No matter what side of the argument you’re on regarding the altruistic vernacular of what lives matter most, the message from Coffey Anderson can save your life.
The 32-year-old indie country singer, contemporary Christian music star, and inspirational speaker took the unusual step of making a video designed to offer tips on how to engage police officers during a traffic stop. Coffey released the amateur video in the wake of the shooting death of Philando Castile.
The 32-year-old Montessori school cafeteria manager was gunned down by a St. Paul, Minnesota police officer last week during a routine traffic stop (alleged tail light violation). Shortly after the encounter, an officer drew his weapon and shot Castile, a passenger, multiple times as his four-year-old daughter and girlfriend, who live-streamed his last breaths, witnessed the tragedy.
— FOX 13 NOW (@fox13now) July 10, 2016
Coffey uploaded his “Stop the Violence Safety Video” on Facebook on Thursday. Since then, it’s been viewed over 29 million times and has nearly 1 million social shares. A friend acted as a driver while Anderson narrated the instructional video, offering advice on how to stay safe — both the driver and police officer.
“Guys, listen. This is about going home. There is a big disconnect, because at the end of the day, it’s about stereotypes. The stereotypes that I’ve seen of policemen was the video from Rodney King. And a lot of stereotypes that [cops] see of African American men are not positive… I want to break the wall down between what we really don’t know about each other, to what we can learn from each other. So let’s make a simple protocol that can get you guys home safer – on the police side, and on our side.”
Some of Anderson’s tips suggest the driver keep their hands in plain view and on the steering wheel — in the “ten and two positions” and with the fingers extended. The “This is Me” singer also advises motorists not to make sudden movements and have their identification, insurance and registration out, in anticipation of the officer’s request.
The responses about the video were mixed. Some slammed Anderson, accusing him of stoking fear and putting placing more responsibility in the driver, not the peace officer, to avoid conflict. Others lauded him for creating the novel video and hoped that it achieves the goal of keeping people safe and allowing them to return home at the end of the day.
Let’s face it; police are humans too. Like anyone else, they experience a plethora of emotions and motivations over the course of their lifetimes. Some critics suggest white police are part of a socialized culture of racial profiling African Americans and Latino young boys and men.
According to Lorie Fridell, an associate professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, it’s unclear what the exact motivation is behind singling out this class of people. However, data sets show that police come into contact with blacks, more than whites, on a daily basis.
“Our implicit biases are most likely to impact us when we’re facing ambiguous situations. A person reaching into a pocket is ambiguous. If I, as a white, middle-aged woman, reach into my pocket most people aren’t going to experience fear. For a black male with dreadlocks, that ambiguous action would produce fear in many people.”
On July 6, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in Minnesota during a traffic stop. pic.twitter.com/Mn07Np5HC3
— CNN (@CNN) July 9, 2016
The deaths of Castile and another black man in Louisiana by police, days apart, are said to have been used as an excuse for a gunman to shoot and kill “white officers” in Dallas last week. The suspect and five police officers died in the ambush, which also left as many as seven others injured from the act of domestic terrorism.
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[AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove]