In America if you’re black you can’t sit in Starbucks, or play a round of golf, or have a barbeque by the lake, or even take a nap in your dorm’s common room. Ad, if you’re brown, you can’t be seen in a gas station buying candy with being accused of stealing and having a gun aimed at you.
That happened to Jose Arreola, who walked into an Orange County, California service station to buy a pack of Mentos. Arreola and his wife, Jacqueline, were headed out to a club one Friday night at around 10PM when they pulled into a gas station to use the ATM. Jacqueline Arreola told her husband to buy her some Mentos.
Mentos. On the store security camera, after Arreola takes sixty dollars from the ATM, he is seen placing a package of Mentos on the counter and then handing the clerk one of the twenty-dollar bills he’d just gotten.
As the clerk counts out his change, Arreola puts the Mentos in his pocket and that’s when a man in black shorts standing behind him pulls a gun from his pocket, announces he is a police officer and tells Arreola to put the Mentos back on the counter.
Arreola puts his hands up, but explains that he’d just purchased the mints, but the officer keeps shouting at him to take his change and go. Only then does the police officer ask the cashier if Arreola had paid for the Mentos, and when the cashier tells the officer twice that Jose Arreola had paid for the mints, the officer offers only an apology.
But, that isn’t enough, by a long shot; after having a gun drawn on him because an off-duty police officer thought he was stealing candy, Jose Arreola retained an attorney and requested financial damages from the Buena Park department.
Good; maybe the local police department can undergo some racial training to learn that not every brown-skinned person in a service station putting candy in their pocket is a thief simply by virtue of their skin color.
And, you know, just think, what if Jose Arreola had decided to ignore the cop, shout that he’d paid for the candy, and tried to walk away. Would he have been shot to death for a package of Mentos that he’d purchased?
Is this who we are now, a country where brown-skin people are thieves in the eyes of police? Where black people get stopped and harassed just for being black? That isn’t America, and as I said before, maybe America should follow the lead of Starbucks and shut down for a day to educate people about racial bias.
You know, before someone gets killed over a pack of gum … a cup of coffee … a golf ball … or a nap.