National Guardsman Steven Hildreth, Jr. of Arizona just turned a scary run-in with the police into a viral post on Facebook that has already been shared over 160,000 times.
His story doesn’t change the important conversation about race that we need to be having, but it does offer a refreshingly positive perspective.
According to Hildreth's Facebook post, he was driving home one night when a Tuscan Police Department squad car pulled him over. One of his headlights was out. His registration card was also expired. And he was carrying a Glock pistol.
And he’s an African-American man who was wearing a hoodie.
The cops noticed Hildreth's military ID, and he confirmed that he is with the National Guard.
The cops also asked if he was carrying a weapon. Hildreth says, "Yes, sir. I'm a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket."
He was asked to step out of the vehicle so that the cops could safely disarm him and remove the gun. The Glock was then placed inside an evidence bag.
Paying the traffic violations might be the last thing on most people's minds. Most people would be terrified.
And then, something unexpected happens.
"Because you were cool with us and didn't give us grief, I'm just going to leave it at a verbal warning," the cops said. "Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible."
Hildreth smiled and thanked them.
In his Facebook post, Hildreth sums up the lesson from his perspective: "Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you. Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they're not out to get you."
His story, while incredible, does not change the fact that African Americans are killed by law enforcement officials at a rate that is disproportionate to the total population. But it's nice to hear about it when things go down like this.
Read his full post: