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Man’s Facebook post about traffic stop goes viral

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TUCSON, Ariz. — A man’s Facebook post about a recent traffic stop is going viral.

Steven Hildreth Jr. says he was pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a broken headlight. When the officer asked if he had any weapons, he told him he is a concealed carry permit holder and had a gun on his right hip.

Because his wallet was in his back-right pocket, the officer needed to disarm him to check his ID. Hildreth wrote about his experience with the officer and posted it to his Facebook page.

Hildreth’s Facebook post has been shared more than 135,000 times.

So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.

The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.

“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”

The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.

Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.

Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”

I smile. “Thank you, sir.”

I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.

Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.

I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.

#BlueLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter


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81 comments

  • TheDailyPainter

    I like this. Isn’t this what Chris Rock was talking about in his video of a few years ago? Act like an adult, treat the officers with respect, don’t get snarky with them (especially if you’re packin’) and everyone will walk away unharmed. They have a tough job to do and yes, there are a few bad apples in the bunch. But, a little respect will go a long ways.

    • DJ

      “Act like people do” ?? What people? I don’t act disrespectful, threatening, or entitled when I’m pulled over nor do my kids. I was taught reflect and I taught my children the same.
      “Paid handsomely ” ??My brother and several members of my family are police officers. They are NOT paid a fraction of what someone would have to pay me to lay my life on the line daily and deal with what they have to. They see the most devastating things such as murder, child abuse, horrific accidents and deaths and must handle it and go on. I just can’t stand to see stupidity like this and not comment. Ignorance is a menace to a civilized society.

    • Ruthless D

      I see you are a, what: 4 or 5 year old child so, little girl. Your ignorance is forgiven. Please don’t go out among people until you learn more though. Now, hon, it’s past your bedtime isn’t it?

    • JOHN C. ROBINSON

      I am a black man. In my neighborhood of SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES the Blacks use as excuse to disrespect police,because of the history of slavery. I have been stopped by police,about 24 times in my life of 60 YEARS.I always treated all officers with respect and be courteous. NO PROBLEMS ! I observe other BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN immediately start to disrespect police officers as they are approached by officers. BLACKS do not COMPLY with orders of officers. Blacks in SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES have no idea or can conceive that we are in a SOCIETY. As long as Blacks do not PARENT the children, as a society we will always have a PROBLEM with POLICE. BEST EXAMPLE THE ABOVE VIDEO of how to treat POLICE with RESPECT. THEY ARE HUMAN TOO ! ALSO want to comment on our BLACK WOMEN, I do not DATE or MARRY any more. IT IS LIKE HAVING A MAN IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP. NOT FEMININE AT ALL ! THE BACK FAMILY LACKS PARENTING. PLEASE UNDERSTAND. THANKS. JOHN C. ROBINSON, A BLACK MAN.

      • Steve White

        BILL, I am so glad to see that someone else shares my point of view. I have written many times: We are all Americans. How can anyone not be proud to be simply an American? “American” is not a race of people. “American” is brotherhood of people of all races whose home is The United States Of America. Adding a prefix such as “African-“, “Afro-” or “Latino-” creates a label which only serves to segregate. Segregation is the absolute opposite of United. It is a sad fact though that we have become just that – The Segregated States of America. I hope 3 billion people read what I just wrote, disagree with it, and set out to prove me wrong. In order to do that, they would have to prove that we are United. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone would drop the custom labels and wear only one label – The “American” label. Thank you Bill for posting such an important comment. My people are Americans and you are “My People”.

      • Thomas Kirby

        This is so truly messed up. If it is OK for them to dominate you, beat you, throw you around, and do what they do when you “disrespect” them, then you are only submitting to threats that should not exist. I have no sympathy for them using that kind of physical aggression against people for simply not wanting to obey them. Or for you.

  • Bob Shuler

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I too am a CCW carrier. As soon as I see the lights come on behind me; I have both hands out the window! They’ve already ran my plates and know that I am a CCW handler. Professionalism goes BOTH WAYS! (It was a license plate light out)

  • Simply Me

    Seriously, if you act like you wanna get shot, you will get shot. Don’t wanna get shot, quit acting like it. It doesn’t even matter what color you are, it’s a matter of respect.

  • terri

    Thank you for sharing! I have been saying what you said for a long time! If you treat people with respect and don’t break the law you will not have a problem no matter your skin color! Officers are human too and are there to protect and serve, if you cause problems then you should expect trouble, don’t cause problems and respect officers when stopped then you are fine!

