ALSA BRUNO, 30
The first time I can remember… I was three years old, and I remember looking out at the boys playing basketball right at the bottom of our driveway, and the police rolled up. And they invited the kids to play with them. They were like, “Oh, let’s do that.” And they suck. They, like, miss a shot and the kids started clowning them. And I mean, I’m three, so what I saw was just a missed shot—a point of fun and like some laughing, but that to me is a situation where we’re all in it together: “Ah, yep, I missed it. Ah, damn. All right, kids, see you later.”
And what happened was I guess they got offended—the police—and just beat the shit out of them. These are my neighbors. They were kids I knew, they played ball with my brothers, right? My brother had literally just come inside, one of my brothers, and literally just left the court. The court being our fucked up—like, our street was built on an incline, right? Yeah, when we played basketball, everything was a fadeaway [laughs]. Anyway, and yeah, they parked on our side of the street. And they started whaling on the kids, but they were doing it because they knew the kids weren’t gonna fight back but you can see them flexing and flexing. And they smacked the first kid—an open-palmed smack in the face. The other cop took somebody and slammed… I can’t forget all the red that exploded out of that face as he slammed it on the car, and I think they took two of them to jail—or something, took them away.
And for me, I mean, I had learned that the police were heroes, and I wanted to be one. There was a cop at my church. He was a—I forget his station, but he was pretty high up, and he was just, you know, a good guy, very straitlaced, and his daughter was fine. So I thought, why not be near that? Talk to his sexy daughter—I mean, I’m six, she was cute—and lo and behold, right? Like, I have to hold all these same realities at once. I have to believe that they were criminals, I had to pretend that to be an officer is to constantly find the bad guy, as opposed to constantly meet a quota or constantly have the power to enforce whatever the fuck I feel moment to moment.