‘Everything I set out to do in my career was pointless. I held this innocent baby, and I knew there was hope.’: Police officer shares touching encounter that ‘restored’ his purpose

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“Today, I was asked to help a motorist. The vehicle had two African American women and two small children inside. The vehicle was disabled and needed to be towed, so I sat and waited for the tow truck with them. As they sat in their car and I sat in mine, due to the rain, I was scrolling through Facebook looking at all of the peaceful protests that have occurred and then, eventually, looking at the turmoil this country is in.

I couldn’t help but feel as if everyone, especially the African American community, felt animosity towards me, a white male police officer. I understood, due to the actions of the four officers in Minnesota, which was the catalyst for the outrage people have felt for years and years. I understood I was being lumped in the group with all of my other brothers and sisters in blue, as if we all were the bad police officers they had seen murder a man in cold blood on TV. I felt defeated at that point. I felt everything I set out to do in my career was pointless, because of the actions of a few. 

But just like any other day, I pushed forward and knew, even in these trying times, there was still hope. Maybe not now, but eventually there will be.

Once the tow truck arrived, one of the women came to me and asked me to give them a ride, which was a little more than a block away. Of course, I said yes. While they were getting their personal belongings out of the car, I offered to hold one of the kids to help lighten their load. I sat and held this innocent baby, who doesn’t see color, doesn’t understand the hate in this world, doesn’t have a care besides looking at the big trucks, flashing lights, and my pens. And I knew there was still hope.

So, move forward to arriving at their apartment complex. I pulled up and helped them out of the car. I picked up my lil’ dude and carried him under the breezeway out of the rain. As I was sitting there playing with the baby, I heard a guy from across the way yelling something. ‘That’s it right there! That’s what I like to see.’ I yelled back and said thank you.

As I was sitting and talking with one of the women, I saw a young lady walking up. She began to thank me for my service and for helping the family of four. Then she began speaking the truth. She spoke on how the purpose of the movement is not to spread hate or fear; it’s to uplift and inspire. It’s to broaden the outlook of every American and shed a light on the systemic oppression African Americans face daily. She stated that this, me interacting as a human and not a police officer, is what the community wants to see. She said she understood not all cops are bad and the situation surrounding Mr. Floyd’s murder is not about all cops. They just want recognition these incidents happen frequently, and something needs to change. I told her I agreed and stand with them.

This woman gave me the most sincere, loving, and emotional hug I have ever received. I felt peace in that moment. I began tearing up, and she did too. It was the most precious thing ever, because the lil’ dude I was holding began hugging us both. I felt my purpose had been restored, and there was no hope lost. There were people asking her to ‘go live’ and post this interaction by taking pictures, but she said no. She said that’s not what this is about; this is about love. I felt that.

I do not understand what it is like to be a black man or woman in America, and I can’t pretend to. But what I will say, is I will sit and talk with anyone who is willing to share their story. I will do my best to try to understand, and understand what we, as law enforcement, can do to better ourselves, because we are not perfect. I want to listen. I want to talk. All you have to do is reach out.

Courtesy of Blake Forthman

The reason I’m sharing this is not because I want a pat on the back. This is my testament. This is me letting you know I stand with you, as many of my brothers and sisters do. I will do as I’ve always done — serve and protect the citizens I swore to. I will always hold others accountable and will hope and pray others hold me accountable too. This interaction taught me a lot and meant even more. I hadn’t felt that much peace in a long time. It has been a long tiring weekend, but that one interaction made it all worth it.

I wholeheartedly believe together we can get through this, and we can be a stronger, more unified country. We have to set our differences aside and start leading. History has shown us, once one begins to lead, the others will follow.

This isn’t about blacks against whites, or whites against blacks. This is about EVERYONE AGAINST RACISM. Take a stand. Be heard. Use your platform, because I don’t care if one person hears you or 1,000 people hear you; at least someone heard you.

Be kind to one another. A smile is infectious, so smile. Say hello to a stranger, and together we will get through this.
So, this is me, a white male police officer, in the midst of a country in turmoil. I stand with you. I am with you.”

Courtesy of Blake Forthman
Courtesy of Blake Forthman
Courtesy of Blake Forthman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Blake Forthman of Little Rock, AR. You can follow his journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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