Young, Blacks and Browns in Sacramento: A Survival Guide

It’s just a reality in America, if you are Black or a Latino male you will at one point be stopped by Law Enforcement for simply being Black or Latino.

In my beloved City of Sacramento, I have been stopped three times .  The first time I was with my son in our fairly new mini van in Granite Bay, the officer stopped me and asked me where I was going?    The second time ,I was in Sacramento on  Highway 16 with a young friend  on route to Jackson.    The last time a few years ago, I was in North Sacramento,  the officer asked  me to get out of my car. He said I looked like someone (no real story) and for his safety wanted handcuff me . I questioned him and jokingly said, look   I’m 6.4 and 350 pounds and in my 50’s, trust me if  there was a  foot chase it would last a quarter block tops, he didn’t handcuff me and told me I could go.

Yes, there are different standards, in America for people of color.    The jails are filled with people who make up a small part of the population.     In Sacramento, if  you live in Oak Park, Del Paso Heights, parts of South Sacramento it is very possible you will be treated differently then say, a resident of East Sacramento or Land Park.

When I was young ,I believed in a different America, an America where everyone was treated the same.  In college, I had a friend who said he was constantly  harassed, by the police and he was always being pulled over.  Naturally, I assumed he was doing something wrong or did something that drew the police’s attention, again in my america the police wouldn’t stop anyone without cause.

Several years went by and we reconnected, I was married with children living in San Francisco  Where I worked nights downtown.   He met me at work and we caught up walking on the streets of San Francisco.   As we walked along Market Street near 7th Street a  police car drove up on the sidewalk directly  in front of us ,blocking our path.  Within seconds the entire area was filled with police cars.

Busy Market Street was closed in both directions.   They asked both of  up to stand with our hands up.  Most of the attention was on my friend, it seems he matched the description of a man who mugged a woman earlier in the evening.    They searched both of us ,placing the items on the trunk of the police car.  My heart sank as my friend who pulled out a knife out of his from pocket that looked like it had a sharp hook on the end.   The police inspected the knife one officer said there was dried blood on the knife, my friend said it was rust.   In a squad car they drove the victim by us in front a very large crowd.   After a few views the police  released us without an apology.

My friend reminded me of  his encounters with the police when we were in collage and now here in San Francisco.   In my mind, it was his dress, wearing camouflage fatigues  and a knife!  Who does that !   I walk these streets late at night  and no one ever bothers me and I don’t have problems with the police.  The walk home was quiet .

 I had forgotten about an incident several years earlier in San Mateo. Six of us traveled together in the same car(I am the only black person) and I let them out while I looked for a place to park . One of my friends came back for his Jacket and told me there was no cover charge.  As I entered the club, I was told there was a $10 cover charge.  I explained my friends were inside.  I was questioned what friends?  Unbeknownst to me, someone had called the police. When the police arrive I was put in the back seat of the car.

Forgotten , I was pulled over  on the  El Camino Real in  Millbrae,   in my company car and despite having all the documents he asked for wearing an expensive suit, I had to wait outside my car for nearly 45 minutes until his supervisor arrived.

Some how I blamed his clothing and his demeanor for his run ins with the police.  I haven’t seen my college bud in a million years.   I owe him an apology-I live in his America.

If you are Black, Brown or Asian male in some areas of Sacramento, you could be stopped by Law Enforcement for being Black,Brown or Asian.

Cool Heads Live Longer

The younger you are the more likely to be pulled over  17 to 35


What will bring attention to you

Loud Music, three or more passengers, older cars,  20+ rims, custom colors,hoods, low rise pants, too much swag in areas where you are the minority. 


If your at a house party in South Sac, Del Paso Heights, South Natomas, Arden Arcade, Rio Linda, Gardenside and a few other neighborhoods.  They will dispatch 2 or more Police cars .    They may be more aggressive in these areas then other areas.

If there is a large group of Blacks, Browns and riding in a loud car you may be stopped more than other groups.

(This is especially true in white suburbs)

If your walking with a large group in Old Sacramento  or  outside of  Hip Hop Club, the police is there anticipating trouble .

If there IS an incident at a club, you and your friends (including your white friends) will be interrogated longer .

Survival Tips 1

Don’t make it easy for Law Enforcement to justify stopping you.  If your car ‘s tags are expired or your Drivers License is questionable,  keep it on the down low…   Turn your music down,  make sure ALL  your lights are working on that hoopty. tell your friends to be cool in your car no screaming or yelling down J Street.

It’s a long walk from midtown to South Sac.  Law Enforcement can take your car  for your tag’s are expired .   Replacement bulbs cost any where from a  $1.50 to $10.00.    Know your boys,  if one has a mouth or gets mouthy after one beer, you may be better off leaving him home or meeting him there.    I live downtown and I cant begin to tell you how one person’s mouth has caused everybody to walk  or worse all go to jail.

