The Reasons Some Black People Run from the Police

I once asked an 11-year-old Black child that I mentored what he did for fun in his neighborhood. He told me he practiced running from the police and finding hiding places with his friends. I asked him if he did something wrong. He told me he didn’t, so I asked him why he would run and hide, and he replied, “So I can survive.”

When Black people resist arrest or run from the police, it’s common for white people to suggest that if only they had cooperated, nothing bad would have happened. Many white people believe that if Black people don’t do anything wrong, they have nothing to fear. These statements present insight into the different lived experiences Black and white people have with the police.

Black people disproportionately suffer from police brutality. Some Black people run from the police because they’re scared of them. They fear the police in ways that white people don’t because they’ve experienced unjustified physical abuse or know people who have experienced it. The fear in Black children starts early. The stories of torture are well known. In a February interview, months before he was shot and killed by the police, Rayshard Brooks talked about how the system hardened him, treated him like an animal, and didn’t provide the support he needed.

Some Black people believe that the criminal justice system will not afford them due process, quality legal representation, or access to an unbiased jury. They know police regularly arrest innocent Black people, who are more likely than white people to be arrested, convicted, and receive longer prison sentences. And they know the majority of people who serve time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit are black. A study found that innocent Black people are seven times more likely than white people to be found guilty of murder, and 12 times more likely to be convicted for drug crimes. 

Racial profiling and police bias cause distrust and fear. Driving-While-Black traffic stops and racist stop-and-frisk policies have eroded trust. Racial bias exists in law enforcement because it exists in society. The police disproportionately stop, arrest, and abuse Black people. The probability of being Black, unarmed, and shot by police is about 3.5 times the probability of being white, unarmed, and shot by police. Police discrimination against Black people is rampant in cities throughout the country. 

Healthcare disparities contribute to the problem. White people don’t take into account that Black people don’t have access to quality healthcare in the same way they do. As a result, many Black people with mental illness encounter the police instead of the treatment they need. People with mental illness are unlikely to react positively to the threat of arrest.

Some police plant evidence on innocent Black people. Nobody knows how often it happens, but it happens. Black people are more likely to know someone it has happened to, and therefore less likely to trust the police.

Police are frequently viewed as an occupying force in Black neighborhoods, the same way the American military is perceived in other countries. Many Black people have deep-seated views about the police that most white people don’t have. Police are less present in white neighborhoods, and they arrest and abuse white people less frequently. As a result, white people have a different perception of them. Generations of children grow up believing the police are going to kill them. Long before George Floyd, Eric Garner, and others, there was Rodney King, and thousands before King that were never recorded except in the minds of Black people who knew their stories. The harassment of Black family members, invasive searches, dehumanization, and negative interactions builds a lasting impression that strains encounters with the police.

Many Black people with low-level warrants such as unpaid court fees, traffic citations, and curfew violations fear interactions with the police because they know the system can engulf them and ruin their lives. To avoid the police, they may avoid getting an ID card, so they can’t vote, and they don’t go to the hospital when they’re sick because they don’t want to get swallowed by the system, which perpetuates inequality, disenfranchisement, and hardship.

I spent years providing support services to inmates, most of whom were Black men. I’ll never forget their stories or the life lessons they shared with me. It’s hard for most people to imagine what it’s like to fall asleep to the sound of violence, live in poverty and without hope or a role model, attend dilapidated and dangerous schools, spend a childhood visiting a parent in prison, and witness family members beaten, wrongly accused, or killed by police.

Black people have been running from authorities for centuries, dating back to the days of the slave catchers–the predecessors of modern-day police. Once you understand the Black experience in America–the history, threat of police violence, and unjust incarceration, you understand why some of them run from police. Running becomes a way of life to avoid the fate of people before them.

A systemic racial order exists in America. It maintains the status quo and then blames Black people for failing to adapt to it. America was founded on racism, stolen land and labor, and a government and police force complicit in the acts of segregation and discrimination. This country was born racist and remains racist. The question is not over whether racism exists in every facet of our society, but rather how we dismantle it. Understanding the problems is a good first step.



