LeVar Burton explains his ritual to prevent being shot by police
Actor LeVar Burton and author Tim Wise explain the differences in their interactions with police.
He’s not exactly known for bad behavior, but even the former host of the children’s show Reading Rainbow fears he will be mistreated by police because of his skin color.
Actor and director LeVar Burton explained Monday on CNN that he follows a particular procedure every time he is stopped by police to avoid a potentially deadly confrontation. He removes his hat and sunglasses, rolls down his window, and puts out his hands to show he is not armed.
“I do that because I live in America,” Burton added.
He said that as a responsible parent, he taught his son to follow the same procedure.
Author Tim Wise, on the other hand, recalled that as a 23-year-old he once locked himself outside of his car. While he was trying to break into his car with a coat-hanger, he was approached by a police officer. Rather than question why Wise was attempting to break into a vehicle, the officer casually informed him he was “breaking into the car the wrong way” and offered to help him.
“The cop was trying to help me break in,” Wise remarked. “Now, there is not a black man in this country, 23 years of age, for whom that would have been the reaction… Basically, what my mom told me was, ‘Be nice to cops.’ She didn’t say, ‘Don’t move your hands because you’re going to get shot.’”