Imagine you’re a special advocate and visitation supervisor who’s appointed by the court to oversee meetings between children and the parents who have lost custody of them.
Now imagine you’re minding your black ass business doing exactly that when two police officers roll up on you asking for ID because you look “suspicious”.
According to the Seattle Times, that’s exactly what happened to 31-year-old Byron Ragland, a nine-year U.S. Air Force Veteran who spends his free time either studying psychology at the University of Washington, Tacoma or getting harassed by police for sharing oxygen with white people.
But is Ragland at all surprised by his skin remaining his perpetual sin?
“My reaction,” he said, “is that this was just another Wednesday.”
The fiasco in question occurred on Nov. 7. Ragland’s clients, a mother and son who both just so happened to be white, wanted a snack. So after about a half hour of indulging in frozen yogurt at Menchie’s, they were rudely interrupted by the police.
“They asked me to leave,” Ragland said. “They asked for my ID. They told me the manager had been watching me and wanted me to move along.”
No, they literally told him to “move along”. Like, verbatim. As if this wasn’t a grown ass, law-abiding citizen they were talking to.
But what about the police report?
“Ragland had two associates (female adult and male juvenile) with him, who stated they were there with him for visitation,” the report says. They were asked to leave anyway, and they did.
“Store employees … told me that he had been in the store for a while and did not buy anything, and he was not making them feel comfortable,” says an “unwanted subject” report. The employees “were both thankful that Ragland was gone.”
So the police report explicitly states that the police officers knew it was Ragland’s legal obligation to supervise his clients and they still pulled this shit.
But how’d it even get to that point?
The store owner, Ramon Cruz, called 911 on behalf of his employees after he was informed that Ragland had yet to order anything. Mind you, Cruz wasn’t even in the store to witness any of this himself.
“They’re kind of scared because he looks suspicious,” Cruz told the dispatcher. “All he does is look at his phone, look at them, look at his phone, look at them.”
He informs the dispatcher that the scary black man is indeed black, but makes no mention of the company Ragland arrived with. And because the word “black” is synonymous with “mortal fear”, the police arrived soon afterward to escort Ragland from the premises—even after being told that the three of them came together and were having a supervised parent visit.
“You listen to that 911 call. He says right in there that I’m not doing anything,” Ragland said. “But that’s all it takes in America—for you to be black, and to be somewhere you’re not supposed to be. And where you’re supposed to be is not up to you. It’s up to somebody else’s opinion.”
But don’t try to tell Cruz that race was a factor in deciding to call the police. Because according to him, he was merely protecting his business interests.
“This is not racial profiling, though,” said Cruz, as his lies seeped through his lying ass teeth. “I mean I’m Asian, I experience the same thing. It was a misunderstanding, which sometimes do happen.”
But for Ragland, and far too many black men in America, it’s just par for the course.
“How would you feel hearing that you made people so scared and uncomfortable that they called the police?” he said. “For me, that’s just Wednesday. I try not to let it consume me. But it’s hard not to conclude that I walk around in a certain skin, and that’s all that matters.” Ragland said. “Living this kind of mental life will drive a person insane.”
But worry not. If you find yourself intimidated by our insurmountable rhythm or graceful aging, we might not have an app for that but we do have a far more appropriate alternative than calling 911.
I’ll let Niecy Nash take it from here: