By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Years before George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill, Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance Dr Drexel Glasgow was reportedly seriously brutalised by police in the same United States city because he was a person of colour (black).
Dr Glasgow was only a student at the time and recalled that he was heading home from school when he decided to purchase a meal at a Burger King in Minneapolis on a cold winter’s evening.
However, his decision to visit the fast-food restaurant turned out to be ill-timed. Around the time he was leaving the establishment, police were responding to an armed robbery in the area and Glasgow said he was assaulted by a Caucasian police officer.
“A woman white cop came up to me with a gun cocked in the air. Pushed me against a wall and asked me if I had a weapon … She dragged me around the block where persons couldn’t see as she slammed me against the wall with the gun to my head asking me if I had a weapon,” he said while recounting the frightening experience.
Glasow, who was speaking at the Black Lives Matter march in Road Town on Saturday, said the police officer searched him and groped him. He was also slammed on to a police cruiser in freezing temperatures. Glasgow said he was not wearing a coat and began shiver from the cold so he mustered the courage to question one of the officers the reason he was being accosted.
It was then a male police officer told of a report they had received that the food establishment had been held up. Glasgow said he was released after the officers became satisfied that he was not the bandit.
Dr Glasgow, who was studying for his PhD at the time, said he never shared that harrowing experience with his mother.
Twenty-one-year-old local, Nicoy Hendrickson said he too was the victim of police harassment in the US.
“The first time I got the talk about being pulled over by the cops is when I moved to the United States in 2013 to complete my secondary education.”
He said a woman he lived with in Philadelphia, told him: “This is a different space, quite literally a different world. You cannot walk around with your hoodie on as freely as you did in Tortola. If the police pull you over, stay still, do not reach for anything whatsoever. Tell them my number and have them call me. Don’t even reach for your phone.”
He lamented that this is a conversation white people do not have to have with their children.
“She insisted that I was effortlessly able to recite her number to law enforcement if need be. Believe it or not, I have been stopped while walking in 20 degrees weather, footsteps away from my apartment door because I had my hoodie on just to protect my little ball head to keep it a little bit warm.”
‘I felt as though I was harassed’
Hendrickson was 20 years old at the time and pursuing his degree at Temple University. He recalls being searched and questioned about the reason for him being on the road.
“I felt as though I was harassed because of the colour of my skin. It was a frightening experience,” Hendrickson said. He said this had happened more than once.
Racism denied me a job
Jovan Wilson, a reporter at 284 Media said she did not have to venture to the United States to feel the scorn of racism. She said she experienced racism in her home country.
“I come from a country, Guyana, and racism is a very, very, real issue. Guyana is primarily populated by blacks and Indians, and I grew up in a system where privilege denied me of my opportunity to simply find a job because of my skin colour,” she stated.
Wilson, Hendrickson, and Dr Glasgow decide to share their respective experiences to show residents why it was important for the BVI to join the global Black Lives Matter movement.
Saturday’s march has, therefore, been described as a message that the BVI stands with the global black community in their fight against racial injustice and inequality.
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