“When the police mistreated this young black mother, they thought that no one would care. But what happened next was simply unbelievable.
The vibrant kaleidoscope of color swirled around Sarah as she stood amidst the bustling park festival. The air was thick with laughter, music, and the smell of various street foods. Her three boys, a blend of vitality and curiosity, darted through the crowd like playful spirits. They had been begging her for weeks to bring them to the festival.
Sarah was a great believer in creating beautiful memories for her sons. Her hesitation only came with caution; she was used to being marginalized and prejudiced against while in public because of her unique family situation. To Sarah and everyone else in her family, her boys were just as normal as the next kids – the three of them were simply the apple of Sarah’s eyes. She was very protective of them; this was only natural, of course.
Malik and Marcus, Sarah’s biological sons, were the epitome of boundless energy. Their laughter echoed through the park, drawing attention and smiles from onlookers everywhere they went. They made friends thanks to the education she gave them – they didn’t worry about differences in people, nor did they care.
Jeremy, the youngest, her adopted son, was a little different from his brothers. Lacking the immense confidence they embodied, Jeremy was more of a quiet soul. He loved spending time with his brothers but made sure to always be one step behind. He observed everything with wide-eyed wonder, a hint of trepidation coloring his expressions. Where possible, he also tried to stay close to his mother’s side. That way, he knew he was always safe.
Coming from a foster home at such a young age, safety and security were a priority to him. To outsiders, it may have looked like he was scared, but Sarah knew her son.
Amidst the joyous chaos, a shift in atmosphere was palpable. Whispers accompanied pointed fingers as people’s stares grew intense, fixing upon the unusual sight of a young black mother with two black boys and a white child. This was the prejudice Sarah always tried to avoid, though it seemed inevitable.
Sarah had weathered such stares before – the silent scrutiny that questioned her role as a mother, her right to love and care for children of different races. She struggled to understand why she got so much negative attention all the time just because she gave a little boy a safe home.
Across social media and TV, white people are seen to adopt black children all the time. No one ever seemed to bat an eye there. But when a black mother does the very same thing for a white child, it is considered to be some abomination. It really made her extremely angry, but she usually managed to maintain her outrage.
But this time, the murmurs took a malevolent form as a concerned white woman approached the police stationed at the festival. Sarah could see two white, blond-haired women talking animatedly while pointing in her direction. Without knowing what they were saying, she knew it didn’t mean anything good for her. The hair on the back of her neck rose slowly, building the tension in her body. She waited quietly to see what would transpire from their conversation.
‘There, officer, that woman with the white child,’ the taller of the two women said, her voice urgent, gesturing towards Sarah. Sarah saw the police officers turn towards her and check her up and down. She could tell immediately that they weren’t going to be her friends. The officers, guided by prejudice and assault, slowly began to make their way to Sarah. She could tell by their gaits and facial expressions that they meant business, but what they were going to do was still a mystery to her.
Being officers of the law, she expected more from them than regular prejudiced citizens. As they got closer, Sarah pulled Jeremy closer to her body while calling for Malik and Marcus to come back to her. She didn’t know what was coming, but the pit in her stomach told her it wasn’t going to be good.
They got within 10 meters of her and stopped. The taller police officer lowered his glasses slightly, looking down at her in condescension. ‘Ma’am, we need to ask you a few questions about the boy,’ one officer stated curtly, his tone laced with suspicion.
Sarah, her patience worn thin by past encounters with such unwarranted scrutiny, replied curtly, ‘What about him?’ The officer did not take this well. Seemingly inflated and aggravated by her answer, he stepped forward with his hand on his belt and continued asking his questions.
‘Who does the child belong to? What is he doing here with you?’ This did not go down well with Sarah. Why did they automatically revert to her being a criminal? Taking a deep breath, she replied calmly, ‘Jeremy is my adopted son. Everything is fine here. I can show you proof if you need it.’ Her words fell on skeptical ears as the officers dismissed her explanation. The idea of a black mother being there for a young white boy just didn’t make sense to them. Their short-sightedness made her feel sick. Why was she constantly under scrutiny? It infuriated her.
Frustration bubbled within Sarah as the situation escalated into a heated argument. She reached for her phone to call her husband, but then something awful happened. Before she could dial his number, the police approached her from behind and stated that they were going to take her down to the station under suspicion of kidnapping. This was a first for Sarah; never before had she been treated so badly.
Kidnapping – this was crossing a line she was scared she couldn’t come back from. She could feel the fear rising within her as they forcefully cuffed her, ignoring her vehement protests and the bewildered expressions of her sons. She could see the fear all over their faces. She felt sick to her stomach at the idea that they were seeing their mother being arrested.
Jeremy was the most affected; he froze where he was standing and began to shake. This was too much for him. Seeing this, Sarah insisted that Marcus provide him with comfort and told them to call their father immediately. She never stopped protesting the arrest; she wasn’t scared of making a scene and drawing attention. She was innocent, and anyone who didn’t think to offer help would feel awful when they found out the truth.
‘Let me go, my sons, please!’ Jeremy, she cried out desperately as they dragged her away, leaving her boys stunned and terrified amid the chaotic festival. The officers barely said a word to her besides her Miranda rights. They shoved her aggressively into the patrol car and took her straight to the station.
