Excerpt from “The Journey.”
I would like to share with you a small segment of my upcoming book. My story has an uncanny significance and is a frightening and factual detailing of the long-hidden day-to-day realities of American life for black and brown American men. These harsh circumstances are finally being exposed to the public at large, primarily via 21st century social media, and enraging truth-seeking peoples everywhere, jump-starting a global outcry for justice and equality in the black diaspora in 2015. This excerpt is about police violence in America in the early 1970’s.
I was a young man on the move, bursting with wild hopes and soaring dreams. This is my personal account and life experience of racist police brutality and hate for men of color. 40 years later and right until this day I clearly remember the scene, the faces and the names of the white New York City police officers, one Irish-American, the other Italian-America, as if it was yesterday.
I knew I had to tell this story. I could have died that night, but for some reason I’m still here, with the memory of this event that has haunted me for the rest of my life.The irony of what is saturating the global media today, of black men being assassinated by white police in America in 2015, has not escaped me for an instant.
Violence and brutality directed toward men of color has been the gold standard of “law enforcement” in America – it is undeniably not something new. But perhaps there is now a new climate for meaningful change. I was a young Black man – proud, ambitious, hungry for knowledge, athletic, brimming with hope for the future. It was my first year at Hampton University, Hampton Virginia. A native New Yorker, home on semester break, I was going to see my sweetheart. My girlfriend was studying at Long Island University. Her family were hard workers, first-time purchasers of a condominium in the very early gentrification of New York’s East Village, at Avenue C and 10th street.
We were the lucky new Blacks, having somehow clawed our way out of low-income housing, heading to University, with sparkling hopes for the future. Abruptly, on a cold, wet October evening, an event occurred that changed my life forever! I would lose hope, trust and faith in the corridors of equality, justice and the ideals of democracy forever and it left me with a scar for the rest of my life. I was a victim of racist police brutality and hate.
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming publication. I share this with you in classic screenplay (a little rewritten to fit the blog) because I`m working on that as well.
10th street avenue: CAMERA PANS:
Jacquelyn’s condo, as Michael walks toward the corner of Tenth Street and Avenue C, where he routinely waits for a bus. It’s pouring down with rain, it’s a dark, wet mid-October night, suddenly Michael reaches the corner and sees his bus approaching, about 500 meters in the distance. Like the great sprinter, his powerful legs gallop with grace and speed, as he races to catch his bus.
CAMERA SHOT / SLOW-MOTION:
Like two dark evil shadows, two white policemen, draped in long black raincoats; wielding nightsticks and sporting silver badges (the light reflects as the water drips like the blood that’s about to be spilled) converge, intercepting Michael as he is in his final stride for the bus stop. He is met by yelling, screaming wild, foul, dark evil forces, descending upon him with great force, violence and abuse. The policemen pound him in a flurry of verbal abuse, nightsticks pounding his head and upper body melt into a gleaming blur of polished wood and fast, furious blows. All the force of their heavy armor and anger is unleashed on Michael, as he is crushed by the force of this ambush, this unwarranted beating.
Now he is bleeding profusely from the crown of his head after being struck several times by these dark forces with a black billy club. Michael now has experienced this unprecedented act and the violation of his civil and human rights. It is the hallmark for the person he will become later. The two white policemen, in their 30`s are out to brutalize, beat and dehumanize anything that gets in their way that is not like them.
POLICE DESCEND ON MICHAEL:
We see Michael being beaten and handcuffed. He is now in police custody. The police now call in a patrol car to take him down to the 6th Precinct police station in Greenwich Village. The Patrol car arrives and the two cops force him into the car.
INTERIOR SHOT/ Police Car: With hands cuffed behind his back, he sits between the two policemen, as one punches him in his face. The racial insults and humiliation turn into Michael worst nightmare.
First Policeman:- “What’s, your name nigger?”
(Humiliated and violated; Michael’s face is swollen. He remains silent under the unjustifiable violence he has encountered from these men).
First Policeman:- “Oh, we got us a smart nigger!!”
(Michael remains silent, completely shocked and stunned by what is happening as the police car arrives at the 6th precinct station house.)
Camera Shot:- Michael is dragged into the police station house. Interior Shot: East Village 6th Precinct Police Station House: Desk Officer O’Brien (The desk officer looks at the two arresting officers and knows they’ve made a mistake. He knows immediately that Michael is not the type to be arrested.)
“What’s the charge?”
(The arresting officer’s eyes shift to his partner. They are silently propping one another up in rationalization of their wrong doing.)
First Policeman:- “Uh I think…??”
Desk Officer O’Brien:- “Charge him with resisting and harassment arrest, and next time cover your ass!!”
Michael is held in a jailhouse for the night and arraigned the next morning. So is there any difference between the U.S and Norway? Check out my next blog post, coming up soon!