It was the past year being filled with wall-to-wall news coverage focusing on police-involded deaths of unarmed black men, from Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to Christian Taylor in Arlington, Texas, that encouraged attorney Eric Broyles and his friend Officer Adrian Jackson to write a how-to handbook called Encounters with Police: A Black Man’s Guide to Survival.
That many of the past year’s high-profile police-involved deaths of black men stemmed from traffic stops turned deadly — and that Jackson and Broyles are both black — they believe their advice is vital and relevant.
“Bad incidents can happen to any person of any race or gender,” Broyles told NPR, “but we believe that black men are at a particular risk.”
Jackson and Broyles say the crux of the book boils down to four words: “Comply now, contest later.”
“Many people in the minority communities—African-Americans and Latinos—recognize that in the instance where they do not comply, they are putting themselves at great risk. Not always, but since you don’t know whether you are getting a true professional or a bad—a rogue—cop, I would err on the side of complying,” Broyles says.
The book includes a chapter tilted “Police Are Human beings.” “I wanted to humanize police officers,” Broyles said, “because I don’t think most people take into account that police officers get shot at on the job.”
The 106-page primer also includes instructions to follow if you believe your Constitutional rights have been violated by a police officer.
When it comes to conducting a safe police encounter, Broyles says the burden belongs to both officer and civilian.
“I think it’s a shared burden. So the tips and the pointers that I am suggesting for citizens to follow in no way absolves police officers from acting professionally,” he explains.