"My hard working, kind hearted, silly husband was guilty because of his skin and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it."
Mama of two, Deltha Katherine Harbin, recently posted on her Facebook a photo of her two kids with her husband Phillip Harbin. In the caption Harbin first described her husband for who he is, a loving parent who loves mac and cheese, followed by a heartbreaking incident in which he became a suspect just because of the color of his skin.
The Facebook post has been shared half a million times and gathered hundreds of comments supporting the Harbin family. Many of the comments apologize to Harbin on behalf of those police officers and many others offer prayers to the family and wish this would not happen again.
The viral Facebook post reads:
"My husband is 31 years old.
"My husband can proofread a paper to perfection! He makes the best pork chops and neck-bones.
"My husband was raised in an extremely wholesome home where they were not even allowed to watch Harry Potter.
"My husband has never tried any drugs, not even weed. He has never stolen from anyone, not even a corner store.
"My husband treats me and our sons like royalty. He serves at our local church faithfully and helps anyone he can.
"None of this stopped my husband from becoming a suspect in Semmes.
"My husband wanted to do me a favor one night when he got home late from work. He got my keys and drove around the corner to fill my tank at the gas station. While there, an older white woman was at a pump across from him and he noticed she appeared very nervous and stared at him. He said she got in her vehicle and got on her phone and pulled off to an area near the gas station. Within minutes police cars pulled in and surrounded him. He was questioned about why he was out. He was questioned about his activity earlier in the day. He was told he fit a description. They asked who's car he was driving. He was told he could not leave. He was told the description was simply a Black man. Not a 5 ft 7 inch Black man of around 220 lbs who loves WWE, macaroni and cheese, and the Temptations. Just Black. The older woman was now watching and the cops revealed she had called in his suspicious behavior of pumping gas. And now he was a suspect because he fit the description of being Black.
"He was humiliated.
"He was emasculated.
"He was angry.
"He was helpless.
"He was on his way to being cuffed when a white man stepped in.
"An older white man told the officers they were wrong and that my husband had come from a different direction than the robbery they had mentioned. The officers released my husband after this. Not because my husband told them multiple times he was innocent. Not because there were two car seats in the back of my car. My husband's voice meant nothing. The only voice that penetrated those badges was a white one.
"My hard working, kind hearted, silly husband was guilty because of his skin and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. The sight of him caused a woman to call the police.
"He said he wanted to scream.
"He wanted to fight.
"He wanted yell at the top of his lungs that he was a man and he mattered. If he had, he would be deemed aggressive.
"He would be resisting so he said he kept telling himself he had to make it home to me and the boys. He knew these men could kill him and justify it.
"He came home a changed man. I am a changed woman. We cried. We prayed and we have healed since this took place but it changed us. Issues that once felt somewhat distant became our reality. So, when you dismiss the plight of Black men in America you diminish the ever present fear within our community. You are willfully ignorant. If you think people make this up or are only apprehended by the police when they deserve it... you are part of the problem.
"Open your eyes but more importantly open your hearts to the reality of being Black in America. We don't get the luxury of ignoring it because we live it. This picture of my precious family looks threatening to some people. My boys are cuddly and cute until they aren't anymore and then they become a threat too. My heart aches for our country and I feel so helpless. Lord, please heal the hearts and minds our land!"
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