Leadership 2 min read

Stopped: A Mother And Son Tell the Truth About Police Brutality

The truth is ugly and it hurts.

America is no stranger to police brutality.

In 2009, a 19-year-old Denver, Colorado native named Alex Landau became one of the many who suffered the fate of police brutality. Landau joined forces with his mother, Patsy Hathaway, to tell Story Corps about his experience. Story Corps is an independently funded organization whose mission is to create a more compassionate world by sharing people’s stories of faith, courage, and triumph.

Landau is African American and his adoptive parents are white. Hathaway admits that she never talked to him about race during his upbringing because she felt like skin color should not have mattered. Alex’ experience was the wake up call his mother never wanted.

Landau was pulled over by Denver police for what they said was an illegal left turn. They asked Landau to step out of the vehicle, in which he obliged. While they searched him, they asked his passenger, a white friend of his named Addison, to also step out of the car.

Landau felt safe to ask the three officers on the scene if he could see a warrant before they continued to perform a search of his vehicle.

The police officers immediately began to hit him in his face.

In horror, Addison pleaded for them to stop. When Landau finally had a moment to gasp for air, he heard one of the cops shout, “He’s reaching for a gun!” In response, Landau explains that he is not reaching for anything but was met with a gun to his head and the words “If he doesn't calm down, we’ going to have to shoot him.” Expecting to be shot, Landau fainted.

Once he regained his consciousness, he looked up to see several cops standing over him, laughing. Landau needed 45 stitches.

Hathaway claims that seeing her son after the attack changed her whole world view. Landau shared those same sentiments, stating that “...it was a point of awakening to how the rest of the world was going to look at you."

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