By S. Atire

We’re living in crazy times. These days, thanks to your not-so-friendly neighborhood police officers, a casual stroll down the street could be your last. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure that a chance encounter with the hand of the law has a happy ending. Here are 5 ways to make sure a bad cop doesn’t kill you.

1. Don’t Provoke an Officer

Be aware of where you’re walking, what you’re wearing, how you’re moving and whose eyes your eyes cross. Walking anywhere besides a sidewalk can bring unnecessary attention. Wearing a hoodie or sagging pants gives off the impression that you’re either concealing something or up to no good. Also, make sure you avoid any sudden and unexpected movements that could lead an officer to believe you’re reaching into your waistband. Lastly, don’t stare at an officer as this may come off aggressive but don’t look away either as this may suggest you have something to hide.

2. Don’t Run Away

Running away when someone points a gun at you isn’t a natural reaction and suggests that you’re guilty. The fact that, since January 1, 2015, more Black men have been shot than the number of days in the year so far, shouldn’t cloud your judgement of the situation. Stay calm while facing the barrel of the cop’s gun, even if you’re being screamed at and verbally assaulted, and nothing drastic should happen to you. Remember, you have absolutely nothing to fear if you haven’t committed a crime. Cops only draw their guns to reassure citizens that they’re actively protecting and serving the people.

3. Play Dead

However, If you’ve been shot by an officer but haven’t died yet, feel free to play dead. Cops have been known to keep shooting at someone after they’ve already fallen to the ground so playing dead sends the message that you no longer pose a risk. Once the officer is calm, you can inform them that you’re still alive and clear up any misunderstadings that may have ensued from this interaction.

4. Stop Being Black

Being black can sometimes be a problem. The last thing you want to do is threaten a cop with your blackness as this may automatically trigger anxiety for them.  Understand how much an officer has to face everyday and help minimize their stress by eliminating anything which could be perceived as abrasive or imposing such as your skin, your height, your weight or the tone of your voice. Many officers live outside of the communities they patrol and aren’t comfortable with the population they’re in charge of overseeing. Toning down your blackness can make a cop feel more at ease and less likely to shoot you.

5. Don’t Breathe

Some cops have been known to be suspicious of people who breathe. While breathing is important, when interacting with law enforcement, breathing can sometimes appear confrontational and send the message that you’re a potential threat. To avoid any possible conflicts with an officer, hold your breath as long as you can in order to show that you have no problem cooperating with them. Data shows that cops are more comfortable with non-breathing people as they tend to get less resistance from them.

These 5 tips should help you prevent a tragedy and hopefully keep you alive to see another day. Good luck. When satire becomes reality…