Realizing his front headlight was out, Arizona author and veteran Steven Hildreth, Jr., pretty much knew why a Tucson Police Department cruiser turned around and started following him.
"The lights go on and I pull over," Hildreth wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday regarding the encounter. "The officer asks me how I'm doing, and then asks if I have any weapons."
Hildreth had nothing to hide.
"Yes, sir," he recalled answering. "I'm a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket."
More from Hildreth's post:
The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I'm running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can't unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I'm running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I'm with the National Guard.
Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he's got me on at least two infractions. I'm thinking of how to pay them.
Turns out that concern was unnecessary.
The officers gave Hildreth back his Glock, "locked and cleared" in an evidence container, and let him go with a warning to get his headlight fixed as soon as possible.
Why nothing else? "Because you were cool with us and didn't give us grief," Hildreth recalled police telling him. "I smile. 'Thank you, sir,'" he added.
"I'm a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped," Hildreth concluded. "According to certain social movements, I shouldn't be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities."
He added: "Maybe...just maybe...that notion is bunk."
More from Hildreth:
Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they're not out to get you.
I'd like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.
We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn't be wearing a badge. I'd like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hildreth's Facebook post received over 263,000 likes, over 20,000 comments and nearly 164,000 shares since it went up early Tuesday morning.
Here's his complete post:
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