No.Because if he can't do simple things like this
, you shouldn't be able to, either.
Tim Duncan admits, with some embarrassment, that his house on Eddy Street in Newton is in a prime location, not far from Whole Foods and Trader Joeâ€™s on Washington Street.
â€œYeah, Iâ€™m a true suburbanite now,â€ said Duncan of his grocery habits. â€œMy friends back in Memphis are probably like, â€˜What the hell are you doing?â€â€™
The 50-year-old, who is not related to the former NBA star of the same name, and his wife decided to walk to Whole Foods on May 20 after a day spent packing up that Eddy Street residence. Last year, Duncan left his job as a deputy athletic director at Northeastern to accept a gig as the athletic director at the University of New Orleans. His family stayed behind in Newton as his son finished out his senior year.
That afternoon, around 5:45 p.m., a Newton police officer sat in his cruiser nearby. He was staking out a home believed to be connected to the suspect in the fatal shooting of Derek Fitzpatrick, which had occurred in Dorchester two days earlier. Both Duncan and the suspect are Black men.
â€œThereâ€™s a party meeting the description of the party we are looking for,â€ the officer radioed when he saw Duncan. Seconds later, the officer announced, â€œWe have him surrounded.â€
Four police cruisers descended on Duncan and his wife. One of the five officers drew his gun. Another asked for Duncanâ€™s identification. Duncan knew better than to reach into his pocket. The fates of Amadou Diallo â€” shot 41 times after New York City police mistook his wallet for a gun â€” and countless others killed as they tried to comply with orders have informed a code of conduct for Black men dealing with police in fraught situations, he said.
So Duncan instead nodded downward, signaling for a nearby officer to retrieve his wallet. The officers quickly realized he was not the suspect. The detective apologized. The cruisers pulled away.
â€œThe party checks out,â€ an officer told dispatch. â€œThanks for your help.â€
The scene â€” which lasted less than four minutes â€” appeared in the Newton police call logs as nothing more than a brief investigation on Eddy Street. The intended suspect, Yaliek Allah-Barnes, was taken into custody the next day as he exited the home under surveillance in Newton. After the incident, Duncan and his wife continued onto Whole Foods, then returned home to tell their kids what happened and hammer home that code of conduct, or what Duncan calls â€œthe talk.â€
Five days later, a Black man named George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on Floydâ€™s neck for nearly nine minutes. A friend called Duncan. â€œHe could have been you,â€ he said.
...the Newton Police Department and the cityâ€™s mayor reached out to Duncan and apologized.
â€œI understand why he spoke out. He should have. His voice is another important part of the powerful chorus protesting racism and injustice in our country,â€ said Mayor Ruthanne Fuller in a statement.
Duncan admits he buried his experience with the Newton police initially because, as a Black man, he has come to expect hostile interactions with police. At least twice in his life, he has had officers conduct regular traffic stops with their guns drawn. Every time, the words â€œdonâ€™t move or make sudden movementsâ€ play in his mind. He has taught, with anguish, his three children that same message as early as age 12.
â€œItâ€™s not OK that just because Iâ€™m a tall Black man walking one block from his house, that Iâ€™m pulled over and [they] say that I fit a profile of a murder suspect just because he was tall,â€ he said in the YouTube video.
In her statement, [Newton Mayor] Fuller wrote, â€œI know there is systemic racism in our society. None of us are immune. I am not immune. Newton is not immune, and the Newton Police Department is not immune.â€
She added that the police department would be updating its use of force policy to ban chokeholds and to require officers to intervene when witnessing excessive force, as well as reevaluating its training for officers.
It matters not to you and me - but for the oppressed in society?
Every. Damn. Day.