With a viral selfie posted to Facebook, Greg Barnes Jr. documented his recent exchange with a police officer who pulled him over for speeding in Indiana.
The outcome of the motor vehicle traffic stop may not be what you might think, at least insofar as the dominant media narrative is concerned.
Barnes’ posting about the conversation that took place and that accompanied the selfie with the as-yet unidentified state trooper has now been shared more than 400,000 times on the social media site.
National headlines have filled the public consciousness with violent incidents between African-Americans and cops and prompted the Black Lives Matter movement. Barnes — who admitted that he exceeded the speed limit on his way home from work in the city of Muncie — had a different experience, and it’s not even clear that he was issued a ticket.
“In a time when a rash of citizen encounters with police have turned into high-profile — and sometimes deadly — encounters, Barnes and the white officer had a polite interaction — capped by taking a selfie together and a Facebook post with a message about respect,” The Blazeexplained.
In his Facebook message that culminated in the #respect hashtag, Barnes chronicled what happened on Friday after the cop ran his license info on the law enforcement computer network, which is standard operating procedure. The men then briefly chatted about day-to-day life and also about how similar routine stops have played out far more negatively.
“I was pulled over today for speeding. The officer did not know me nor did I know him, but we each showed one another a mutual display of respect in our interaction. He was doing his job, and I had made a mistake in trying to hurry home to get started moving that lead to our path’s crossing … in the end we both thanked each other for our mutual displays of respect and agreed to take a ‘selfie’ together to help tell our story. I can’t stress enough that NO demographic and/or profession of people are all bad. Neither of us are the enemy. We can continue to fight against each other until we are literally ‘black and blue’, or we can show one another the respect we inherently deserve, not as ‘black man’ and ‘blue police officer’, but as humans. None greater, none less…”
In a follow-up posting, Greg Barnes Jr. thanked everyone who reached out to him in response to the viral selfie with the officer. “Together, we, the only race that matters, the human race, can all make this world a better place than we found it,” he wrote in part.
[image via Facebook]