Barack Obama is the President -- Why are Black People Still So Mad?

A calm day. A sunny, day, for San Francisco - which means really foggy with what will ultimately be an unfulfilled promise of sun later. A nice day, when exposing the unfathomable idiocy that emanates from the Oval Office, or condemning the brutal criminality of corporate privateers ravaging our nation must take a backseat to doing some chores: like finding a '92 differential for our Volvo, cleaning up the apartment, and getting our son ready to start kindergarten.

Kinda a reflective day, really. Not outstanding, just pleasant and foggy, as I drive along the famously liberal streets of San Francisco to pick our son up from daycare.

And that's when I was pulled over by the police.

Well, I wasn't speeding - even if I'd wanted to the traffic was too thick. Weaving dangerously under the influence? Only if lemonade is a drug. As the familiar blue and red lights danced in the rearview mirror I tried to figure out - what it was about me that could have attracted the attention of San Francisco's finest...

At this point I should mention that I am Black.

SCENE 1: A street in progressive San Francisco.

Music: On radio, John Legend - "WHERE DID MY BABY GO?"

A gray Cadillac is double parked as behind it a patrol car comes to a stop. A POLICE OFFICER (White, female, mid-thirties) gets out of the patrol car, and walks up to the driver's window of the Cadillac. Behind the wheel of the Cadillac is a man, MICHAEL (Black, male, devilishly handsome)

OFFICER: Can I see your license?

MICHAEL: You betcha!

It is clear MICHAEL is trying to be chipper and friendly to the officer, knowing that local police recently shot a Black man in the back as he was walking out of a store. A case of mistaken identity, and the officer later said he thought the soda in the Black man's was a gun.

The Man was not guilty of any crime. He died.

The Officer was not prosecuted.

OFFICER: So... did you get this car from salvage?

MICHAEL: No, it belongs to my Father-in-Law.

OFFICER: Where does your Father-in-Law live?

MICHAEL: South San Francisco.

OFFICER: Turn off your engine.

Music: Stops, as MICHAEL turns off the car.

The OFFICER returns to the Patrol Car. After a moment OFFICER 2 (Black, female, early thirties) taps on the Cadillac's passenger side window. MICHAEL turns the key, and lowers the power window.

OFFICER 2: So, this isn't your car?

MICHAEL: Nope, I had to borrow it -

OFFICE 2: Is there any registration?

MICHAEL: I'm sure there is!

MICHAEL is bright and cheery as he slowly reaches for the glove compartment, knowing that local police once shot a Black man as he sat on the couch of his own home. A case of mistaken identity, and the officers later said they thought the remote control in the Black man's hand was a gun.

The Man was not guilty of any crime. He died.

The Officers were not prosecuted.

MICHAEL hands the registration to OFFICER 2.

OFFICER 2: Turn off your engine.

MICHAEL turns off the car again, and OFFICER 2 returns to the patrol car. MICHAEL notices the curious, yet approving gaze of White pedestrians and motorists observing the traffic stop. He can't help but think back to -

SCENE 2:

FLASHBACK:

Afternoon. A street in leftist San Francisco.

Music: On radio - Beethoven,"7TH SYMPHONY"

A used white Volvo is double parked, as behind it a police motorcycle comes to a stop. A MOTORCYCLE POLICE OFFICER (White, male, mid-forties) walks up to the driver's window of the Volvo. Behind the wheel of the Volvo is MICHAEL (Black, male, dashingly good-looking.)

OFFICER: Turn off your car.

Music: Stops, as MICHAEL turns off engine.

OFFICER: License, registration.

MICHAEL: You betcha!

It is clear MICHAEL is trying to be amiable and non-threatening to the officer. He carefully reaches to open the glove compartment, knowing local police recently shot a Black man in an empty movie theater. The officers later said they'd been told the Black man had a gun.

They shot him 23 times.

The Man did not have a gun. He was not guilty of any crime. He died.

The Officers were not prosecuted.

MICHAEL: Here ya go!

They shot him 23 times.

