A Tucson man whose uneventful encounter with police despite having a gun and wearing a hoodie has gone viral, met Friday with the two officers who pulled him over. Steven Hildreth Jr. has been an Internet hit since he wrote a Facebook post earlier this week about being stopped by Tucson police on Oct. 27.
He noted he was treated professionally and courteously despite the fact that he was an armed black man wearing a hoodie.
Hildreth says he believes race had less to do with his positive police encounter than his attitude during the stop.
“The vast majority of times, if you’re respectful with the officers, they’ll be respectful of you,” Hildreth said in an interview Friday.
Hildreth said he was stopped because one of his headlights was out and that he expected to get a ticket. When the officer asked if he had any weapons, he answered that he has a concealed carry permit and had a gun on his right hip. Because his wallet was in his back-right pocket, the officer needed to disarm Hildreth to check his ID, he wrote on Facebook.
The encounter ended with the National Guardsman getting a verbal warning.
“I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped,” he wrote on Facebook. “According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities,” he wrote. Maybe . . .just maybe . . .that notion is bunk. We see a lot of negative in regards to law enforcement nowadays,” he said on Friday.”I felt that is was necessary to show an average traffic stop goes.”
Hildreth said he felt it was important to document the police encounter on social media.
“To put it bluntly,” he continued. “You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”