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I am afraid

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As a mother of a young black man in America, I am afraid.

The January incident with NBA Rookie Sterling Brown has raised this fear another notch, because he is my son.

Yes, that man is younger than my son, and taller, and a professional basketball player.

But when I see him, I see my son.

Yes, he parked illegally, and selfishly.

But how that young man behaved when he saw a police officer at his car is what my son would do, what we have talked about doing, what we brought him up to do.

He spoke to the officer, he remained calm, and most importantly, he did what the officer told him to do.

Then backup was called, orders were yelled, more backup arrived, six officers surrounded Sterling Brown, they shone flashlights through his car, suddenly an officer yelled to take his hands out of his pockets, another officer grabbed his hand, he was pushed to the ground, he was tazed, at one point an officer pulled a gun, he was handcuffed, an officer stood on his ankle, he lay face down on the winter pavement. All in a matter of minutes.

I was terrified for my son watching that unfold.

I am afraid. If my son is stopped by law enforcement, we have talked about what to do. Be polite, stay calm, answer their questions, and do what the officer tells you to do. But now where does our discussion go? That did not turn out well for Sterling Brown. And it could have turned out much, much worse for him at any one moment in that Walgreens' parking lot.

Now, what do I tell my son? How do we coach our children through this?

How do we teach them to not be afraid when surrounded by six officers?

Who is his backup?

My son has been stopped, questioned, backup called, then let go without a ticket.

More than once. Thankfully not by the same officer who Sterling Brown encountered.

In the end, Mr. Sterling Brown was given a ticket for his infraction.

Which is all that should have happened after he walked out of that Walgreens.

Note: I am a private citizen, and I have not viewed all the bodycam footage or heard all the audio, and there is always more to the story for both sides. This is not to lay blame but to lay open my heart.

Susan Travis resides in Williston.