‘The only time I felt threatened was when I was near police’

Posted on 28 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Photo by Terry Faust

Letter from photographer Terry Faust, written after being at the 3rd Precinct on Wednesday, May 28 at 9 p.m.:

You know, despite the fact I was amongst angry people, and not many of them had the same skin color as me, I only felt fearful when I was in front of the police barricade where officers were setting off flash-bang bombs and teargas. They were trying to break up a crowd that was big and mad. It did not work. In fact, I don’t believe I’m off base in thinking their actions only made the crowd bigger and madder.

I initially moved in front of the police station barricade to see what was going on. Suddenly, people near me started ducking and saying the police were shooting. Shooting? It sounded crazy, but something pinged a lamp pole behind me and something else ticked off the pavement at my feet. I moved away. Today, I discovered they were shooting “marker rounds,” a kind of paintball on steroids. I looked them up online and the manufacturer says: “Training with UTM Man-Marker Rounds requires approved safety goggles, protective face mask, protective gloves, and two layers of clothing.”

Terry Faust

Needless to say, firing into a crowd that does not have protective clothing and face coverings isn’t wise, and more to the point, the officers’ targets returned to their positions angrier than before when the shooting stopped. It didn’t clear the intersection. My objective take-away from the protest is this: The police, or at least many of them, are their own worst enemy, and it doesn’t seem to bother them. If you take this insight to its extreme it explains why when they kill people, especially people with dark skin, it is of so little concern to them. Some of them have accepted violence, especially violence towards blacks, as a way of doing their job. Today, there are news photos of fires and protesters leaping and cavorting like mad. The media is great at capturing drama. There were a few protesters like that, and I’m sure readers look at those pictures and see crazy people to be feared. I was there and those weren’t the people I feared. The only time I felt threatened was when I was near the police.

Photo by Terry Faust

Photo by Terry Faust

Photo by Terry Faust