Black Alabama lawmakers share negative encounters with law enforcement

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As protest play out across the state in hopes to end racial injustice, some Alabama lawmakers are sharing their own stories of injustice.

State Representatives Jeremy Gray, Chris England and Anthony Daniels say their stories are like so many other Alabamians.

“Just being a normal citizen, and then you have these encounters, which will whether you call it racism, whether you call it with law enforcement,” said Rep. Gray.

First-term Rep. Gray shared his story as part of a challenge #TellYourStory. He says he has been stopped several times by enforcement without any laws being broken.

“I wasn’t doing anything, I was a college kid, I had just got my new car and I was pulled over. I was just visiting a friend and I was hitting my apartment next and I was lost,” said Gray.

Rep. England says his negative experiences with law enforcement were both in court as a lawyer and as a state representative.

“I think it’s going to require our experiences, our shared experiences, to create those uncomfortable conversations,” said England.

This is a large part of the protesters’ message as they demand equal treatment under the law.

“We have to treat this disease and those that may have hatred in their heart, but don’t understand why. Whether it was upbringing or whether it was something that was taught to them. I think we must help them,” said Rep. Daniels.

The Alabama Fraternal Order of Police President Everett Johnson is encouraging law enforcement to get to know the communities and people they serve.

“I think part of that and some programs are in place that you get out in the community and you meet one-on-one with community leaders to discuss the issues that the community is having with law enforcement,” said Johnson.