MICHAEL watches as the MOTORCYCLE OFFICER walks back to his cycle, checks his computer, then returns to the car. He hands MICHAEL back his information.

OFFICER: Here you are...

MICHAEL: Thank you.

OFFICER: Everything seems to be in order...

MICHAEL: That's good.

OFFICER: But I am going to have to give you a ticket.

MICHAEL: But... you said -

OFFICER: Your window tinting... I think it's excessively bubbly.

MICHAEL: What?

OFFICER: Too bubbly.

MICHAEL: But...

OFFICER: Take care of it!

As MICHAEL watches the MOTORCYCLE OFFICER pull away, he stares down the famously diverse street of San Francisco, remembering -

SCENE 3:

DOUBLE FLASHBACK:

Late afternoon. A street in revolutionary San Francisco.

Music - Tracy Chapman, "TALKIN' 'BOUT A REVOLUTION."

In crowded early rush hour traffic a bicyclist, MICHAEL (Black, male, cute as a button) comes to a stop at an intersection. Next to him a patrol car slows to a stop. A window rolls down and a POLICE OFFICER leans out.

OFFICER: Hey!

MICHAEL: What? What is it?

OFFICER: Can I ask you a question?

MICHAEL: Am I under arrest?

OFFICER: Is that your bike?

MICHAEL: Yes, this is my bike. Am I under arrest?

OFFICER: Where did you get it?

MICHAEL: I bought it. Am I under arrest?

OFFICER: Where are you going?

MICHAEL: To the store. Am I under arrest?

It is clear MICHAEL is brusk with the OFFICER because MICHAEL is young, doesn't yet have a wife or son who will miss him, and because he knows that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference if he's polite or rude, innocent or guilty, because San Francisco's Chief of Police recently retired in disgrace after evidence surfaced showing he falsely arrested and helped condemn dozens of Black men for crimes he knew they hadn't committed, even withholding evidence which exonerated them, to bolster his arrest record.

Some of these Men have been in jail over twenty years.

The Chief of Police has not been prosecuted.

OFFICER: We had a report of a stolen bicycle in this area -

MICHAEL: Well, was it this bike?

OFFICER: I don't -

MICHAEL: A bike that even looks like this?

OFFICER: We just got a report of a black guy -

MICHAEL: Did they describe the black guy, or will just any black guy do?

OFFICER: Where did you say you were going?

MICHAEL: I told you, to the store. Am I under arrest?

OFFICER: No... if you see anything, let us know. Thank you.

MICHAEL: You're welcome.

The traffic light changes, and the patrol car inches forward. MICHAEL's hands tighten on the handle bars, as he remembers -

SCENE 4

TRIPLE FLASHBACK:

Late night. A street in radical San Francisco.

Music - Janet Jackson "CONTROL"
A used, tan Delta 88 is double parked, as behind it a patrol car comes to a stop. A POLICE OFFICER (White, male, mid-thirties) walks up to the driver side window. Behind the wheel is JOHN (White, male, mid-twenties.) In the passenger seat is MICHAEL (Black, male, just adorable)

JOHN: Can I help you, Officer?

OFFICER: What are you two doing out here?

JOHN: Is there a problem?

OFFICER: License, registration.

JOHN hands his information to the OFFICER, who keeps his eyes on MICHAEL.

OFFICER: His, too.

JOHN: Why does he have to show you his license?

OFFICER: You went through a red light back there.

JOHN: I did? I don't think so -

OFFICER: I said I want his I.D., too!

MICHAEL pulls out his I.D.

MICHAEL: Here ya go!

It is clear MICHAEL is trying to be chipper and friendly to the officer, as he carefully hands over his I.D. , knowing that local police once shot a Black man as he stood in the kitchen of his home. A case of mistaken identity, and the officers later said they thought the broom in the Black man's hand was a gun.

The Man was not guilty of any crime.

He was sweeping his kitchen.

The Officers were not prosecuted.

They were not prosecuted.

He died.

JOHN: But I was the one driving -

OFFICER: Okay, out of the car!

The OFFICER puts his hand on his gun, and steps back from the door of the Delta.

