My Fear Of Always Being Watched By Police

by Joi Smith
Also Featured on KCBS

My Fear Of Always Being Watched By Police

by Joi Smith
Also Featured on KCBS
03.01.15
03.01.15

I hear my heart beating as if I have earphones plugged into my pulse. My body tenses up, and you’d think I just committed the worst crime. But I’ve done nothing wrong. This is my body’s reflex to being watched, and it’s happening too often.

My friends and I could be just cruising the streets of Oakland. No one is committing any crimes, but as soon as the police car appears in the rear view mirror, “aye bruh 5-0 behind us.” Everyone starts to fidget. but not too much because they don’t want to raise suspicion. I wonder why I get this feeling? Maybe because I feel police always assume the worst about my and my friends.

But at least when the cops turn away, you know they’re not looking anymore.

Now, there’s a camera at every corner, taking our pictures and reading our license plates Oakland has a data surveillance center with over a hundred cameras and streetlight posts around the city. Not knowing exactly who will see me in a recording, and knowing that the moment can be replayed forever, leaves me feeling watched every time I make a move.

 

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