I had no intention of telling this story here.
Independence Day is Thursday, and I thought I might talk about the meaning of freedom in the age of Trump. Refugees are imprisoned in squalor on our southern border, the government balking at providing them toothpaste and soap, and I thought I might talk about the diminution of compassion in the age of Trump.
But the story of how I ended up in handcuffs on my front lawn in the dark hours of Sunday morning had, I felt, been well and truly told by multiple media outlets and needed no further explanation from me. Then I thought of all the times panicky, out-of-control police officers have left unarmed black people traumatized, wounded and dead in the last few years. And I thought of something people keep reminding me: My story easily could have had a much different ending.
So I guess there is something I need to say. First, though, a recap for those who are feeling as if they came in on the middle of a movie:
Sunday morning at 4:48, I was awakened by a call from the police department in Bowie, the D.C. suburb where I live. It seems a 911 caller told them I had murdered my wife and vowed to kill police when they responded. My “murdered” wife sat up in confusion as the caller ordered me to stay on the phone and exit the house. I opened my front door into blinding spotlights and an amplified voice instructing me to drop my phone and walk forward, hands away from my body, then go down on my knees, whereupon I was cuffed and taken to stand behind a police cruiser.