  • Patricia Lawrence

    I was pulled over for doing 42 in a 30 mph zone. The officer ask for my ID and my license. I respectively gave him both. He went back to the squad car, ran my information. He came back and told me to be sure to slow down on the street and said on his report I was only doing 35 in the 30 mph zone. He bade me a good day. I thanked him and was able to drive away without any conflict.

  • LJensen

    The moral of the story is the gentleman acted with respect and cooperated with instructions…… All the recent issues would never gave occurred had the people involved done that… Parents teach your children well…..

    • Ray

      Saying ALL recent events would have turned out well if the people the cops were dealing with had cooperated is a bit much.. Did you not see the guy that the cop shot for doing exactly what he was told? I’m not saying all cops are bad or all suspects are good but there is definitely room for both sides to improve.

  • Silvia

    I agree with you. If you treat others with respect and professionalism you should always receive back same treatment. If you treat police in aggressive behavior they are going to be aggressive back to you!!!

  • misslady482

    Great story…..BUT… Police officers still shouldn’t be killing black people or mistreating them… Even if someone is disrespectful. Since when does being mouthy warrant being slammed around, shot, or killed? Disrespect is not a reason for death. I have much respect for law enforcement, but because I’m white and a woman, will never be treated like someone who is black. Military members typically get a “pass” if you will…and probably black men traveling with someone white. As sad as this is, the label is there and the thought process is “oh they are a good one”. Yes, it’s true…people are ashamed to admit it, but that’s the thought. Not too many white people are even aware of white privilege. But believe me, it is real. For everyone one of these stories, there are likely dozens of stories of police mistreatment towards black people. it’s been going on for years… The only thing is now we know about them…thanks to social media. I’m glad you weren’t disrespectful or didn’t have any issues. Many police officers are wonderful. We do need them. We can’t lose sight though…the answer to a disrespectful citizen, specifically black people, can’t be violence or death. Thanks for sharing!

    • mike

      Ahhhhh….there’s always one. I actually scrolled the comments looking for you my friend. There is mistreatment towards everyone not just black individuals. I’m white and I’ve had issues with cops and guess what, every time I was being rude so I deserved it. When I’ve been respectful they’ve been respectful. When I was respectful and they weren’t, I kept my mouth shut because I was raised to do so. Hopefully you raise your kids to be respectful because guess what, if they are white and police mistreat them, no one will give a shit.

  • Michelle

    I went to hit “reply” and somehow the “report comment” button was hit. I’m sorry, there’s obviously nothing inappropriate with your comment. I simply wanted to say that, yes, ccw permits show up when they run your license plates, which is why the officers ask about weapons first, for safety of everyone involved. It is protocol to secure the weapon until the traffic stop is complete.

  • Paul

    In this case, he was cool, and the officer was cool, so there weren’t any issues. The issue usually arises when one of the two sides are jerks, and there’s always an issue when both sides are jerks.

  • Debbe

    Respect goes a thousand miles…….when you are a boss talking to an employee, a driver talking to a police officer, a spouse talking to his or her partner but most of all…… A parent teaching their child. Respect human lives and the positions these humans hold and what part they play in your life!

  • Chris S.

    This is a great story. I have been a beneficiary of wonderful policing as well. However, I’m skeptical to believe this actually happened as written. I’m not sure whether any of you ever heard of the TV show newsroom, a great HBO series, season one, episode 7, “5/1″… Terry Crews is a private security guard who’s arrested on the street after his client jumped out of the car. Terry Crews used those exact wording as Steven alleged to have used. Steven is right, there are more great police officers than bad ones. However using an excerpt from a tv drama as his own experience is not only deceiving it’s an insult to the American people. #protectintellectualproperty

  • Paula Pounders Turner

    I would like to thank this man for posting this. I feel, in my heart, 95% of all police officers are good decent men with families they love and are just doing their job, which by the way we as a nation would be in big trouble without them. I have been with my husband when he has been stopped and he treated them just with respect and said yes sir and no sir when they ask a question. They are in authority and doing a job. If you think they have been unfair, go to court and state your reason because sometimes under certain circumstances they will be understanding. Why I am getting at is you never argue or disrespect an officer because that is just plain stupid. You are not going to win. Show respect and most of the time when people are stopped it is for a truly valid reason. They have broken a law. We should be thankful for our policemen. They are who we call when we need help!!!!!

  • Faylene Gostanian

    Arizona is a much, more liberal state when it comes to firearms. The carry laws aren’t as stringent so the police aren’t looking as hard for infringements. They aren’t all up in your face making you feel like they are out to get you. I lived in Phoenix for ten years after twenty in Florida and twenty one in Pennsylvania. I like Arizonas attitude the best.

