Twitter user @TheHipsterRebbe, real name Ben Faulding, shared a scary story about how misplaced suspicion, miscommunication, and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones almost resulted in a deadly encounter while he was shopping.
While shopping for conditioner for his "wild hair" (which was partially concealing his black noise-cancelling headphones), he went down an aisle only to be confronted by a Nassau County police officer, weapon-drawn. A second officer screamed at Ben to get on the ground, but Ben was confused... He had done nothing wrong, and could barely hear over his music.
Scared and confused, Ben followed instructions as best he could and asked the officers to remove the headphones for him, so he could continue to do so. "Last thing I wanted was some mild mistake to end my life. Like with Daniel Shaver," he wrote.
Ben recalls the recent shooting of Daniel Shaver, who was killed by police after a series of confusing instructions and the simple act of trying to pull up his pants. "A subconscious, small hand motion," Ben writes. "He probably didn’t even think about it. And it ended his life."
But the story gets scarrier: The store clerk had called the police because she believed Ben was shoplifting. Somehow, the officers were under the impression that it was an armed robbery. This miscommunication escalated the situation to a point that put Ben's life at risk.
"What if my skin was darker?," Ben wonders. "What if the cops had been a little bit jumpy?"
Naturally, Ben is left with some questions about the incident. "But I really want to know what happened. How was there such a colossal failure in communication?"
He ended his tweet thread with an admission that blasting music "might not have been the smartest move," but that it shouldn't have mattered to begin with.
It's still unclear why the clerk thought Ben was shoplifting, why the cops thought it was an armed robbery, and how the situation even escalated to that point. Other Twitter users wondered if it hadn't been headphones as in this case, what if an innocent suspect was deaf and couldn't follow orders?
In the end, Ben says the cop was "really nice and apologetic after," but that "I don't think I owe him anything though. This was a huge f*** up that nearly killed me."
We're glad that everyone ended up okay this time, but it serves as a cautionary tale for the inevitable next time something like this happens.
Photo: @TheHipsterRebbe / via Twitter