The day after the shots, Garang didn’t look good at work so I checked in, “What’s up, G?” I asked. The
length of his pause and puffy eyes
told me to sit down.
mother works 12:00pm to 12:00am every day
in a factory (yep, 12-hour shifts). Garang and his brother take turns going downstairs to find a parking spot for their mom, stand there saving it, and see her safely into their apartment. With the gunfire,
Garang knew he had a "life and death black male decision" to make
. If he or his brother went downstairs to wait for their mom, the police—not even on the scene yet—would see them
as a suspect
. Garang knew that if he didn’t comply with the ensuing public humiliation of being
questioned, frisked, placed in the squad car, and possibly handcuffed
that his number might be up for a knee to the neck. Garang wouldn’t allow his father or brother to go down.
He went himself.
He sat on the stoop and
waited for it to happen. And. It. Did.
The sirens wailed and Garang
while remaining outwardly relaxed—a
, as any sign of
tension is read as guilt.
surrounded by three cops,
their hands on holsters and bully sticks. Garang held his ground as the invasive questioning began. “I’m waiting for my mom to get back from work.”
The police didn’t believe him.
More questions. To
protect his family from neighborhood retaliation, Garang refused
to give his or his mother’s name. This is his legal right, but he knew what was next.
“Face the wall with your arms and legs spread.” The
human rights violation called “frisking” began
—all while his
younger brothers watched wide eyed from the windows of their apartment above.
When the police asked him again for his name, he civilly refused. With that, he was
put in the back of the patrol car.
This is when the situation can deteriorate very quickly—and Garang knew it. His father came down and
immediately gave the family name.
At the same time his mother returned. They didn’t allow Garang or his father to move as cops approached her vehicle.
An officer was “on” every family member now.
mother saw her beloved firstborn in the back of the police car
and acquiesced to anything the cops wanted. Their stories match and Garang was released.
At any point, Garang, 22,
could have been a George Floyd.
Or a Freddie Gray. Or an Eric Garner. What happened in Minneapolis isn’t a fluke.
It would happen each day if black and brown men like Garang didn’t know the script of their second-class citizenship, memorized in the terror that could follow if they missed one line.
Yesterday, Garang and I were discussing his possible change of majors for college. “I don’t know,” he sighed. “In the end, I just want to major in
whatever would help me do the most good for the most people.”
Garang Doar. Know his name. Say his name. Say their names.