Christine Newsom: Butch and the police |

Christine Newsom: Butch and the police

A group at Nevada City United Methodist Church recently completed a book study and discussion of “America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America,” by Jim Wallis.

Wallis, who grew up in a suburb of Detroit, tells an anecdote wherein he visited the home of a his new friend Butch in inner-city Detroit. “Butch’s mom told me about the experiences all the men in her family — her father, her brothers, her husband, and her sons — had with the Detroit police. “So I tell all of my children, if you are ever lost and can’t find your way back home, and you see a policeman, quickly duck behind a building or a stairwell. When the policeman is gone, come out and find your own way back home.”

I was stunned any mother would have to give her child such a warning; my mother always told me, as Wallis went on to write in the next sentence, “If you are ever lost and can’t find your way home, look for a policeman. The policeman is your friend. He will take care of you and bring you safely home.”

And so I have continued to feel, until witnessing the videos of the assaults on peaceful protesters in Nevada City on Aug. 9, while police looked on. I listened to town hall meeting Aug. 21, and understand there are various factors that the NCPD name as justification for their behavior. However this gets resolved, I hope we can achieve a community where all persons are permitted to exercise their free speech rights, no one is allowed to threaten others either physically or verbally, all people are treated with human dignity regardless of color, and where everyone who follows these principles can say “the police(wo)man is our friend.”

Christine Newsom

Nevada City

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