  • #copslivesmatter

    Thank you for sharing, especially in light of all things happening, I’m am from a suburb of St Louis and have witnessed a lot of tension between officers and citizens…..don’t know how to solve it, but police are just as afraid of being shot AT when they approach highly intense situations, and if suspects (ANYONE) are acting irrational, being charged, threatened with a gun, a physical fight, or blatant disregard for a command, then they should expect necessary action against them. I was stopped for an EXPIRED TAG, was very respectful to the female officer and she still was rude and condescending. And I, still-out of habit- said thank you when she handed me the ticket!

  • mjcc

    well this is a great story and all, i cant help but notice the second thing they asked this young BLACK man was ‘are you carrying a weapon?’ .. yeah, thats not racial profiling at all.. ive been pulled over before and ive NEVER been asked if i was carrying a weapon. and im aboriginal.

  • peppermint patty

    There are plenty of white people who are victims of excessive police force. Whether they deserved it or not, I’m not sure, common sense says to keep your mouth shut when you get in trouble with the law. There will always be racist cops as long as we have racist people, some of the most racist people I have encountered are not Caucasian though….

  • Dannette Sharpley (@CallMeDSharp)

    I think it’s great that this person had a safe and respectful interaction with police officers. The problem with generalizing his story as the norm is that the numbers show this experience is not common to all people. As a black woman, I, too, have had interactions with law enforcement that didn’t end in my death. None of that negates the reality that we are disproportionately targeted for traffic stops. That we are disproportionately impacted by policing, racial profiling, police brutality. That our rights garner less respect and protection from the state than white folks. These are undeniable facts that are not in dispute by credible, knowledgeable, people. None at all. It’s not about a narrative being promoted by some particular movement or voice. Its about the reality of black life in America. And it’s not about individual cops being racist and seeking out black people to violate. At least, it’ not ONLY about that. We can’t lose sight of the systemic issues, the implicit biases, that perpetuate these race disparities in policing and law enforcement. The ones that make it just as likely for a BLACK police officer to be implicated in these situations as a white one.

    The problem with personal anecdotes like these is that we generalize them and think we can ignore or be silent in the face of hard facts and realities that tell a different story. Denying the fact that black people (and Indigenous folks) are far more likely to have their rights violated by cops than other groups doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. There are more stories, personal accounts, being told online right now by black folks who have had the exact opposite kinds of situations dealing with police officers. Far more If we take this personal account at face value, we believe this person and we appreciate what they’ve shared. Why, then, can’t we take the overwhelming word of black folks everywhere (and the statistics that support their narratives) at face value and trust their voices, as well? Why not? I mean, I think I know why not, but I’m still asking the question. If you are personally willing to sift through, discredit, negate, and dismiss the narratives that black folks share over and over and over about their lived experiences, even when the numbers support those stories. But, shove all of that aside and say, these one or two folks who have had different experiences, THEY’RE the ones I believe… What does that mean about the value of black voices and truths?

    And, this story about “respectability” as a way to avoid having a cop kill you for no reason is just dangerous. As other comments have stated, the price of rudeness and disrespect of a police officer should not be one’s physical safety. Or one’s life. That is not how the law works. And, if it’s not how the law works for white people, why should it be that way for others?

  • Krista

    I am happy to hear this gentleman’s positive encounter with the Tucson Police Department. Having been raised in Phoenix as an Asian American woman, we constantly get a bad reputation for a large majority of our police officers, especially ones working on immigration issues. It’s not to often you hear minorities in the states share police encounters with words of equality and respect. So, I applaud all participants in this situation. What bothers me about this article is knowing that most readers are missing the point completely. After reading the comments I can confirm it. Being born with dark skin in this nation is not a crime. Although, looking at our nations current facts and history you see cases of police violence and murder directed specifically towards black folks. The point is this we commend law enforcers who protect us and keep individuals accountable in a lawful manner, but also acknowledge there are real evil police officers that abuse their position of power. For people who comment “just act respectful and you will receive respect.” This is a way of you dismissing fellow human beings who are scared for their lives, scared because someone is judging them on their color of their skin and not the soul that makes us all human.
    #blacklivesmatter #alllivematerduh #humanfirst

  • Kete

    This is bunk. Everyone knows there are good and bad officers, just like good and bad people. However in this type of situation, (for minorities) it’s not as smooth sailing as this particular incident and I know first hand as I too am a minority and CCW holder. I have served my country as a marine and as of 6/22/14 (since ive been back home) I have been confronted a number of 18 times about my weapon. Three were just and the other 15 resulted in handcuffs, face on the ground and interrogation, 3 I have filled suit because of the plain outright disrespect and unprofessional manner. Four of the time’s I had my 6 year old daughter with me. (Great example of justice in front of a child) if you are a minority, does make a difference and that’s a living testimony….

