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]
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.