Paul Johnson knows what it’s like to be staring down the barrel of a gun after being pulled over by the cops. The Detroit resident says he’s been stopped by various police agencies no fewer than seven times over the last dozen years. A few of those incidents involved Johnson sweating at the wrong end of an unholstered weapon.
What makes Johnson different from a lot of other African-American men in southeast Michigan is that he also knows what it’s like to pull a gun on a suspect. Young, you see, is a 12-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department. “It’s a dangerous job,” he explains. “I’ve had my gun out numerous times. Better safe than sorry — it’s a rule to live by.”
There are some other rules to live by as well, especially if you too are an African-American man being pulled over by one of this area’s peace officers. To make sure those rules get known, Johnson has written “Survival Guide,” a pamphlet that tells folk what to do when stopped for DWB (driving while black). Or, as the subhead of his booklet declares: “How To Handle An Encounter With The Police, Without Being Permanently Injured Or Fatally Wounded.”
Among his life-saving tips: “Don’t reach for anything! If an officer is nervous, any object can be mistaken for a weapon.”
If pulled over at night, advises Johnson, turn on your interior light and then keep your hands on the wheel.
“Reduced visibility puts [an officer] at a disadvantage,” explains Johnson. “They are trained not to be at a disadvantage.”
News Hits thinks Johnson’s pamphlet should be required reading for everyone, black or white. After all, we all bleed red. To obtain a copy, phone Johnson at 313-250-9055.Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]