I recently talked to an older white man who had been arrested for DUI. He was not a client of mine, but he knew I was a lawyer and he wanted to vent to me, so I let him.
He shared that the police hadn't been fair to him, that he had tried to tell them that he wasn't drunk, that the handcuffs were too tight, that he wanted to call his wife, and the police officers had not listened to him, had refused to listen to him, had persisted in arrested him and in keeping him cuffed tightly.
"A few weeks ago," he continued, "when I heard about all of these people protesting the police, I thought they should just shut up and respect the police. But, now, I kind of see where they're coming from me. If the police treated me like this, I can believe how the police could treat them even worse."
I'm so torn about this. I've been thinking about it for days.
On one hand, of course I am sorry that this man went through this, I am sorry when anyone suffers injustice. On the other hand, maybe there is a small part of me that is glad that one more person's eyes are opened to the injustice that others face.
As I said, part of me feels bad for what this man faced. But another, smaller part of me felt like saying, "Sir, part of having compassion for your fellow man, is being able to put yourself in his shoes without ever walking a mile in them. I've never been arrested and yet I have compassion for people who suffer abuse. Why did you not believe it until it happened to you?"
What do you think? Am I wrong? Should I just be glad he sees the light now, and sorry that this happened to him? Am I judging him too harshly?