10 thoughts on “The Reasons Some Black People Run from the Police

  1. White people are coming to the point of view that the discrimination is rampant. I believe there will be less of the ‘this never happened to me’ comments I’ve heard in response to black people’s police experiences.
    I did not realize the effect that Obama had on nonaccomplishing white young men! They are furious with black accomplishment which leaves them behind. I had a terrible time understanding the hatred of Obama People would say “It’s Obama’s fault” he brought racism. That is, of course, totally ridiculous; their own resentment of his accomplishments ignited their existing feelings of superiority which was being sidelined. Dylan Roof was a human dropout until he found company in the vast hatred on line. These are the same people tRump has ignited with hate speech, phony toughness and promises. ‘The Proud Boys!’ are hatred authenticated, unaccomplished white young men. There is also an undercurrent in that/those groups of resentment of women, especially accomplished women.

    1. No, The White People are tiring of the blacks, and their feral behavior. It has reached a tipping point. The White People are tired of giving concession, after concession, to help the blacks, who never learn from, or appreciate, anything done for them. The blacks can’t get ahead without the help of The White People. Feral by nature, they only know one thing; that they’re somehow always a victim. The White People are tired of the blacks.

  2. Let’s agree that most of your reasons are valid or at least debatable. Are you saying that it is never the fault of the black person ? That it is acceptable for the person to ignore the law and run from the police ? Why is one group of people (police) always in the wrong and the other group always innocent victims of a corrupt system ? Both sides need to change.

  3. Sorry, but the blacks have nothing to fear from the police, anymore than The White People. The White People just comply more often, whereas blacks always run, and try to shoot their way out. The blacks also have less respect for authority than The White People. The blacks want crime to be a black entitlement, that’s why they make a ruckus over the police shootings of the blacks. The blacks just want the police to just not chase them at all! The blacks have no respect for anyone, like The White People do. The blacks think that if they just keep destroying cities, no matter how many concessions the police make, that the police will just eventually let the blacks commit as much crime as they want! With no fear of being apprehended. The police change tactics, get body cams, have all kinds of red tape to jump through. Have the blacks done anything? No. They’re emboldened by what they’ve accomplished! They’re running more than ever before! The White People are getting tired of the blacks doing this, over and over. The White People are slowly stepping away with their support of these black criminals, that run from the police. The White People want law and order, not the natural chaos, that’s the black community. The blacks live for chaos. The videos of all the fighting, all the time. Always making a hard time for everyone, everywhere they go. Want a woke White Person to finally see the light, and turn off to the blacks? Give them any job working with the public. They will GET SICK OF the blacks! A Jonathan the BMV, waiter, cashier, any job where they have to put up with rude, nasty, blacks. The lying at restaurants to get free food. The complaints about “dirty hotel rooms,” to get a free stay. The not having the proper documents for the license, and to start screaming about being treated unfairly, when the clerk can do nothing if they wanted to do something. The bold stealing, right in front of you, at the store, putting the cashier at risk. This behavior quickly changes any woke mind about the blacks. Or their relative, getting beat into a coma, just because they’re White. Yes, the blacks could avoid being shot by the police, if they’d stop acting like baboons. The White People have had enough.

  4. This is the worst article I’ve ever read. The blacks are just more feral than The White People. The black female tends to be very masculine, and fights like a man, against the police, unlike soft, feminine, White Women. The black male is the most feral of all, only acting on impulse, with absolutely no impulse control. Unlike The White Man, the black male will fight like a cornered baboon, just to get away with stealing a pack of gum, whereas The White Man, will stop and surrender, no matter the crime. The blacks have a crime problem. They have unchecked egos, which make them believe they’re equal, or of higher status, than the police, in charge of keeping a civil society. The blacks call themselves kangs and kweens, in their drunkenness of narcissism. The White People are getting tired, very tired, of black mob violence and chaos.

  5. The author of this article is saying that black people teach their kids to hate, mistrust and be scared of cops and white people because they are only out to get them, not true. Blacks don’t disproportionately suffer from police brutality, but they disproportionately commit more crime. There is no such thing as being pulled over for driving while black, How does not having health care cause someone to commit more crime, I have gone almost 60 years with no health care, it never caused me to commit crime. There is no proof of officers planting evidence, if there was we have seen it by now. Then he said that black people run from the police because they are used to running from slave owners, every adversity suffered by black people is blamed on white people and us inslaving them, even though there hasn’t been slavery here for hundreds of years, there is more slavery in the world now than there ever has been. He needs to stop blaming white people for all of black peoples problems and have them take some responsibility for their own problems, like fatherless kids and not teaching kids right from wrong, and stop teaching them that white people are bad and are only out to get them.

  6. It’s funny how Asians and Hispanics aren’t included in these conversations. People in other countries reading articles like this must think we only have two races in the USA

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