A traffic stop led to yet another confrontation between police officers in Indiana and the black community on July 9, but not in the way some would expect (video below).
“We did get beat, you know,” said Trooper David Vido, talking about a game of basketball against children, Lafayette Journal & Courier reports.
In the middle of increased racial tensions, a video capturing Lafayette police officers playing basketball with local kids -- many of them black -- has warmed hearts nationwide.
“I was coming into town to meet up with friends and just happened to drive by,” said Kristin Pearl, the woman who caught the moment on camera. “It was such a magical moment that I pulled over to capture it. The kids were having a blast. I’m a teacher, and I love it when the police establish community relations with children. It really does make a difference in perception of authority.”
Troopers Vido, Stephen Grayson, Jeremy Piers and Kent Westcott were at the end of a traffic stop when a group of children approached, asking a ton of questions.
That’s when one of the children -- about age 5 or 6 -- challenged an officer to a game of ball.
“The kid with the basketball said, ‘I’ll bet I can take you one-on-one.’ [Trooper Grayson] said, ‘You’re on,’” Vido recalls.
So the four troopers and kids went to a nearby park, but not before stirring up some concern among local residents, like Toni Lear.
“We were like, ‘Uh oh, what now?’” Lear said. “Because usually at that park, when you see a police car pull in, it’s not going to be anything good. But two cars and then four cars? Oh, man, we were thinking it was time to get the kids and get inside the house.”
Instead, the four troopers played against a group of kids of various ages -- and lost.
“We definitely need a rematch,” Vido joked, adding that he was now sore.
Parents of the children said they were touched by the game.
“My son was one of the kids who got to play in the basketball game with them. He ran home excited and happy. This story is a breath of fresh air for all the negative attention surrounding law enforcement,” Chiquita Quinn said.
Pearl agreed: “In the face of all that is going on in America right now, it was refreshing to drive into Lafayette and see this.”