Succeeding While Black – 5 Ways to Avoid Altercations with the Police

May 5, 2015

MattDraytonBy Matthew R. Drayton

During the past few months, there has been numerous incidents— some tragic—where police officers were accused of brutality and abuse of power against African Americans, including Ferguson, South Carolina and New York being the most well-known. Some of the incidents were caught on video. There are nearly 780,000 sworn officers in the United States protecting and serving 319 million Americans. Police officers have a very difficult and stressful job, but that is no excuse to use excessive force. However, we must take into account what these officers go through and understand that all police officers aren’t bad.

I have been in situations where I could have easily gotten into confrontations with police officers. Years ago, I regularly worked with local and state police officers in major cities throughout the U.S. I can tell you first hand that there are some police officers that are prejudiced or egotistical, and some that have their own agendas. I remember arriving in Texas to meet and work with local police there. When I reached out to shake one of the officer’s hands, he refused! Later during that same trip, I was almost arrested because the same police officer who wouldn’t shake my hand, failed to tell a group of his fellow officers who I was as I approached them.

On another trip to California, a police officer stood two feet in front of me and stared me down while I waited to meet with the Deputy Police Chief. I had never met this officer before, nor did I do anything to him to warrant the stare he was giving me. In both Texas and California, I was the only African American in the group; my co-workers were not subjected to the same treatment. In both cases, I had no choice but to work through whatever issues those police officers had with me. I did not respond to their behavior towards me, and worked more closely with the officers who reached out to me than the ones who didn’t. In the end, we successfully finished our work in both cities, and I made some new friends in law enforcement.

My experiences with the police were not all bad; in fact there were more positive experiences with them than negative ones. I realize some of my circumstances and encounters with the police were of a different nature than being pulled over for a routine traffic stop, but the two situations I mentioned above were intense and could have easily become confrontational. I have been stopped and pulled over by the police numerous times over the years, and I can honestly say, I have never been mistreated by a police officer. The following 5 tips have worked for me when I have had encounters with police officers in the past. Hopefully they can help you too.

(1) Obey the law: If you are breaking the law in any way; it’s only a matter of time before you have to deal with the police. Turn on your flashers, drive slowly and pull over to a well lit busy area if you are pulled over. Cooperate if you are being questioned or arrested to avoid any physical confrontation.

(2) Be polite and show respect: Greeting and treating a police officer with respect immediately de-escalates the situation. Regardless of how you feel about being pulled over or questioned, the police are authorized to do so. Mouthing off and becoming aggressive towards the police will make the situation worse.

(3) Obey police officer orders: When a policeman asks you to do something reasonable, do it. Remember, these men and women are trying to do a job, and sometimes need to gather facts to do their job. Disobeying the police officer’s orders will again only make the situation worse.

(4) Make lifestyle changes: Most of the things that happen to us are a result of our decisions. Alcohol, outdated license plates, and erratic driving are a few contributors to police stops. If you are hanging out late at night with known offenders, or in places where there is a high probability of a crime, there will likely be a heavy police presence there.

(5) Educate your children: Teach your children at an early age about police brutality, and to be respectful when dealing with the police, and all adults for that matter.  Explain current events to them in an unbiased way, and make them aware of the dangers they face if they break the law, and what can happen to them at the hands of some police officers.

It is not my intent to downplay police brutality incidents or to be insensitive to anyone who has suffered or died at the hands of the police. My purpose is to help African Americans understand that engaging an officer properly can de-escalate the situation, and possibly avoid a deadly altercation. I am a middle-aged, African American male who regrettably has had too many encounters with the police during my lifetime. I have never been arrested or beaten by a police officer, nor have I ever been disrespectful or mouthed off to one.

I do realize that if a police officer wants to use violence against you, he is going to do it, but I truly believe it’s harder to beat up a person who is polite and compliant. Try these tips the next time you have an encounter with the police. It cannot hurt and it may just save you. Remember, we cannot control a police officer’s behavior, but we can control our own.

Retired Army Sergeant Major Matthew R. Drayton is a corporate speaker, life coach, consultant, leadership expert and author of Succeeding While Black. He has also been mentoring youth for over a decade and is currently the Executive Director of Great Oak Youth Development Center, a NC-based non-profit organization that mentors at risk youth.

Visit Matt Drayton for more information.


DERRICK Interview with Motivational Mentor Ed Wisdom III

May 3, 2014

Edspeaking1Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Ed Wisdom, III, motivational speaker, mentor, and the founder of The Edward H. Wisdom Jr. Foundation established in 2012 in honor of his father who was murdered by an “at-risk” teen, has powered himself to the forefront with his initiatives on growth and empowerment in areas of manhood, fatherhood, youth, parenting, family and community. These initiatives include efforts in spiritual, philosophical, psychological, emotional, social, and financial development.Earlier this year, Wisdom was the keynote speaker for Black History Month at Austin Peay State University where he spoke on excellence and 2 Corinthians 8:7, “excel in everything.” Wisdom was the first African American keynote speaker at the governor’s 11th annual Tennessee Season To Remember in 2013 to honor and remember victims of homicide. Wisdom was also guest speaker at the Citywide Trayvon Martin Walk on Capitol Hill.

