In a video posted to LiveLeak Friday, 22-year-old Will Stack, a service member with the Army National Guard, sits behind the wheel of his car and tells of being pulled over by a police officer in Lexington, South Carolina for “improper use of the median.”
“I made sure my hands were on the steering wheel,” he says. “I made sure to speak very politely as I always do. I did what he told me to do. I handed him the information and I sat here and waited and turned my music down.”
Stack then says, when the officer returned, he explained what the proper use of a median is, gave him a warning then let him go.
He then pulled out his smartphone minutes later to explain his simple peaceful encounter with the world.
“The point of this is to say that I am an African American male, this gentleman was Caucasian. There were no problems. He did his job, I did what I was supposed to do, and that was it.”
Stack wanted to show the world that white cops and black civilians can interact peacefully.
“I am an African-American male,” Stack says. “This gentleman was Caucasian. There were no problems.”
“Just because you’re black doesn’t mean you’re a victim, just because you’re white doesn’t mean you’re a racist,” he says. “God doesn’t see color, why should we?”
On Reddit, commenters had decidedly mixed reactions to the video.
Some people accused the video of being in poor taste because of recent police shootings, including the fatal shooting of 50-year-old Walter Scott, although Stack was fully aware of the shooting and found parts of it alarming, but wanted to keep an open mind about what happened. Stack said it wasn’t a good idea for Scott to run, but also was concerned about the use of force by the 33-year-old cop, Michael Slager.
Some people also felt like the video is catering to white Americans’ desire to ignore the possibility that police can be racist.
One commenter wrote:
“He had a normal interaction with an officer and used it to suggest that some police shootings are justified? What? We know there are occasions where use of force is justified, however when you have shootings happening SO often when the officer is often found to not be afraid for their life, that’s when you start to ask questions about police training and potential racist undertones. This is just another video for frustrated white people to point to in order to suggest that racism is dead.”
Others said that while Stack may not be wrong, his experience doesn’t prove anything.
“Not disagreeing with him… but sample group of one. Anecdotal.”
Other commenters said the young man’s message was one to be listened to. One commenter responded to the comment above:
“It is and he knows that but I think he’s just trying to highlight one of the good encounters. We all know (and he does too) that there are racist cops who do bad s*** because we always hear about it, but we don’t hear about all the white cops who give young black men warnings instead of tickets.
It’s not that his anecdote cancels out the bad s***, it’s just that it helps balance it out by reminding us that good encounters happen too. The media doesn’t report on them and I don’t blame them because it’s boring and not newsworthy but the lack of attention does tend to skew our perception toward the negative and it’s important to remember that for every a****** racist cop who guns down someone in cold blood there are many encounters just like this guy had.”
Another wrote, in response to the video:
“It’s kind of sad that any of this needs to be said. The media has warped the minds of so many people that we actually believe most cops are corrupt — or that most cops ‘hide’ corruption — however you want to word it.
We’ve seen a very few select incidents [in high profile cases such as Scott’s or Michael Brown’s], when hundreds of thousands of police interactions happen every day and nearly all of them pan out how this video describes.”