TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona man’s post about a recent traffic stop is continuing to make the rounds on social media, and police are thanking him for it.
Steven Hildreth, Jr., said he was pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a burned out headlight. The 27-year-old author and National Guard veteran told officers he had a concealed-carry permit and had a gun holstered at his hip.
Hildreth said he followed the officers’ instructions and got out of the car so they could disarm him.
“Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them,” Hildreth wrote.
But instead, the police officers thanked him for cooperating and let him drive away with a verbal warning.
“I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities,” Hildreth wrote. “Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.”
Hildreth posted about the exchange on his Facebook page Oct. 27. It’s gotten over 307,000 shares and more nearly 600,000 likes since.
He said it caught him off-guard how much traction the post has received.
“I think that sends a message that, yeah, people want to know about the bad in the world, but they also want to know about the good in the world,” he said in a TV interview. “There are those that abuse the power of the badge…we focus so much on them we don’t focus on the vast majority who are just doing their jobs and are regular, good people.”
He added on a Facebook post: “I’m at a loss for words at the overwhelmingly positive reaction.”
The Tucson Police Officer’s Association took to Facebook after the post went viral, thanking Hildreth for his message.
“The Tucson Police Officer’s Association would like to express it’s sincere thanks to Steven Hildreth Jr. for his kind words and sharing his experience with the Tucson Police Department. This is just one example of an appreciative citizen going beyond to show gratitude for police. Mr. Hildreth is a local author and we would like to urge everyone to support him as he has supported us.”