Man’s Post Praising Tucson Officers, Challenging Anti-Police Sentiment Goes Viral
A Facebook post praising the professionalism of the Tucson Police Department and challenging anti-police sentiment has reached hundreds of thousands of users on social media, and authorities have since authenticated the man’s story.
Steven Hildreth Jr. said he was pulled over for a broken headlight and asked by police if he was armed.
“‘Yes, sir,'” Hildreth said he replied. “‘I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right.'”
As part of the traffic stop, Hildreth said, the officers disarmed him. The officers then checked the man’s license and registration, and then let him go with a warning, according to his Oct. 27 Facebook post, which has been shared more than 174,000 times.
Hildreth credited the officers for their professionalism, and then challenged anti-police sentiment he attributed to “certain social movements.”
“Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. ‘Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible,'” Hildreth wrote. “I smile. ‘Thank you, sir.’
“I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities,” he wrote.
“Maybe … just maybe … that notion is bunk,” Hildreth wrote.
Tucson Police Department Officer Kristopher Goins on Thursday confirmed Hildreth’s story to KTLA, saying the traffic stop occurred on Oct. 27. The department was still working on putting together a news release and making the responding officers available for interview, Goins said.
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.
The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.
“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”
The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.
Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.
Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”
I smile. “Thank you, sir.”
I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.
Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.
Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.
I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.
We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.