  • Katie Donovan

    Only one problem: Cops should just do their jobs. Firefighters, EMT’s, Doctors, Veterinarians, Nurses….all those people just do their jobs. And they all actually save lives directly on a very regular basis, yet there are no political lobbies funded to the tune of billions just to speak for them. (Doctors are not drug companies) No one throws them a Doctor’s Ball or a Firefighter’s Gala…..and why not?
    But cops are given such license to act in society that their increased power must be tempered with increased accountability.
    So while you may not, and should not be, held responsible if your co-worker is caught embezzling money from the company, that is because you have no duty to report it, only not to collude in it.
    But cops swear an oath; to the Governor but also to the People who will allow them to walk among us with that extra power in exchange not only for what benefit doing so can have for us, but also for a promise not to abuse that power.
    Any time there is any police officer who knows of corruption and does not speak up, even at risk of their job, then that officer and all others are complicit in a crime.
    In other words, as long as there is one bad cop, they are all bad until that one is ousted.
    THAT is the meaning of the oath they swore, and any one of them keeping silent behind that Blue Wall is in willful violation of that oath, and so are conspirators.

    • Terri

      I hit comment not realizing it was to report comment. I should’ve hit reply. I’m sorry for that. What I wanted to say is that I 100% agree with your statement. Do so called good cops ever report bad cops? I can’t recall any doing so.

  • Carlos Sanchez

    Congratulations on getting your 15 minutes of fame bro. But nobody is enacting that all cops are bad because some of their counterparts are bad seeds. There are bad seeds out there itching to be those two officers that pulled you so they can harass you. Glad you made it alive and you weren’t discriminated against. God Bless!

  • Lougjr1

    Thank you Steven Hildreth for your honesty and deciding to tell it like it is. The truth ! In so many cases you can see that when some black people get pulled over , they get into a confrontation and get defensive and arrogant instead of being cooperative and respect authority. I do believe that some black people and some white people just can’t handle authority !

  • Ralph P.

    Steven, good for you and good for the two officers who made the traffic stop. All three if you prove the process works when everyone involved is respectful of each other and the motorist is compliant to the requests of a police officer. They are doing a very important but dangerous job for us. The system is not perfect but it does work and has professional people walking the talk every day. Cheers to all three of you, truly the good guys, which we desperately need today.

  • michael moraga

    Bunk? Seriously? Yes, people should always interact with others with respect, particularly police officers. However, the take away here is that there are good, professional cops, not that the experience of other people of color who are the victim of police violence in other States is bunk. It’s great to hear about good cops. They deserve praise for doing good work because they have a difficult job. Likewise, bad cops who murder and endanger others need to be removed from duty. Yes, they exist, and the problems of institutionalized racism are a corrupt, militarized police culture that harbors bad cops is not a made-up. No, Mr. Hildreth, the facts show that the notion is not bunk.

  • Bird

    Treating a police officer in a disrespectful manner is not a capital offense. This is exactly the problem: the biggest crime in the U.S. is disrespecting a police officer. They should be trained to keep their cool even if someone is rude and disresoecttful to them.

  • Karen Hermansen

    Obviously these were professional and outstanding police officers. Plus, this man did all the right things, and yes, this should be publicized, and I believe that the majority of police officers are like this. However, we connot ignore the ones who do use violence against innocent people, most of them being minorities. Sadly, too many of them get away with it.

  • K

    Most are good cops. Unfortunately the bad ones or poorly trained ones beat up and kill people. It is possible to respect and support the good ones, and try to ensure bad ones get weeded out, which takes participation by the good ones

  • David J. Biviano

    Thank you for this account about an appropriate encounter with police, acting professionally and in keeping with training. Consider, however, that you may have experienced the luck of the draw. Speaking of the draw, let us consider that, having acknowledge that you were carrying on your right hip, instead of explaining that your wallet was in your right rear pocket, you had started to retrieve your wallet, and he thought you were reaching for your gun . . . Same outcome? Hopefully, yes, he would tell you to stop, he needed to disarm you. I am glad you are alive and well, and that, true, most cops are professional and appropriate. Yet, this in no way discounts the too many other stories and outcomes.

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