A young Black child who was playing basketball was caught on security camera hiding from the cops as a patrol car passed by his driveway, explaining to his father that he had done so because “they killed George Floyd.”
On June 12, Stacey Pierre-Louis, a client advisor at a BMW dealership and father who lives in Trumbull, Conn., shared video of his 10-year-old son, Eliah, dribbling a basketball before the child suddenly stop and notices a police vehicle approaching. Eliah then hides behind the family car and waits for the police to pass before shooting the basketball.
“Debated with myself for a few days before deciding to post this,” the father posted on Instagram. “I was at work watching my son shoot hoops in the driveway when I caught this.”
Pierre-Louis said he wanted to share the footage to illustrate the panic that Black and brown children experience around law enforcement as a result of a long history of police brutality toward their communities.
“It floored me…” the father admitted. “I’ll save the dramatics, but growing up [Black] or brown most of the time means fearing the police vs. looking up to them.”
Pierre-Louis then questioned why his son had anything to fear, given that their family lives in a decent neighborhood.
“I live in an affluent neighborhood in Trumbull with a really good school system,” the father explained. “This kid has all the opportunity to do/be whatever he wants, unlike many kids who look like him because resources aren’t made available. Why does he feel like he has to hide when he isn’t doing anything wrong?”
Pierre-Louis wrote that, when he asked Eliah why he hid behind the family car, his son said it was “because they killed George Floyd.” Floyd died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes despite Floyd’s insistence that he could not breathe.
Upon hearing his son’s reply, Pierre-Louis admitted he did not know how to respond.
“I didn’t know what and still don’t know what to say to him to make it better,” the father wrote. “A manager at my job told me to tell him that doing what he did is ridiculous and that I should teach him not to be fearful of police. Deep down I don’t know if it’s true, maybe staying out of the way is best.”
Pierre-Louis also pointed out that his family hasn’t once spoken to Eliah about police brutality or spoken negatively of law enforcement, forcing the father to wonder how he should address recent events with his son.
“He didn’t learn this behavior at home,” Pierre-Louis wrote. “We stream movies so he doesn’t see the news and we don’t talk negatively about police. No need to reply in the comments, but think to yourself … What would you say?”
The father’s post has gone viral, receiving over 80,000 views and nearly 1,600 comments.
“This is the sad truth of our way of life and heartbreaking …” one person wrote. “Enough already, our children have a right to be children and not have their innocence ripped away by our ugly history that continues to perpetuate racism …”
“My heart broke watching this,” another wrote. “This young boy having these fears is so wrong. The police need to get out in the community and heal these fears with all the young children. Not in their cars but on foot. They should introduce themselves let people get to know them.”
The clip also caught the attention of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who shared the footage on Twitter and simply wrote, “Breaks my Heart!!”
Since the video was shared, Pierre-Louis told CBS News that his son is “doing well” and that Eliah is “optimistic that this can add to making a change for the better.”
“My priority as a parent and family man is to protect my son and children from the atrocities and injustices of the world and provide them with the tools to be whole, productive and fearless contributing members of the world,” the father said. “Unfortunately, in the state of times and for reasons we all see daily, it makes it difficult. But as many parents are doing, I can only continue to educate and prepare my son with the truth and arm him with the tools to continue to create change. It’s my hope that when he becomes a man, he’ll then be able to do the same for his family.”
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