The Shaker Heights neighborhood was in for a surprise on Saturday.
A woman in Shaker Heights Ohio saw a group of kids playing in the street near her house and decided to call the cops on them. But the cops did not arrest or detain the kids—instead, they decided to join them for the game of football that they were playing. One of the kids' mothers, named Wendy Brown, captured a video of the cops playing that has won hearts and minds and doing the rounds of social media, reports News 10. Considering the kind of distrust that the community has on the police right now with the death of George Floyd and other cases of police brutality, gestures such as this one by the Ohio cops seem like the need of the hour, according to many. One of the cop came up to Brown and told her about the complaint, told her to not be worried, and even added he too played in the streets as a kid.
Lady calls cops on kids playing football in the street, cops show up and play football with the kids.— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) June 24, 2020
THIS KIND OF STUFF DOESN'T HAPPEN IN CHAZ. pic.twitter.com/ljhCygrs7e
Brown further said the children were “just playing” one Saturday and just being kids. Brown added, “We encourage them to go outside and just be kids, so they were just playing football out in the street like they do any other time,” Brown said while adding that she did not know who the cops were but she was thankful they were a playful bunch. “I don’t know the cop’s name, but he came to me and said, ‘I don’t know who would do it, but someone called police on the kids, they said they were playing in the street so we came by.’ And he said, ‘We used to play in the street as kids.'” In the video taken by Brown, one can see the cops totally engrossed in the game. One of the older children throws the ball to one of the cops who receives the ball. At another point, they switch places to run around the streets.
This what I like to see. It ain’t hard to love and build a relationship. Shame on however called them out in the first place— Nique Dubrey (@DubreyNique) June 24, 2020
Brown added, “If we didn’t have the three gentlemen that came over to check on them, it could’ve gone way worse,” she said. Joe DiLillo, a police officer in Ohio's South Euclid, has been in the force for 15 years and said during this time he had often played a game of basketball with young boys and kids. He said people often referred to him lovingly as Officer Joe. “I’ve never punched anybody, kicked anybody, stabbed anybody, shot anybody. Most officers go their entire careers without doing so. They recognized me, I recognized them and they asked me to come out of the car and talk with them a little bit, rub elbows, and then join them in a game of basketball, which I was happy to do,” DiLillo said. There have been many reports of police officers similarly showing their athletic and softer side while on duty.
Great policing— A_malabuu_life (@A_malabuu_life) June 25, 2020
Much before the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests, C.B. Fleming, a 42-year-old officer corporal from South Hill, Virginia became a sort of a local celebrity after he was caught on camera playing with dolls with a group of kids and ensuring that they felt safe during a gas leakage in their apartment complex. He was one of the first officers to respond to the emergency. The video showed Fleming lying down on a pavement and playing with the kids as he spoke with them. The video taken by one of the kid's mom had gone viral earning him and his department mich praise. More recently in Florida, a complaint was made about a group of kids playing basketball and making noise. A Gainesville officer, named Bobby White, responded to the complaint but instead of telling off the kids, he played with them.
White's department posted the video of Facebook where it received millions of views. After some days he even got Shaquille O'Neill to join him in what was a big surprise for the kids. The NBA legend played one or two games and gave the kids and doled out some fatherly advice to stay out of trouble.