We were running drills in basketball practice, I couldn’t think straight. My conversation with Quinn brought back the memory that I never wanted to think of again. I was finally passed the ball, and pulled up for the jumper, BRICK. I couldn’t do it.
“Damn, you good E?” Coach Carney asked.
“Yeah Coach” I said “I just need a minute.”
“Okay bud, are you sure you’re good though, it looks like you’ve got something on your mind.”
“I’m good coach, I just need a sec.”
I decided to take a break on the bench, but as soon as I touched the seat it hit me…
It was the same as any other day, well that’s what I thought. Little did I know that it was going to become the worst day of my life. Me and my cousin were in an ally by Jerry’s just talking when two police officers rolled up in a cruiser. Two white officers. Me and my cousin ,both being black, had the feeling that it wasn’t going to end well, but we knew to keep calm and not make any stupid moves.
“You fellas up to no good?” The police officer automatically asked.
“No officer.” My cousin said in an exaggerated voice.
“Are you mocking him?” the other police officer asked, as he jumped into the conversation.
“No sir, but if you would excuse us we should be getting home now.”
“Do you think we’re done here?” The officer asked “Pat them down” One officer said to the other.
We were about to be pat down, when I looked at my cousin’s face. It was a face of straight fear. Once I saw my cousins face I started to panic. I was sure that my cousin didn’t have anything on him that could get us in trouble, but he did have a serious panic disorder, and whenever he panicked he couldn’t breathe. That had to have been what was happening. We were leaning on the wall being patted down when my cousin started to fidget.
“What do you think you’re doing kid?” the officer patting him down asked.
He started to breathe heavily, huffing and puffing, knees shaking.”Just sit still for a little longer.” I told him in my head. He got off the wall and tried to run to his bookbag to get out his asthma pump.
“STOP!” The officer screamed as he pulled out his gun.
My cousin was already panicking and digging through his bookbag. It all happened so quick. I didn’t even have anytime to say a word, before there was a bullet right through my cousins chest. That was the worst part, but even after my cousin had been killed the police officers beat me unconscious, I was defenseless. Both me and my cousin just lied there until we were found by a black boy that happened to be walking by while he was walking his brother to his friends house. That boy was Rashad. From that day forward me, and Rashad were great friends, and that’s why i’m so serious about defending Rashad.
“E?” Coach Carney said as he had awoken me from this horrible nightmare of a memory.
“Yeah, coach.” I replied.
“Nothin’ kid, just wanted to make sure you were still there.”
I knew what I had to do. I had to talk to Quinn. Later that day I ran into Quinn in the hallway.
“Hey Quinn, listen I’m sorry for snapping on you like that. I just didn’t know how to react when I heard that someone was actually defending Officer Paul. I’m tellin’ you man Rashad is innocent, he didn’t do anything. Just please trust me on this one. Some police are crazy out there man.”
“English i’m sorry too, i’ve just been put in a tough situation, you know how close I am to Guzzo and his family. I completely believe that Rashad is innocent, but making a decision right now is only hard because it’s a matter of loyalty. Paul’s like family to me”
“Quinn, two police officers killed my cousin, and then beat me. I know how these police officers’ minds work. They didn’t hesitate to kill my cousin right in front of me and then beat me so they could get away. My cousin was killed with his asthma pump in his hand, yet the police officers felt the need to kill him.”
“I… I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know what to say…” A tear rolled down his face.
“It’s fine, I just thought you should know. We cool?”
“Of course, see you later.” Quinn said, as he slowly backed from the conversation. I could tell that the conversation put him in an uncomfortable place, but maybe that was a good thing. I thought back to the conversation while I was in class. Even after hearing him say that, that Officer Paul Galluzo, the officer that beat Rashad, was like family to him I still couldn’t understand how it could be so hard to pick a side. Wasn’t it clear that Paul was wrong. Wasn’t it clear that Rashad was innocent. I did not understand one bit how Quinn could say that he knew Rashad was innocent, yet he still found it hard to pick a side. There were only two sides, the way I labeled them, there’s a good side and a bad side. There was no neutral, if that’s the way you felt than clearly you didn’t care about what was going on which put you on the bad side. Quinn couldn’t decide what side he would pick, does that mean he’s neutral? Does that mean he was on the bad side?
I was walking to last period when I saw Guzzo in the hallway talking to a bunch of kids, specifically white kids. Guzzo was a cool person, but there was no way I could side with him. He glanced up at me. I saw into his eyes, there was fire, it was pure hate. Guzzo, my once good friend, had just become my enemy.
My name is Joey I’m a black, 15 year old, boy. My life is pretty much the same as anyone else’s except for the fact that i’m tired of being pushed around by some white kids that think that they’re better than me just because i’m black, but I do have my best bud Matt by my side. We’re inseparable.
My name is Matt I’m a 14 year old, white, boy. I live the life of any other white boy. There’s just one thing, my best friend is a black boy and his name is Joey. He really is my bestest friend, i’m not lying, we’re pretty much brothers, but I get bullied for being his friend by the other kids. I’ve lied to Joey for a really long time now. I told him that the reason I get bullied is because i’m a nerd, which I also am, but I don’t get bullied for that. Anyways gotta go school is starting.
End Of School Day
Joey + Matt
Joey and Matt were walking home from school and it was about 6:00 p.m. by the time it was dark, before they went home they decided to get some snacks from Jerry’s. Once they were done getting there snacks they saw something going on in the alleyway across the street. So of course as any other nosey people they went to check it out. While walking across the street they saw a police officer throw a punch and knock out a kid about our age while the other was on the floor. By the time they made it across the street there was already another kid there calling 911.
Later That Day
I had an extremely long day, turns out that boy that was already knocked out, or so we thought, died. Over 10 ambulances, fire trucks and police cars were there. Including the police officers that we saw drive away. Me and matt were too scared to mention anything then, but we have to show up on the court date because we were witnesses. I had a lot of things collecting in my head and there was only one person that probably could relate to my situation… Matt.
The Next Day
Joe and Matt
Matt and joe decided to go to the police department the next day so that they could tell them everything they knew so that maybe, just maybe they wouldn’t have to go to the court date. They walked through the door and explained everything they saw. It seemed to be the right thing to do until just by looking at the officer you could tell he wasn’t buying it. Once Matt and Joe got home they turned on the t.v. and put on the news. They could not believe what they had just seen. They had completely switched what they had told the officer. The police had told the reporters that they were witnesses that saw the police officers do nothing wrong and that the officers were in the right. They had even called it an easy case to win.
From that day on Joe and Matt had fought for people in similar situations. And helped people fight for their innocence in over 70 cases.