On Wednesday (Jan. 3), Ben Faulding went to the store to buy a bottle of conditioner when police confronted him with their weapons drawn.
After the incident, the New York City resident detailed his experience in a thread on Twitter. “Here’s a story about how I nearly just got killed by this cop,” Faulding wrote.
The horrifying story of racial profiling and police brutality provides yet another illustration of how police regularly harass and murder people of color, most often targeting black men.
The writer explains in the thread that he went to the store in Long Island after working out. At the time he was wearing his noise-canceling headphones listening to K-Pop music loudly. After picking out a conditioner, Faulding turned to check out when two police officers with weapons approached him shouting commands. Because of the headphones, Faulding had trouble hearing the police officers who were instructing him to get on the ground.
“My headphones were still blaring, I could barely hear,” Faulding wrote. “All I wanted to do was follow instructions. Last thing I wanted was some mild mistake to end my life. Like with Daniel Shaver.”
Former police officer Philip Brailsford killed Daniel Shaver in Arizona in 2016. In footage of the incident released in December, unarmed Shaver is seen crawling on the ground trying to comply with the officer’s confusing instructions. Shaver then reaches to pull up his shorts when Brailsford shot him five times.
According to Faulding one of his ear cups eventually shifted, and he was able to hear the police officer’s instructions and comply. The police then cuffed him, took his headphones off, and searched his gym bag. After detailing his experience with the police, Faulding went on to explain why the police approached him in the first place. “The clerk at the store called the police because she thought I was shoplifting,” he explains. “When Nassau County PD got the call. It was for an armed robbery.”
The clerk’s racial profiling put Faulding in danger, but fortunately in this incident it did not cost him his life. Faulding cites a few specific reasons why the situation did not end fatally, considering the lightness of his skin, the color of the conditioner bottle, and the officers' demeanor as factors.
“If this has gone bad. I never would have told my side of the story,” he wrote. “Yeah, the news story would have said I was unarmed. But those four officers would have command of the narrative.”