Dear PoP – Interesting Advice from MPD

by Prince Of Petworth April 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm 21 Comments

Photo from PoPville flickr user Wake Up The Giant

“Dear PoP,

Just wanted to relate a (humorous to me) incident that happened on Thursday morning. I was waiting outside the Enterprise Rent-a-Car center on Georgia Ave for a friend around 7:30 in the morning. A MPD officer walked up to me and asked if I was usually out at that time of the morning. I said, “no” and that I was waiting for someone. He then proceeded to give me some very unusual advice. He said that if a black person approached me, I should turn and run away. Any black person. He said I might look crazy and they might wonder what my problem was, but that I would be safe. Apparently, there had been a series of robberies along that stretch of Georgia Avenue that morning. He didn’t say if the robbers were targeting white people in particular, but I guess I looked like easy prey. By the way, the officer was black. I thanked him for the tip and then he walked away. That was the most unusual interaction I’ve ever had with a police officer. Later, when I was telling my friend about it, we both laughed. But, I’m wondering if your readers would think it was funny, sad, racist… or a little bit of everything.”

Personally, I think this is very very sad on many levels.

  • anon

    Yes, it is sad and racist.

    How about this advice: When you are in a bad area, pretend to be crazy and/or violent yourself. That will ward off everyone! :-)

  • TaylorStreetMan

    There was a rash of early morning armed robberies in that area a couple of weeks back, all committed by the same group of juveniles fitting the same description (skin color, clothing, car, MO). If an MPD officer gave me that advice on that morning, I wouldn’t consider it racist at all. It’s real and pragmatic.

    After all, if a bear were loose and had mauled four people in that area that morning, is it bear-ism to warn a person to run away if they see one?

    Maybe the same thing was happening on Thursday? (muggers, not bears!)

  • Buttercup

    This story gets more bizarre when accompanied by that photo.

  • Anonymous

    The “Any black person” part gives it away… he is messing with you

    • Bitter Elitist

      +1000 Yes. He is definitely f-in with this guy since he probably looked all freaked out anyway. Cops will do that. These particular black cops know what buttons to push with these types. They probably figured he’d send it to a blog.

      recaptcha: would lucchese

      Answer: of course

  • Anonymous

    it was a test. you were supposed to run away since he had just explained the rules of “any black person,” presumably meaning him. you failed.

  • ogden

    Are the police supposed to leave out race when issuing descriptions of suspects now, so as not to appear racist?

    Would it be preferable for the police to just not issue alerts to neighborhoods so that its citizens wouldn’t have to be made to think about race?

  • PW neighbor

    To Anonymous at 3:08- Thanks, I got a good laugh!!!

  • TaylorStreetMan

    My initial post on this was eaten, so here’s a re-post:
    This is not at all racist. If a bear were attacking people up and down Georgia avenue, would it be ‘bear-ist’ to warn people to run away from any bear they see?

    The alternative: “Hello, citizen. There’s a very dangerous group or individual in the area. Could be a man, could be a woman, or a combination of both in any conceivable number and any conceivable skin color. I’m not allowed to describe them to you, since even acknowledging a person’s race is now somehow grounds for being called a racist. Good luck staying clear of this person or individuals!”

    • Anonymous

      Sorry TaylorStreetMan, but you sound like the racist one here, not the cop; he is just stupid. First of all don’t compare Bears with People. All bears, by nature will attack you, but all people, in this case, Black people don’t attack you; just the bad once. So for you to endorse what the cop said as sometime valid is completely hateful in your part. Are you saying then if you get mugged by a group of white guys in Richmond you will then conclude all white people will be coming after you to mug you?

      • Jim

        Smoke, Yogi, Boo-Boo and Fozzie are just some of the many bears who have never attacked a person. Your specist anti-bear ideology is offensive.

      • Anonymous – you’ve obviously never been to Richmond.

  • neener

    I have heard this from MPD beat cops. They are usually really uneducated. I’ve heard lots of crazy advice like this from them. I think it is racist and self-hating as well.

    What a normal person might say is that there are a string of robberies and they have multiple descriptions so it sounds like a gang, so for this reason…

    but no, your cop just stated it in the weirdest way possible.

    for instance, I was at a meeting where the police lieutenant told the assembled Spanish-speaking audience to make sure to deposit all their money in the bank of america every night. Didn’t make a lick of sense. After the 4th question he gets around to saying that he meant that the Latin community has a reputation for carrying around too much cash and they should get bank accounts and only mentioned BOA because they’re the only bank for blocks, etc, and he knows that bus boys are paid in cash so he knew they needed to deposit that cash before they got home to their apartment at 3am.

    which still is weird- why are all latin people bus boys, but at least it started to make sense.

    But at first his a

  • cheights_resident

    It’s not that he described the suspect as black that’s the issue IMO, it’s the fact that that’s the only descriptor he used. Aren’t more than 50% of the people in that area black? Height, age, clothing, etc. would be way more useful in discriminating who is a criminal and who isn’t.

    What kind of crap advice is this anyway?

  • Ronald Fricken Reagan

    That freak in the photo with all the jailhouse tattoos and the deformed ears might make me run the other way if he came strolling down the street holding that mask up to his face.

  • Petworthian

    A little 7 year old Hispanic girl on the playground at 16th and Kennedy told me her mom told her not to talk to “any brown people” because they could mad and tell their parents and their parents might kill you.
    I wanted to blow her mind with my response (“How brown? As brown as you?” or “You beter not listen to your mom, she’s a crazy racist?”) but I was struck speechless.

  • Dittle

    This black cop was stupid. He should have told the guy to be careful because there was a rash of early morning robberies in that area, period. Telling him to stay away from black people is racist, and even more dumb because the cop is black. What does it matter if the perps were black? Just be careful!

  • victoria

    When bartending years ago my bar-back was an African from Malawi – very dark skinned. At 2 a.m. closing one night he asked if I had locked the door because, as he put it in his limited English, he was worried the “black man will come.”

    Last week an African American friend, (who would frankly be classified with the rude word for inner-city lower-class welfare mom) was fussing because the driver of a crowded bus passed her up and said – “She could’ve moved them people back – She so black!”

    We are just never really going to understand all the layers here.

    • cbr

      Well said, Victoria.

  • PFL

    Sadly, I have to agree. The real tragedy is the undercurrent of self loathing…

  • anonymous

    No self hatred here.

    I just hate when people hate me, because they think I’m like people who do things I hate.


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