As I woke up this morning, the reality and depth of the situation started to finally set in.
Seventy-plus interviews later, my childhood friend and I are on national news because we decided to attend a presidential campaign event. My childhood friend and I are on national news because we were exercising our civic rights as Americans.
At a Donald J. Trump campaign event March 9, 2016, my friend Rakeem and I saw what being American is all about.
Being American is about being at a public place where I take my child to watch hockey games regularly becoming a beehive of hatred.
Being American is about watching law enforcement "detain" your friend for being a victim of assault.
Being American is about getting escorted out of a facility in your hometown while onlookers chant, "go home niggers."
The entire experience from beginning to end is something we never asked for. We didn't sign up for this, but yet here it lays in front of us. It has been unreal, distressing and nauseating.
One of the main thoughts that remains in my head is, What if I didn't have my camera?
Thank God I did.
It's preposterous to read other articles where the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department alludes that Rakeem may have fallen walking up the stairs into police. What a lot of people fail to realize is that Rakeem is already at the top of the stairs when he "fell."
It's equally troubling that they also say that the officers were not looking when he was struck in the face and assaulted. All 10 of them didn't see it? The armed, trained people who are charged with the task of protecting us didn't see someone strike a young man in between them?
You kind of have to laugh at that response. No apologies. No acceptance of responsibility. No acknowledgement of inaction. "He may have fell walking up the stairs" is all you get. Ignore the 10,000 people watching, countless cameras and numerous angles of that moment being captured by various spectators, because that doesn't count apparently.
A day after the assault, and a story that has captivated the nation, a sheriff's department inundated by calls and questions says, "We caught the guy."
"This is just another incident in history that will be forgot after another story of greater value emerges."
You didn't catch him when he was inflicting bodily harm on my friend while the cameras rolled?
You didn't catch him while he was doing an interview with Inside Edition inside of the Crown Coliseum saying that Rakeem deserved it, and he might "have to kill him" if he saw him again?
But you've got him now. Thanks, we feel a lot safer.
Thanks for finally doing your job at the behest of an interrogative public. Yet, we're not mad. We're not surprised.
This is just another incident in history that will be forgot after another story of greater value emerges. It's not sad. It's not upsetting.