The entire way, she made it clear that she was not going with them willingly. At the police station, the harsh fluorescent lights of the interrogation room cast stark shadows across Sarah’s face. They left her for a bit to let in her anger before bombarding her with accusatory questions about how she had Jeremy.
She tried desperately to focus on the situation at hand and stay calm, but her mind was clouded with worry for her sons. She really struggled to comprehend the aggression directed at her. She knew the trauma Jeremy had faced before joining their family, the anguish and abandonment that had marked his past. She couldn’t bear the thought of him reliving the nightmare in this hostile environment.
She worried about where her boys were in the station. If they were safe, of course. If they were treating her like this, how would they treat her boys? She felt sick to her stomach just thinking about it. She had every right to be concerned because the boys were in their own interrogation room. The officers attempted to question the boys, but the children, enveloped in fear and confusion, clung to each other in silence. To them, the police were no longer symbols of safety but harbingers of fear.
Jeremy didn’t stop crying. The officers tried to separate him from his brothers for questioning, but the boys collectively refused. Their mother had told them to stay together, so they were going to make sure they did just that. Marcus knew they couldn’t talk to them without an adult, so he just kept asking for his father. This stumped the police officers; they would be violating the children’s rights if they tried to question them without a guardian presence. They were hoping that the children would be too scared to ask.
They tried to question Sarah further about her family life, but she was done answering their questions. Why did she feel the need to be compliant when they had been so horrible to her? Even when she had tried to be honest and answer their questions, they didn’t want to believe her. So, she was left with nothing to do but wait for her lawyer. She was revving herself up at the thought of the retribution she was going to get when she got a chance to defend herself. She was still alone, though, in a cold cell, yearning for her sons.
Hours passed like eternities, each minute a torment of uncertainty and dread. Sarah knew rationally that she had to wait for her husband or her lawyer; whoever got to her first would be able to help her and the boys out of this horrid situation she found herself in. Her husband was a few hours away on a work trip, so it would take some time. And as for her lawyer, she had her suspicions that the police were holding him up.
A sense of hopelessness kept creeping up, only for her to squash it down. She just needed to stay hopeful. Then suddenly, the officers were at the door of the room, arguing with someone. Sarah strained to see who it was, but they were just out of sight. She then heard her boys’ voices; this filled her with hope. Something was clearly happening, but what?
Just as the suspense seemed like too much, the door was thrown open. Standing in the light like an angel was someone she recognized all too well – someone who brought a whole new angle to the situation. It was a lady named Michelle. She was the social worker who had helped Sarah adopt Jeremy in the first place. Sarah was so relieved to see her. She knew that if anyone could set the record straight, it would be her.
Michelle looked horrified to see Sarah in the state she was in. She turned on the officers and immediately began berating them for their treatment of Sarah. Sarah’s earlier claims about Jeremy being her adopted son were swiftly verified, shattering the officers’ misconceptions. Michelle even went further to accuse the officers of knowingly being prejudiced against her. She immediately called for the chief police officer at the station. She dragged Sarah along with her to see him.
As Sarah exited the room, she saw her three boys waiting carefully nearby. When they saw their mom, they ran straight up to her and grabbed onto her legs in big hugs. They were so worried about her, the little posy. Then, they continued on to the chief’s office. Michelle led the way, complaining about the situation and how awfully Sarah had been treated.
‘Is it routine to treat someone like this when you’re dubious of custody? Why did your officer treat Sarah in such a horrid manner? Is it because she’s black and Jeremy’s white?’ Naturally, the police officer was absolutely horrified to hear such treatment had been going on in his station. He immediately called for the officers in question and inquired about their actions. It was clear the moment the officer stepped foot into their superior’s office that they were filled with regret. Apologies flowed, tinged with a sense of shame and regret.
Sarah, exhausted and emotionally drained, accepted their words, but the scars of the ordeal lingered, etched deep within her soul. She was tired then but was determined to take a stand when she had the energy. Right now, her main concern was her boys. Now that the formalities were over, she hugged her sons even closer than before. Getting down onto her knees, she checked in with little Jeremy; his eyes were filled with tears, but he was smiling. He was just happy to have his mom back; she was the most important thing to him. This was exactly what those prejudiced, rude people who had persecuted Sarah in the first place had failed to see – she was simply a mom with a little boy to take care of. Their skin color was just a physical factor that didn’t change anything.
Leaving the station, a mix of relief and bitterness churned within Sarah. The festival that began as a celebration had turned into a harsh reminder of the prejudices that persist in society, a stark testimony to the struggles faced by families like hers. Yet in her heart, she harbored a flicker of hope – a hope that through her resilience and the pain endured, a seed of change might take root. A world where assumptions and prejudice would no longer tear families apart, where innocence wouldn’t be shattered by baseless judgments.
One thing was for sure – she was going to use this very experience to raise awareness for others who had experienced the same horrors at the hands of the very people who were meant to be protecting them. What a horrible story! How would you feel if this happened to you? Do you think the women and the police were right to be suspicious of her?