Justice

Woman's Emotional Response to Being Pulled Over By Police Is Going Viral

June 27th 2017

By:
Katelyn Harrop

A woman’s emotional Facebook video taken after being pulled over by a police officer is standing as reminder of the fear felt by people of color when interacting with law enforcement.

On June 1, Ayanna Reid Cruver posted a video to Facebook where she detailed how she was pulled over by a police officer while driving home from a Louisiana air force base. Cruver explained in the video, which has over 1 million views, the fear she felt when the officer pulled up behind her and motioned for her to get out of her car.

“The whole time I’m thinking, do I get out of the car, do I not get out of the car,” she said in the video.

After she got out of her car, the officer explained that he “just wanted to check on her” because she had been driving under the speed limit, which can be indicative of inebriation or tired driving.

"The whole time I'm thinking, do I get out of the car, do I not get out of the car​."

“He said, ‘I was just checking on you,’ and as he said that, I just broke down crying, and I told him, I said, ‘I was so scared,’” Cruver tearfully explained in the video. “I never thought that in that situation I would feel fearful, but I legitimately felt horrified. How awful to be stopped by the police and feel that scared.”

“He just kept saying, ‘please don’t cry, please don’t cry, I was just checking on you, and I just wanted you to be safe,'” Cruver continued. “He just gave me a hug and told me to be safe and take care.”

Cruver’s powerful retelling of what happened to her has received more than 3,000 comments.

Cruver is not alone in her fear of police.

Nationwide, confidence in police reached a 22 year low in 2015, with 18 percent of Americans across demographics saying they had very little or no confidence in police. In a similar 2014 poll, a quarter of all black Americans said they had little or no confidence in police.

While research analysis on this topic is in the relatively early stages, a growing body of work shows that knowledge of increasing deaths and attacks towards racial minorities, especially black communities, at the hands of police, has created a growing culture of fear around interactions between people of color and law enforcement.

Monnica Williams, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville explained this relationship to HuffPost.

“When you’re part of a stigmatized community, so much of your identity is tied up in that community… and when you see other people like you who are being victimized, it makes you feel that the world’s not a safe place for people like you,” she explained.

Research also suggests that fear and stress associated with racist interactions can lead to lasting physical and mental health concerns ranging from high blood pressure to the clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I am very supportive of law enforcement and I have always known that there are good officers out there and I'm sure they outnumber the bad ones. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell which one you are encountering until the entire scene plays out. That is what is so scary for so many of us,” Cruver wrote on June 2 in a follow up post to her video. “How awful that instead of feeling safe when we (some of us) see the police we feel as though our lives may be in danger. There are so many lessons in experiences such as this one...for civilians and for law enforcement.”

Read Cruver's full Facebook post below.