WOL – Country singer Coffey Anderson is facing criticism online after he posted a video telling his fans what to do when they get pulled over by a police officer to make it a ‘safer’ situation.
In a Facebook clip that has more than 30 million views, the 38-year-old singer advised drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times and avoid movements that suggest they may be reaching for a gun.
But online commenters blasted the former Nashville Star finalist, saying his video was one-sided and suggests that drivers are always to blame for incidents involving the police.
Anderson posted the video on July 7, a day after Philando Castile, 32, was fatally shot by police officer Jeronimo Yanez, 28, during a traffic stop in suburban St Paul, Minnesota, last week.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said he was following the officer’s instructions when he was shot, and she live-streamed part of the incident on Facebook.
With more than 250,000 likes and 40,000 comments, Anderson’s Facebook clip re-enacts a traffic stop, with the country singer playing the role of a police officer.
He told his fans to turn the car off, turn down the radio, face the front of the car and put both hands on top of the steering wheel with their fingers extended.
‘As the cop is approaching, you have to realize he doesn’t know what’s coming,’ said Anderson. ‘As he’s walking up to the car, if he’s able to see both of your hands that’s safer for him. What it does, it takes his adrenaline down.’
‘Do not sit on your wallet,’ he added. ‘You want to have your wallet either in the side of your door, cup holder or at the front of your dash.’
Anderson, originally from Bangs, Texas, said drivers should have their ID out before the officer arrives at their window, and avoid movements that suggest they could be reaching for a weapon.
‘If you’re reaching down as he walks up you could be pulling a weapon which is going to compromise his safety which is going to make his adrenaline go up,’ said the former American Idol contestant.
Drivers should move slowly and tell the officer where their licence and registration is, and whether they are carrying a firearm, he added.
‘At the end of the day the policeman wants to go home safely, we want to get home safely,’ said Anderson. ‘Even if the cop is having a bad day you have to go home, you’ve gotta make it home.’
Anderson told his fans he regularly works with police officers when they provide security at his gigs and events, and preached a message of unity.
‘Guys, listen. This is about going home. There is a big disconnect because at the end of the day it’s about stereotypes,’ he said.
‘The stereotypes that I’ve seen about policeman was the video from Rodney King. And a lot of the stereotypes that they see of African-American men are not positive. I want to break the wall down between what we really don’t know about each other to what we can learn about each other.
‘So let’s make a simple protocol that can get you guys home safer on the police side and on our side.’
The video’s critics argued that Anderson didn’t emphasize the role that police play in ensuring a traffic stop concludes without incident.
One Facebook user wrote: ‘Man please! So people have to do all this to “make” an officer “feel” safe? When they ask you for your ID and you reach for it, and they shoot you anyway, then what?
‘Why are we acting like the drivers are the problem? Why don’t you get a video training officers how to treat and encounter black peoples. Let’s do this both ways.’
While he was criticized for his video, he also received plenty of praise.
One user wrote: ‘This video is clearly not about blaming anyone, but having intentions to save someone’s life by providing safety tips while attempting to connect some of the gap of misunderstanding between each other.
‘The video is not denying the stereotypes but rather acknowledging the unfortunate realities that they do exist.’
Another wrote: ‘This makes me so sad. I’m so sorry this is even necessary but I do appreciate you giving tips and making sure everyone gets home safe.’ (dailymail/nia/data1)