Wisdom has delivered his message all over the city, at prisons, juvenile detention centers, churches, schools,universities, throughout the media, and more. He explains how “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to articulate to men that we have a responsibility in helping other individuals grow. Wisdom also conveys the idea that “a good man leaves behind a [legacy] for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22) promoting the leadership of men in powering families with gifts passed from generation to generation.

Wisdom is in Senior Management in Management Information Systems (MIS) at Vanderbilt University following his father’s, Ed Wisdom Jr., footsteps as he was the Directorof MIS at TSU. Wisdom not only followed his father in his career but in his heritage in character, integrity, and much more. Wisdom is a graduate of Tennessee State University (TSU), where he also earned his Masters’ degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Information Systems.

His son Erik Wisdom has followed these same footsteps earning a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Business Information Systems at Tennessee State University, thus fulfilling the legacy good men leave behind “for their children’s children.”

Ed Wisdom III was the creator of The Gentleman’s Agreement: The Rebirth of the Black Man, held at Vanderbilt University, a discussion on Growth and Empowerment; The Rebirth Vol. II Brainwashed with author and advertising genius Tom Burrell held at Tennessee State University; Life, Love, Legacy and Leadership; The Go Further, Go Farther, Go FATHER Fatherhood Initiative at Fisk University, and much more.

Wisdom is very active in the case involving the tragic murder of his father and has been very vocal in the media, with law enforcement, politician, community organizations, and more. He is a proven leader in the community.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My goal is to help men grow spiritually, philosophically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, and financially to find their true identity.  If you take a look at 2 Corinthians 8:7, it speaks to “excelling in everything” in those areas…faith (spiritual), speech and knowledge (philosophical),…complete earnestness (psychological), the love (emotional), others (social), in order that we may become rich (financial), understanding that the word financial is a Latin word where the prefix FIN means complete, or settled up and not necessarily wealthy.  My dream is to see this through to fruition with those I directly (or even indirectly) influence in order that they have that same “cultural capital” to pass on to those they lead.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration / Management Information Systems.  I serve as Senior Manager of Database Administration in Vanderbilt University Information Technology department.  In addition to that, I provide IT consulting services through my own company.  I am a motivational speaker as well, so my dissemination of information to help individuals make intelligent decisions comes in a couple of different forms; technology and human interaction.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

EdSpeakingIf you trace the lineage from my grandfather, Ed Sr., through to my son, I offer a compelling story for men and our responsibilities as it relates to life, love, legacy, and leadership and how each of us have overachieved in those areas through building good names, character and integrity.  Each of us of was resilient, each with different sets of adversity.  My grandfather’s father died when he was 7, his mother when he was 17, and he had nothing more than a 7th grade education, however he traveled the world by sea 5 times over; raised 8 children (6 boys) who were college educated and/or decorated military veterans; and built a trucking business on good character.  My father during a time of racial divide was close lifelong friends with Olympic great Wilma Rudolph, a decorated paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Parachute Infantry and the all-black 555th Airborne Parachute Battalion (Tripe Nickles), the 1st African American to teach at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, TN after integration, was 1 of 2 of the first African Americans to work in IBMs top secret security clearance facility in Atlantic City, NJ, and went on to become the Director of MIS at Tennessee State University for nearly 40 years.  Myself, I followed my father’s footsteps in Information Systems and after his tragic murder in 2011, I formed a foundation in his name to share with men ideas on legacy and leadership.  My son, followed in Information Systems and Technology as well and was raised in my household, a single parent household, and has risen in excellence.  All of this combined forms a unique story that I share with men on how to manifest through identities.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

When my son was born, I felt my father had equipped me with everything in life to be a good man, a great leader, and do great things, and fatherhood would be my change to prove it.  It catapulted me into a role that was greater than just heading my own household but in leading young boys and men connected to my son who lacked male leadership at home.  When my father was murdered I was certain that my purpose was to do exactly what I had been doing and was to continue demonstrating to men through my actions and also my words as a motivational speaker as to exactly what it took to become a real man.

uchenI is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

Uchendi Nwani.  He has a very intriguing story about his fall, then rise to becoming a respected leader and entrepreneur.  We grew up together in the same church where his stepfather was the Pastor. We went to high school together, and have been friends for years. Uchendi is the Author of “The Millionaire Barber Stylist” and the owner of International Barber and Style which is largest barber college in the United States.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

The adversity through the murder of my father, my hero, in late 2011 has been and is my greatest challenge.  I believe I have taken it on with resilience and have ensured that the works that he began continue in the likeness of his good name.  I am still engulfed deeply in the continued investigation into my father’s murder and I am strengthened each day by my purpose to lead my family through this to and get back to more peaceful days.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Success comes in building a good name, character and integrity and understanding that success is less about accomplishments and more about the manifestation of your identity as a visionary, a leader, and an overachiever.  Success is also understanding that good leadership is not about you as much as it is about them, those who follow.  Your goal is to develop those who follow you, making them leaders, some of whom are equipped to pass your vision on to in order to keep your vision alive.

