Four Minutes and Twenty-Five Seconds.
It was a beautiful spring day, as we pulled up to a local park, where Hezekiah and a couple of his teammates met up to practice. Hezekiah jumped out of the car to meet his friends. Big, Little, and I observed the scenery, before we decided to get out of the car. While Big was preparing to take Little out to play on the field, Little noticed a big green sign, saying all dogs must remain on their leash. After noticing the sign he also noticed a dog on the field. He explained, he wanted to wait until the dog left (also avoiding a workout that usually goes hand in hand with playing catch with his dad).
In that moment, we see two dogs, go into attack mode, it was like something you see in the Godzilla movies. The dogs became bigger than life in our eyes, jumping on each other, biting each other, trying to get away, full on beast mode. The owners became erratic as they tried to pull the dogs apart, chasing and yelling, yelling and blaming, screaming the dog’s names, and screaming at each other. It was unbelievable, this would never happen on the Eastside. I was shocked, people in the park went in slow motion, the boys on the courts froze, people entering the park were halted, and runners paused in their stride. I mean these dogs and owners went into a full movie scene. What we saw next was unbelievable and again, would never happen on the Eastside (okay a little exaggeration for the sake of the story). The owners, an older white couple, who were out for a nice evening stroll, and a middle age white man with an athletic built were now in each other’s face, like it was an episode of Maury Povich and they found out someone was not the father.
Mind you this was in the “nice area” of town. The owners were going in, yelling at each other, bumping into each other, calling each other obscenities, the woman who we will call “Karen” was now crying, playing the role of a damsel in distress, pointing and calling out for her husband “Ken.” The younger man grabbed his dog, called “Karen” a naughty name and tried to walk away from the situation, and then it happened the elderly man, “Ken” called the police as he was in pursuit of the other owner. The other owner was yelling, “you go your way and I will go my way.” Ken continued to follow as “Karen” his wife yelled for him to stop and come back (dramatically). At this time, We have gone to the concession stand got popcorn, candy, and a soda (just playing). We were sitting in the car, at the edge of our seats, frozen because this didn’t look like it was going to end up good, and we wanted to see what would happen next. “Karen” and a young girl, consoling her were standing close to our car, when the police arrived on to the set, I mean to the park. They arrived so quickly, it was at least four minutes and twenty-five seconds (okay maybe I made the time up, but, I mean I never seen them report so quickly, that really wouldn’t happen on the Eastside).
The police arrived in two cruisers and an Animal control unit (for two dogs that were not even on their leashes). When they arrived several eye witnesses walked over to the cruisers to give testimony. I looked at Big, he said, “Now Natasha, please don’t insert yourself into this.” So I sat quietly to watch how this was all going to play out (so I could share with you all). Three white officers who were women got out of their car followed by an Asian man to meet “Karen”. Karen began to cry as Ken consoled her and they were pointing toward where Ken followed the other owner. Now, I don’t know why out of all the people around to give their accounts, the Asian man walked over to our car, as we still sat, frozen, and in pure shock. Hmmmm maybe it wasn’t because we were the only people of color at this particular park or maybe even on this side of town. He came over, crouched down, and put his hands on his knees while whispering to me like I was a little baby, “did you see what happened.” I paused to think about Big’s words but, he is the police, he came to me, I didn’t go to him. I said, mmmhhhhhmmm as I began my calm story while giving him the black lives matter, you picked me out of all these people look. He said thank you got up and went back to “Karen and Ken” to hear the rest of their story. The cops stayed for most of our workout time to take statements and even go over to the other owner’s house where Ken had followed because Ken wanted the man arrested for assaulting his wife. Real talk, Ken was throwing his privilege around.
You guys, I have never seen anything like this. We saw a dog fight, white people in the “good area” fighting, the police arriving in less time it takes to order a pizza, and peoples privilege play out in relation to their account of them truly just not following the law. Even Little saw the green sign and said, “did they not see the big green sign that says dogs must be on their leash.” This may not be a story of how we are raising our kings in this crazy world, but, in that moment, Little learned something, he learned to not go into any situation you are not comfortable with, respond correctly, act appropriately, and to be honest with the police even if you feel like you may not be able to trust them. Let me know how you would have handled this situation if you were at the park on this spring day in the comments below.