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What Makes Black Men Run From the Police?

In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. The revelation that Cleveland police officials didn’t review the checkered history of a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy highlights what some describe as an unnerving truth about policing -- there’s no universal standard for how deeply a department should dig into its recruits’ pasts. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)
In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

(The Root) – It’s never much of a surprise when I hear it, but it stings all the same. Freddie Gray would be alive today if only he hadn’t inexplicably sprinted down his West Baltimore street. As would Walter Scott, the African-American man who was shot in the back in South Carolina fleeing a white police officer who then made an unsuccessful attempt to frame Scott for provoking his own destruction.

If only Sandra Bland hadn’t been so rude and had put out her cigarette when asked, no matter her constitutionally protected rights to both. If only Samuel DeBose had not tried to pull his car away from a Cincinnati university officer who then proceeded to empty a shell into his skull.

If only.

The question persists: Why do they run? Why do they run? Why don’t they just cooperate with the police? This is America, after all: a country where one is presumed innocent until proved guilty.

I know why. I am a black man, and I have been arrested. I am also a husband and father of three, a lawyer, a former White House aide and now a candidate for Congress.

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