Visit Ed Wisdom III for more information.


The DAILY (Derricknyms, Apps and Ideas to Lift You) Message for Thursday

August 8, 2013

Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes brings you The DAILY Message on Thursday August 8th, 2013 to empower and inspire you to your next level.

(Please read and Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

In This Issue:

1. The Daily Derricknym is AGAIN. Do It AGAIN (Always Giving Assures Increase Now).

2. Today’s word is Rise.  When you fall do you want to get back up? Any time you fail you are only four letters away from moving in the right direction. When you stumble open your eyes and rise. This is brought to you by Motivation Your Mobile and you can download Today’s word to your Android or I Phone.

3. Idea for today is to choose your dream and use your skills.

Derrick Hayes, an alumnus of Tennessee State University provides you with The DAILY Message and is  available for small and large meetings, church events, academic speaking engagements and workshops. Please visit Derrick’s website at http://www.DerrickHayes.com  and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662.


The DAILY (Derricknyms, Apps and Ideas to Lift You) Message for Wednesday

June 5, 2013

Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes brings you The DAILY Message on Wednesday June 5th, 2013 to empower and inspire you to your next level.

(Please read and Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

In This Issue:

1. Daily Derricknym is GLOW. I see you have GLOW (Growth Leading Our World). Now you can also order your name as a Personalized Derricknym.

2. Today’s word is Hook. In business and life you will hear about a sales pitch. Do you have a hook and ladder? When you fish for opportunities is there any bait at the end of your hook that others will want to hold on to? This is brought to you by Motivation To Your Mobile and you can download Today’s word to your Android or I Phone.

3. Idea for today is to think positive even around the negative.

Derrick Hayes, an alumnus of Tennessee State University is available for small and large meetings, church events, academic speaking engagements and workshops. Please visit Derrick’s website at http://www.DerrickHayes.com  and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662.


The DAILY (Derricknyms, Apps and Ideas to Lift You) Message for Friday

March 15, 2013

Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes brings you The DAILY Message to empower and inspire you to your next level.

In This Issue:

1. Daily Derricknym is MIDDLE. Rise From The MIDDLE (Moving In Discipline Develops Leadership Excellence). Now you can also order your name as a Personalized Derricknym.

2. Today’s word is Label. A few years ago the government made companies use labels so that consumers would know what was inside each product. People label each other without taking time to get to know them so they will know inside what they are all about. This is brought to you by Motivation To Your Mobile and you can download Today’s word to your Android or I Phone.

3. Idea for today is to prepare so your mind will be unstuck from waiting on luck.

(Please read and Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

Derrick Hayes, an alumnus of Tennessee State University is available for small and large meetings, church events, academic speaking engagements and workshops. Please visit Derrick’s website at http://www.DerrickHayes.com  and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662.


DERRICK Interview with Hip Hop Gospel Artist PG-13

February 27, 2013

PG 13Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with PG-13 born Delontaye Taylor who is a Christian artist that has a heart for God’s people. His desire is 2 win souls for Jesus Christ & allow lives 2 be changed through music!

Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, God decided to move him and his family (lovely wife Amanda and 3 handsome boys) to Columbus, Georgia. PG-13 has a passion for the youth and they cling on to him like a magnet. At the age of 23, he started with a group called Collaborated Minds, where they put out 3 mix tapes (Taking Back Our Streets Volume 1, 2, and 3) and a high impacted album in 2010, called “What’s Cooking.” After a successful album and 3 mix tapes in the streets, God spoke to PG-13 and guided him in the direction of Street evangelizing.

In February of 2012, God gave him the vision to record his 1st solo album called “LEGO”(Less Evil Greater Overflow). It was released on August 18, 2012. He released his 1st hit single called “Going Home” featuring Dunbar, which video has shot to the top of the charts on a variety of Social Networking sites in such a short period of time. His 2nd single released was “Christ on Swag.” This is a song that ministers to the youth about sagging their pants, and embarrassing themselves. To hear his music, check him out on Reverbnation, Soundcloud, or Youtube.


DERRICK Interview with Columbus Georgia Mayor Teresa Tomlinson

February 23, 2013

DIMayorEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Mayor Teresa Tomlinson who was elected as the 69th Mayor of Columbus, Georgia on November 30, 2010 with 68% of the vote. On January 3, 2011, she was sworn in as the city’s first female mayor. During her time as Mayor, Tomlinson has successfully taken on issues ranging from comprehensive Employee Pension Plan Reform to reforming the Muscogee County Prison after prior mismanagement.

For 16 years she practiced with the law firm of Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood, LLC, where she specialized in complex litigation and was the firm’s only female partner. She served from 2006-2010 as Executive Director of MidTown, Inc., a non-profit community renewal organization. She is a 1983 graduate of Chamblee High School in Atlanta, Georgia, a 1987 graduate of Sweet Briar College, in Virginia, and a 1991 graduate of Emory University School of Law, in Atlanta. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson moved to Columbus in 1994 from Atlanta and married Wade H. (Trip) Tomlinson, who was raised in Columbus.

Listen to our Exclusive DERRICK Interview below or for more information visit the City of Columbus, Ga.