of being stopped by the police. That’s even though we represent a small percentage of the overall population.

I continue to be both saddened and perplexed as to how these events involving black men and the police unfold. As I watched the NBA Playoffs recently, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, never crossed my mind. If you didn’t know, Milwaukee is home to the Bucks, an NBA team.

On Jan. 26, one of the Bucks’ players, Sterling Brown, was involved with Milwaukee’s finest or maybe they were Milwaukee’s worst on that night. Sterling Brown, an African-American male, was parked illegally outside of a Walgreen’s at 2 a.m. Brown was confronted by one police officer and then in minutes, according to reports, several other men in blue showed up at the scene.

Now, I am trying to determine why it took several police officers to show up when no crime was reported or committed. Sterling Brown was tased, handcuffed and arrested.

Brown was compliant, almost docile. This could have been a deadly situation if not for Brown’s composure. What could have intimidated the first officer? Was it that Brown was black or did the officer fear for his life? The latter response has been used a lot by the police in confrontations with black men.

The video of this botched police engagement was released to the public a few days ago and the predicted outrage has started. First, Chief Alfonso Morales of the Milwaukee Police Department has issued an apology to Sterling Brown. By the way, Morales has only been the chief for four months. Reports say that Joseph Grams, the first officer on the scene, has been suspended for two days. Grams, an ex-Army Ranger, joined the police force in 2015. Subsequent officers arriving on the scene have received varying degrees of suspension of up to two weeks. At this point we do not know the names of the other officers.  I believe the chief needs to release the names. It’s not if we find out, it is simply when we find out.

The Milwaukee Bucks issued a statement calling Brown’s arrest shameful and inexcusable. As always, when the police are wrong, there will be an uproar for a few days and then it will be back to business as usual. The overwhelming majority of police are good people with good hearts and intentions. However, this particular group of men masquerading as police officers gives real officers a bad rap. These imposters believe the worst about us and want to assault and embarrass us whenever possible.

Sterling Brown is planning a lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department, as he should. He said, “Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community.” Black men are considered as fair game in the larger society. It matters not if you’re a star athlete or that you work hard to support your family.

This narrative that we as black men are mean and hostile is false and should be stopped today.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at


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