Sunday, April 18, 2021

Open Letter from A Black Ex-Policeman: Dear Black People: STOP Running from the Police

police beating black man

*Nationwide  — I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In a situation with the police, it’s not immediately about who is right or wrong, it’s about staying alive.

If the police are making a wrongful arrest, this can be corrected later at a safer time.

Too many unarmed African American men are losing their lives to white police officers, and most of the time justice is not being served. But even if justice is served, a valuable life has already been lost.

I served as a state police officer in Alabama for 6 years from 1986 to 1993, and I have some very helpful, life-saving advice to share with both young ones and adults. Every move you make has consequences, and you can make one move, and never recover.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when interacting with the police:

1) Don’t run. Although running from the police should not be a death sentence, if oftens ends up this way. So don’t do it! Doing so will heighten the aggression of an officer, especially if he/she is not sure if you are armed. It also puts them in a position where they have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions, which increases the chance of an officer deciding to end your life. So stay put!

2) Show respect at all times. A police officer’s duty is to serve and protect, but if he/she is out of line or bullying you, continue to be respectful. Say “sir” and “no sir”, and “may I” and “thank you”! These will keep the situation from escalating. If the officer is violating your rights in any way, you can fight this matter at a later and safer time.

3) Keep your hands where they can be seen. Do not make the officer feel threatened in any way. At all times, keep your hands visible. Many police officers, especially white police officers, will feed into stereotypes. They may be assuming that you have a weapon just because you are Black or because they feel you look like you are up to no good!

4) You have the right to remain silent. If you feel that you are being wrongfully arrested, you do not have to speak on it as this likely will not change the officer’s mind. Keeping quiet protects you legally, and also keeps the situation calm and peaceful.

5) Sign the ticket and leave. If you are being pulled over for speeding, simply sign the ticket and leave. Signing the ticket does not mean that you are admitting guilt; its only a promise to appear in court on the date listed on the ticket. Arguing with the officer about it will only make the situation worse, and perhaps raise his level of aggression.

Orrin Hudson is a former Alabama state trooper, but is now the founder of Be Someone – a non-profit organization that trains urban youth and adults on how to be make better decisions in life. He does workshops at schools, churches, and community centers all across the country, and has been recognized by CNN, Good Morning America, and People Magazine.



Be Someone, Inc.



  1. So the onus is on Black people to stop aggressive and racist police officers. How about the officer doing their jobs which is to protect and serve and not execute Black people in the street. America is awash with guns. Do these racist cowards not think those same guns can’t be pointed back at them?

    • Listening to the responses to this article reminds of people who continue to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, even though their doctor warns against what could happen if they don’t stop. Now, granted, the rules laid out by ex officer Hudson may not be a guarantee that you won’t be plugged by a racist cop at a traffic stop, and crossing a five lane highway may not get me turned into road kill, but just to be on the safe side, I always use a crosswalk. Everything he said is just common sense.

  2. 1) Don’t run. – I do agree with don’t run, but there has been many cases where the person is actually detained and still has gotten shot. Even If I run, it still does not give your fellow officers the right to shoot me in the back unless I pose a threat by pointing a weapon at them.
    2) Show respect at all times. I agree to show respect to the police officer, but in turn show respect to me as well. I am not your child or beneath you to speak to me that way. To get respect you have to give it. And to your comment about fighting the matter later and a safer time; it doesn’t matter because they are going to stick together. So your complaint will be sent to file marked “TRASH CAN” and the possibility of being harassed by the officer on other occasions when encountered.
    3) Keep your hands where they can be seen. – Agree
    4) You have the right to remain silent. Agree – but the officer will provoke you to do other wise. Most people are not aware of their rights, so the officers use this to their advantage. People research your state Traffic Stop laws, learn & remember them.
    5) Sign the ticket and leave. Agree with no comment.

  3. Black people been running from white folks since slavery if u stand still they will beat u if u run they will beat u it depends on what state of mind they in at that moment blacks do know they will try 2 kill you if they can.

  4. i agree. to us, black americans there is no such thing as later and safer time to fight of whatever it is especially if you have racist cops/police. does this ex/retired cop know things change in the police department and got worst all over the country since he became a cop in 1986 to 1993?


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