Monday, December 15, 2014

White Cop Won't Arrest Black Thief

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In cities across America the demonstrations continued yesterday with the chant, "Hands Up Don't Shoot."

Al Sharpton, the headlines read, "Leads Thousands in Nation's Capitol for the 'Justice For All Rally'."

The Seattle Times  reported last night that "Two hours before the Seahawks-49ers kick off, a crowd of demonstrators at Century Link Field had swelled to 400 people chanting 'Black Lives Matter, Not Just On The Field'."

While thousands are marching and chanting, some are actually carrying out deeds of goodness and compassion. Acts that are meeting needs and changing lives.

In fact, a white cop decided against arresting a black thief this past week. A passer by caught part of the actions on video taken with his iPhone.

Generally the media failed to even mention it. Fortunately the video was posted on Facebook.

Here's what happened.

Last Saturday, white officer William Stacy of the Tarrant, Alabama Police Department was called to investigate an attempted theft by a black woman at a local Dollar General Store.

After finding out why Helen Johnson, a 47 year old mother and grandmother, was trying to steal---and what she was trying to steal, Johnson decided against arresting her. The store told Johnson they were not going to press charges.

Johnson's two daughters, a niece and two grandchildren ages 1 and 3 live with her in her home and they have been struggling financially.

Johnson thought she could get a dozen eggs for $1.25, which is all she had to her name. When she got in the store she realized the eggs were $1.50 plus tax.

In desperation she took 5 eggs from the carton and put them in her pocket. The eggs were crushed in her pocket before she could leave the store. An employee saw the incident, stopped Johnson and called police.

When Officer Stacy arrived, the store management told him they did not intend to press charges.

Stacy, in an act of genuine and constructive kindness, decided he would not arrest the woman but see how he could help her.

In talking with her he realized she was desperate, simply trying to feed her family.

Johnson says, "Obviously I wasn't a very good thief."

She said, "I thought they were going to put handcuffs on me."

After asking her to promise never to steal again, the officer walked back into the store and bought a dozen eggs and gave them to the lady.

When Johnson saw the officer returning with a dozen eggs for her she started crying and apologizing. She tried to give him her $1.25.

She says, "I was like, 'Oh my God, thank you Jesus for this man. He is my hero'."

A passerby, a man named Robert "Dollar" Trip watched the heart warming moment while capturing it on video. He went home and put it on Facebook.

Johnson went home and fed her family with the dozen eggs. They also had a part loaf of bread. It was the first thing they had eaten since Thursday---this was Saturday.

Officer Stacy went on his way, responding to his next assignment. He says within a couple of hours his phone was blowing up by friends and co-workers calling saying they had seen the video on Facebook.

As of Tuesday morning, Helen Johnson's family was down to their last slice of bread.

That same morning the police showed up in front of her house. She said, "I was shook and so scared---I thought about the eggs. My grandbaby said 'Are you going to jail?' and I said I hoped not."

The officers took her to headquarters, telling her they were helping her sign up for the annual toy drive and that they had clothing and other items for her and her family.

Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno says people who have seen the event on video are contacting the police department and sending food and donations to the department to be distributed to Helen Johnson and others like her in need. He says he's getting calls from as far away as Canada.

Reno said this outpouring of kindness is not only meeting real needs in the community, but is helping speak to the growing racial tensions in the country.

He says, "A guy from New York called him and just broke down. He said for two months he's been angry with police, and said this has totally changed his mind."

This past Wednesday Officer Stacy and another officer was able to deliver two truck loads of food to the home of Helen Johnson.

Johnson says, "The last time I saw my house this full was when I was 12 years old and staying with my grandmother---I've been crying all day."

She was also hugging Officer Stacy again.

So what moved Officer Stacy? Did he reach out to her because she is black?

I've read every thing I could find on this story and I've seen no hint that Stacy's actions had anything to do with her being black.

It was a matter of the heart. A matter of doing good. Helping another human being. Ethnicity was not a part of the equation.

It was compassion, not pity.

Stacy says he was moved with compassion because he remembered when his own family went through lean times when he was a child.

Chief Reno says, "Every police officer has done something like this at some time in their career, but these are the stories that never get told."

Well, this one did.

Johnson says she "doesn't know if Stacy is an angel or a God send, but he was there for me."

She says, "I've never been more grateful in my life. I'm so overwhelmed with the goodness of these people."

She wondered out loud how she could ever repay the police department, then answered her own question:

"I'll have to be a good girl from here on out."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Good. Be A Blessing.