 There are a few realities in life, prejudice will always exist.

Police are not racist, they have been told to look for a type.   I don’t believe George Zimmerman is racist, but I do believe that he believed young black wearing hoodies are suspect.

 No group of  any hue or background is exempt  

Sacramento, is a diverse city its not uncommon to see a group of blacks, Latinos, whites and Asians together.

If the majority of the group is people of color, it has been my experience everyone is questioned .  If the hot head of the group is white and  your others friends are yelling at the police, it wont go well for you.  Respectful is the key.      If your apart of that mouthy group and forgot to go to court or pay a ticket-tonight maybe your night to visit the pink place on I Street.   That was the case a few weeks ago outside of Pizza Rock.    One Ass ,flapping his gums found the last nerve of the officers (at the end of the day Police Officers  are human to) resulting in two of his friends going to  jail .   I believe if things were calmer, everyone would have walked away.


You did nothing wrong.   The Police pulled you over for nothing. your pissed!

There was no reason to pull you over, remember (Cool Heads Live Longer).   

What NOT to do!

Loudly Ask him why he pulled you over- he will tell you!

Be argumentative, tell every one to be cool 

Watch your tone-tell your friends to get a grip as well. 

Demand to speak to his Supervisor!


Survival Tips 2

What to do if you are stopped!


You and all the window passengers roll your windows down and place you hands outside the car,  if there is a middle passenger  tell him to raise their hands.  This is for YOUR Safety!

(Keep a working pen nearby)

The officer will have a name tag.   Remember his name and badge number.  When he returns to his car, quickly get the car number off the police car.   On a piece a paper, write down his name and badge number. the location and time of the stop.


If the police stops you in a group  raise your hands…..   If you have food or cigarette,( DON’T KNEEL OR BEND TO PLACE THEM ON THE GROUP)   drop them to the ground.


Respond only to the police, do not talk  to your friends unless to calm them.

Answer questions truthfully- (if they sense your not being truthful they may take you to jail and HOLD YOU FOR NO REASON )

Cool Heads Live Longer

Remedies (What you can do?)

If you feel you were disrespected  or wronged or verbally or physically harassed. Most cities have citizens boards  where you can lodge a complaint.   Keep in mind the law enforcement officer can legally stop- Ideally the stop should be with cause., but that’s not our America.   There are other remedies but you have to prove harm.

Survival Tools

Clean ID, if you have a ticket take care of it , if you like your music loud, make sure your tags are current and everything is working properly.

“”” Make Copies of your current registration and copies of your insurance and put them in white envelops (Clipped to your Sun visor):”

If you have friends check your console and glovebox after everyone leaves. Who wants that surprised if stopped.

Know your friends and family members-if he or she is has a quick temper it may be in your best interest to meet then rather than transport them .

Supporting the wrong person could change your life for ever.

Cool Heads Live Longer!

Follow the officers instructions

Aggressive behavior (tone)  from you or persons with you. could result in Jail time

Listen, then respond!

Keep a working pen and paper in the car

Sacramento is a great city with great people.  Racism is a part of life.  Citizens have  been shot through the years for not listening to the instructions of law enforcement.  There have been and will be cases where force was questionable, resulting  in the death of citizens.    Driving while black or brown is real.   I understand the number of stops has dropped in the city, however they  continue.   Black and latino Police officers  have been stopped in Sacramento and other cities.    Use your head  and stay calm and remember

Cool Heads Live Longer!

I lived to tell.  Some of us overly macho  testosterone filled men are not here, because they lost it.  Its understandable, its not fair, its not right!   One man in the Bronx was shot more than 50 times on the door steps of his home as he ran from the police.   He failed to listen to an order by the police.   If he would have calmly shown his ID he would be here.  His family successfully sued the city of New York .  However, he isn’t here.    The Net is filled with dead and principled men killed by law enforcement because they lost it.       Its isn’t right, fair and all of those things but it is what it is….     I lived to tell and share.


Police and Persons in Law Enforcement ARE NOT OUR enemies, however there are bad apples in the bunch.


Published by CityFella

Moved to the Big Tomata in the nineties from San Francisco. No Suburbs for me with its single colored houses and lawns and the excitement of pulling out my trash can once a week. I'm a CityFella , a part time New Yorker. I'm happiest in the Center City where people the streets and people are alive. I'm still waiting to buy a 34th floor condo somewhere downtown/Midtown with a nightclub. "Hurry I'm old" My politics are somewhere in the middle with a needle that constantly moves. I'm too liberal to be a Republican and too conservative to be a Democrat. Everything interests me . I've come to love Sacratomato, Its a nice town in cheap sensible shoes .

2 thoughts on “Young, Blacks and Browns in Sacramento: A Survival Guide

  1. First time I’ve heard you speak to this issue. Good for you!

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