Music: Stops, as JOHN turns off the engine.

JOHN, confused, opens his door, but the OFFICER has moved to the other side of the car, as MICHAEL gets out. The OFFICER spins MICHAEL around, slamming him to the roof of the car, roughly frisking him.

JOHN: Hey, why are you frisking him? Just give me the ticket!

OFFICER: Quiet, you! You want me to take you both in?

MICHAEL: John, just... calm down...

OFFICER: What are you two doing together?

JOHN: What, a white guy and a black guy can't be in a car together without it being a drug deal?

OFFICER: What are you two doing together!

JOHN: Renting movies!

The OFFICER has finished frisking MICHAEL, finding nothing.

OFFICER: Wait here.

The OFFICER goes back to his patrol car, leaving JOHN and MICHAEL with their hands in the roof of the car. After a few minutes he returns, giving JOHN his I.D. back.

OFFICER: This your address?

JOHN: Yeah.

OFFICER: Why did you come all the way across town to rent movies?

JOHN: This is the only place that has the complete Samurai Trilogy!

OFFICER pulls out citation book, writes a ticket. He hands it to JOHN.

JOHN: Thank you.

JOHN and MICHAEL get back in the Delta.

OFFICER: Just a minute...

OFFICER writes another citation, hands it to JOHN.

OFFICER: This one's for him.

JOHN reads citation.

JOHN: Wha...? Seat belt? You're just doing this because he's black, aren't you?

MICHAEL: Let's just get out of here -

JOHN: Look, I...

MICHAEL: Come on!

JOHN: But, Michael... but...

MICHAEL: John!

JOHN starts the car, and carefully pulls into the late evening traffic. MICHAEL looks at him.

JOHN: What? That was racist bullshit!

MICHAEL: Yeah... and who do you think he was going to shoot first?

Silence.

JOHN: You still want to get the films?

MICHAEL: Naah... Maybe some other time...

MICHAEL leans his head against the cold window, remembering -

SCENE 5

QUADRUPLE FLASHBACK:

Late night. A street in hip San Francisco.

Music - Huey Lewis and the News "POWER OF LOVE" (Hey, it's a good song!)

A used Jeep is legally parked at the side of a busy street. Inside a young man, MICHAEL (Black, male, fine as wine) is writing in the dark. Suddenly he is surrounded by blazing flashlights.

OFFICER 1(Asian, male, late twenties): FREEZE!

MICHAEL looks up, and into the barrel of a police revolver.

OFFICER 1: I HAVE A BIG BULLET FOR YOU!

Behind the car, aiming another pistol at the back of his head, OFFICER 2 (White, female, late twenties) is covering her partner.

OFFICER 2: OUT OF THE CAR!

MICHAEL: Okay, okay. I... am... getting... out... I'm... reaching... for... the.... door... handle...

The barrel of the revolver is 18 inches from MICHAEL's adorable head.

OFFICER 1: Why are you moving so slow? What are you on?

MICHAEL: I... am... moving... slowly... so... you... won't... shoot... me...

Eventually MICHAEL gets out of the car.

MICHAEL: Now, what is the...

OFFICER: ON THE GROUND! FACE DOWN!

As MICHAEL lays face down in one of the busiest, most progressive, diverse, multi-culti streets in progressive, diverse, multi-culti San Francisco, OFFICER 1 kneels in the middle of MICHAEL'S back, searching him for weapons, as OFFICER 2 keeps her gun trained on MICHAEL'S head.

OFFICER 2: Where'd you get this car?

MICHAEL: It's mine!

OFFICER 1: Do you have a license?

MICHAEL: Of course I have a license! You're not going to shoot me if I reach for it, are
you?

Both officers train their guns on him.

MICHAEL: Oh.

MICHAEL sticks his butt up in the air.

MICHAEL: It's in my back pocket.

OFFICER 1 takes wallet, looks through it as OFFICER 2 keeps MICHAEL in her sights.

MICHAEL: (Too young to know that his innocence will make no difference to police officers who know they can kill him and get away with it.) See, that's my address, right around the corner! That's my house, and that's my car!

