Gun Pulled On Rev. Senator James Meeks

Here again we face the age old problem of plantation mentality. Not on the part of African Americans but on the part of larger American society, in particular, law enforcement. During slavery, any slave caught off the plantation was subject to the disciplinary action of any, any white male. The South founded such institutions as VMI (Virginia Military Institute) for the express purpose of training a militia to quell “servile insurrection.” Sadly, a mentality still exists in America where Black males are considered a threat by the mere fact of their existence. It is sad and disturbing when this pernicious paranoia manifests in normal civil discourse. It is a terroristic threat to life and liberty when it raises its head in our institutions of civic administration and protection. I guess this particular “officer” didn’t get the memo. The season of strange fruit is over.

By Charles Sheehan
Tribune staff reporter

July 15, 2005

State Sen. James Meeks publicly accused a Chicago police officer with "a chip on his shoulder" of cursing at him and pulling a gun during a traffic stop Wednesday evening.
The independent legislator and megachurch pastor told reporters Thursday that he and family members were being driven home from a Bible study session when the car in which they were riding was pulled over. Meeks said that as soon as he tried to get out of the car, the officer became confrontational and pointed the gun at his face even after Meeks had identified himself. Meeks did not file an official complaint, but police spokesman David Bayless said that the department was investigating the claims after reporters relayed the senator's accusations. Bayless confirmed that there was a traffic stop involving Meeks but would not comment on any other part of the lawmaker's story. Bayless would not confirm the identity of the officer Meeks said was involved. The officer remains on active duty. Meeks said he opened his door and began to walk toward the officer during the traffic stop just after 9 p.m. but was told to, "Get back in the (expletive) car," Meeks said. To let the officer know that he was not a threat, Meeks identified himself as a state senator and as pastor of Salem Baptist Church, about two miles to the east, he said. "He pulled out his gun and pointed it right at me and said, `I know who you are and I told you to get back in the car,'" Meeks said.