Steven Hildreth Jr. was "a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped"—he was legally carrying a gun—when stopped by a Tucson police officer for a broken headlight. And yet, he and the officer involved were respectful to one another, and both walked away from the incident unscathed, Hildreth writes in a Facebook post that's been shared more than 250,000 times. In it, Hildreth tells the story of how he informed the officer he was carrying a weapon near his wallet, the officer disarmed him as per protocol and checked his ID, and ultimately let him off with a warning to get the headlight fixed. "According to certain social movements, I shouldn't be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities," Hildreth writes. "Maybe...just maybe...that notion is bunk. Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you."
The traffic stop occurred about 3am Tuesday as Hildreth was driving to work, and he tells KVOA that he's amazed by the reaction to his post. “It caught me off guard how much traction it caught,” he says. “And I think that sends a message that, yeah, people want to know about the bad in the world, but they also want to hear of the good in the world.” He used the hashtags #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter, but not everyone was convinced. "We know not every cop is bad the issue is when a UNARMED black male gets killed the cop that killed them gets off Scott free or paid leave that's the problem we have with police," says one commenter. "Thats why we saying #BlackLivesMatter." (Another positive cop-citizen interaction is also going viral.)