OFFICER 1: (Pointing gun) ON THE GROUND!

MICHAEL puts his hands back up, and lays back down.

OFFICER 2: Where'd you get these registration tags?

MICHAEL: I got them the same place every other legal driver gets theirs!

OFFICER 2: The computer says this car isn't registered...

MICHAEL: (Too naive to understand that just being Black is seen as a threat to police officers, that dark skin alone is seen as a dangerous weapon .) Well your computer is wrong, because it's not stolen, and the registration is right in the-

OFFICER 1: ON THE GROUND!

MICHAEL puts his hands up, lays in the street again. OFFICER 2 takes the registration from the glove compartment, and returns to the patrol car. A crowd has formed on the sidewalk, watching as OFFICER 1 pulls MICHAEL to his knees, forcing his hands behind his head. MICHAEL notices the curious, yet approving gaze of White pedestrians and motorists .

MICHAEL: (Speaking to the crowd, because he is too unsophisticated to know that they don't care, and that all they see are Knights in Blue protecting law abiding citizens from what must be a dangerous Black man. ) It's my car! I live around the corner!

(Because if he's not dangerous, why are two police officers pointing guns at him?)

OFFICER 2 returns.

OFFICER 2: Yeah, it's in there... it's in the system... not stolen, and it's registered...

MICHAEL: I told you it was my car! Can I -

OFFICER 2: Looks like you have an outstanding parking ticket.

MICHAEL: Street cleaning - Now, can I get up now?

OFFICER 1 looks at OFFICER 2, who nods. MICHAEL gets up.

MICHAEL: Now, what was -

OFFICER 2: Put your hands behind your back, please.

OFFICER 1 cuffs MICHAEL, and begins pulling him to patrol car.

MICHAEL: But... it's my car! You- the computer -

OFFICER 2: This ticket has gone to warrant.

MICHAEL: A parking ticket?

OFFICER 2: It's a warrant.

MICHAEL: You were going to shoot me for a parking ticket?

MICHAEL is led away in cuffs, under the approving gaze of the pedestrians and motorists. A misunderstanding. The officers later said they thought there were more than one person in the car, and that MICHAEL might have had a gun.

MICHAEL did not have a gun. He had an overdue parking ticket.

And though the law states that police officers are only supposed to draw their firearms if there is an immediate threat, the officers were not prosecuted.

MICHAEL did not die.

QUADRUPLE FLASHBACK ENDS.

Traffic begins to move, and MICHAEL rides his bike into the progressive San Francisco afternoon.

TRIPLE FLASHBACK ENDS.

John eases the Delta into the foggy night, as MICHAEL stares into the progressive San Francisco night.

DOUBLE FLASHBACK ENDS.

As the MOTORCYCLE OFFICER disappears in the distance, MICHAEL gets out of the car, put a quarter in the meter, and walks down the progressive San Francisco sidewalk.

FLASHBACK ENDS.

MICHAEL is still sitting in the Cadillac. OFFICER 1 comes up to his window.

OFFICER 1: Well It looks like everything is in order. We... we pulled you over because...

MICHAEL: Yes?

OFFICER 1: When we ran your plates the number didn't come up -

MICHAEL wonders why they ran his license plate in the first place.

OFFICER 1: -But we, uh, we read it wrong. There's a piece of... the "T" looked like an "I", so it didn't come up...

MICHAEL wonders why they ran his license plate in the first place.

OFFICER: So... your father -in-law is a retired Major, and the "T" looked, there's something... it wasn't in the computers with that "I"...

MICHAEL knows why they ran his license plate in the first place.

OFFICER: Well, you have a nice day.

OFFICER 1 returns to her patrol car, as MICHAEL starts up the Cadillac, and drives into the right to marry, right to choose, right to speak, right to protest, right to do everything except be a Black guy driving down the damn street evening of self-congratulatory epicenter of circle jerking liberal Uber cool, San Francisco - where the police have killed nine unarmed Black men in the last seven years.

FADE TO BLACK