Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Verdict...Continued

I woke up that Friday morning much the same as any Friday: thrilled that it was Friday, happy to have the weekend upon me. I had to teach two classes and then I was done for the day. Simple. Roc had to work all weekend, but I had some heavy plans with the couch and the dog, and the truth was that I was looking forward to hogging the remote.
I walked into the gym and began my usual greetings towards the members: "Are you ready to kick some buttocks?" I am the epitome of PUNNY, and I was having a chat with someone when something caught my eye on one of the flat screens hanging high in front of the treadmills. I saw the crawl at the bottom of the screen...OFFICERS ACQUITTED IN DEAN RELL CASE...and my heart skipped a beat. I said excuse me and made my way towards the television. The verdict had just come in, and the police officers were walking down the courthouse steps. I kept taking in the information, and as each word made its appearance across the screen, I felt a barrage of emotions pressing down on me. I was happy for the officers and their families. I'm sure they had just let out a big exhale. But I felt trepidation and fear coming to call; I realized that even though the verdict might be in, that this might not be over.

Time to teach. When I am teaching a class, I am utterly focused on the task at hand and therefore cannot worry. It's a good thing. By the time I was done, I had almost forgotten my concern, but then the TV assaulted me once again. More information was coming out; Al Sharpton was calling for a weekend of protest and civil disobedience in New York City. The judge's statement came forth: he found that the police officers' version of events was more credible than the victims' version, and that prosecutors had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the shootings were unjustified.
So I made my way home and said good-bye to Roc as he got ready to leave. I told him to keep in touch, then did a few things around the house before settling in to watch some television. I turned on the TV and the story was still at the top of the news cycle. I watched a few minutes and then told myself to turn it off.
Soon after Roll Call, the home phone rang and I lunged to get it. It was Roc. Weird. He rarely called me from work.
"Hey! How's it going?" I was happy to hear from him.
He hesitated.
"Get this. I mean, I don't know if I should be telling you this, but..." he sounded unsure, and very unlike himself. He took a deep breath. "We had Gang Intel at Roll Call tonight. Apparently the word on the street is that the gangs are looking to shoot a cop tonight in retaliation for the verdict. The Lieutenant advised us all to go out in fours; two at the least. We're not even allowed to walk to our cars alone at the end of shift." He made an unintelligible noise.
"Roc, please be careful. PLEASE."
"I will."

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