Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2018
Hated it.
What a missed opportunity by the author to present a book that challenges misconceptions....ON BOTH SIDES. This book was completely biased and 100% anti-police. So biased I almost quit halfway through but persevered at 2.0X speed on Audible just in case there was some redemption by the end. Nope.
Facts:
-The fictional victim and his friend have to quickly leave a party WHERE SOMEONE IS MURDERED during a fight. This is the neighborhood at the center of the story. It’s extremely dangerous. (Note that the characters in the book don’t ever discuss or consider that any police in the area that night are likely well aware that a shooting has just taken place at a party...and are probably a little on edge because of it)
-The victim was a drug dealer and was, at a minimum, affiliated with active gangs. (Later, they downplay this fact with a story about how he is only doing it to help his Mom. Well, apparently his Mom also wanted him to get those new fancy shoes and jewelry.) Yes, it would not be possible for the policeman to know he was a drug dealer during the traffic stop. No, it’s not directly relevant to the fact that he was shot. But again, context matters, and the context of this neighborhood is one where there are a relatively high percentage of gang members and drug dealers. In other words, it is dangerous.
-Once pulled over the victim was evasive and refused to answer basic, standard questions that are not unusual for a traffic stop (“Where ya coming from” and he answers “Nunya (business)”. The policeman asked him to get out of the vehicle, he didn’t immediately comply and was pulled from the vehicle.
-The victim was unarmed
-It was nighttime
-The victim opened the car door and was leaning back inside while the policeman returned to his vehicle to check the ID
-The policeman then clearly overreacted and shot him multiple times.
The policeman overreacted. Yes. I think most people will agree with this. The problem I have with the book is the level to which he was proclaimed a Murderer with a capital M. The author doesn’t understand what murder means.
His overreaction is totally apparent in HINDSIGHT only. What was he thinking in the moment? When he had a split second to react, and didn’t know what this person (acting evasively) was reaching into his car to grab? What would YOU or I do in this situation? Its easy to sit on your couch when reading an Amazon review and think “well, I would assume the best of the situation and not overreact”. In the moment? Doubtful. Police are humans, after all. Some are bad, no question. The majority are not. This book does a poor job of exploring the possibility that he was scared for his life in that moment.
I can’t imagine a more dangerous situation for a police officer. It’s nighttime. You are in an area that is known to be extremely violent. Any interaction is going to be possibly dangerous and potentially deadly. All facts that are so well understood by the characters in the story that they MOVE OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD BY THE END OF THE BOOK DUE TO SAFETY CONCERNS.
So we establish that the neighborhood is unbelievably dangerous. We also establish that the victim did not deserve to die at any level. But we should also the say that a police officer during a traffic stop doesn’t know a person’s intentions. A police officer doesn’t know who is in the car, doesn’t know what they are going to do. Especially under these circumstances...It is reasonable for me to understand that a police officer thought his life was in danger when the driver suddenly reached back into his car unexpectedly.
Are there bad police officers in the world? Of course. Are there bad neighborhoods that create situations that cause police to be more on edge in potentially dangerous situations? That’s true too. You’re an idiot if you think otherwise.
The story was fine and the characters were mostly likeable. A lot of cliches. Bad writing (oh, the rose bush that the dad keeps tending to represents the family! ...Eye roll...)
It was an easy read. But I was hoping for a book that would challenge preconceived notions on both sides. Total failure.
At best, this is a book that should just be ignored. At worst, it is dangerous and furthers a broken mindset where police are the enemy. The central character is a hero at the end for throwing tear gas at the police? The police that are in her neighborhood trying to stop rioters from burning down businesses? Nothing in this book makes sense.
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