I’m a 24-year-old black man in the South Carolina city of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
I live in a small apartment, with two roommates.
My mother, sister, and I have a 2-year old daughter, who is mostly unsupervised and spends most of her time in the care of her grandparents.
It’s the middle of the night on a Friday, and the police are on their way.
The doorbell rings, and as I enter the living room, I hear my roommates yelling and cursing, “They’re here!”
I hear a second ring and I realize what’s going on: This is where I’ve been hiding.
The officers are in the room, and they’re all armed.
The officer is holding my mother, who’s curled up in a fetal position in her arms.
I ask the officer to put me in handcuffs.
She says, “I don’t want to hurt you, but I have to tell you that I have warrants.”
She walks back to the door, closes the door behind her, and starts walking back into the building.
I don’t move.
I know that I’m going to be taken to jail for disorderly conduct.
But I can’t move because I’m so scared.
This officer is an officer of the law.
My roommate is not.
I hear her screaming, “He’s here!
She then yells, “What are you doing?”
I’m not sure what the officer said, but it sounds like he’s saying something to me like, “Stop resisting.
He’s gonna take you to jail.”
I know I’m in trouble, and my roommators know this, so they’re screaming at me to stop resisting.
I am trying to fight back, but the officer is there.
I’ve had a long conversation with my mother.
She told me that I was supposed to be handcuffed and taken to the police station.
But she also told me she wanted me to go to her room.
I had no choice.
My roommates were all terrified, and their anger was boiling.
So when I walked in my room, my mother was curled up next to me, screaming, crying, and begging for my freedom.
She had a knife in her hand.
I was just trying to get her to calm down.
I didn’t know what to do.
She wasn’t scared, and she had me in a safe place.
But there was no safe place for me.
I could not breathe, and if I tried to breathe, I would choke.
I felt like I was in a cage.
I would not die in my home.
I did not know how I was going to get out.
I knew I was not going to survive this, and it was too late to take my chances.
My apartment is in the city’s south side.
I rent it from the landlord, and we rent it every month.
I have no money.
I worked at a construction company for about a year, and then I got a job at the mall, which has a big construction site.
That’s where I was living with my roommats.
I went to work on the construction site, but when I came back, I was so nervous that I had to take a lie-detector test.
I took it on February 4, 2019, and at the time, I had just graduated from college.
I told my mother that I passed.
I just had to prove it to myself, and that’s what I did.
I couldn’t stop shaking and crying.
I tried for a couple hours to think about how I could prove it.
But my mom wasn’t letting me.
She kept yelling at me, “You’re going to jail!
You’re going in the police car!
You can’t do it!”
She was angry and frustrated.
She was so angry, and her voice was shaking.
I wasn’t sure what to say.
She asked me, in her voice, “Are you serious?”
I said, “Yes, ma’am.”
My mom kept yelling, “Don’t you understand what’s happening?
You are not in control!”
I started to cry.
She didn’t understand.
Then she finally calmed down, and told her to take me to the jail.
She got out of the car, and asked me to step out, and take her home.
She then gave me the key to the car and said, in a loud voice, to “leave me alone!”
My mom then told me not to tell anyone, and to stay silent.
When I got home, I got into my car and drove back to my room.
Then, I drove to my mother’s room, which is in my grandparents’ home.
My grandfather, who lives with his wife and two sons, was sitting in his chair.
I asked him what was going on, and he told