With all the instances of police brutality that have been flooding the media recently, it can be refreshing to see another side of things. This was provided for us in Mansfield, Ohio, when a police officer took a little time off duty to shoot hoops with some kids.
Bethany McManis, a resident of the neighborhood in which the incident occurred, was inspired by the event and took several pictures with the intention of sharing them on the internet. McManis hoped they would inspire a sense of positive change in others like they had in her, and was shocked when they became more popular than she ever could have imagined. She posted the pictures on her personal Facebook page and they instantly blew up, getting over 600 shares. (see video below — enlarge view to see entire thing)
There is also a viral video that was taken of the occurrence by an unknown party. Instead of the four boys shown in the pictures shot by McManis, it shows the officer playing with only one young man, while another appears to stand by. The officer is on defense the majority of the time until they switch at the end of the video. They are clearly enjoying themselves.
People are problem solvers by nature, and as such, we tend to focus on the bad rather than the good. We hope that by thinking and talking things out, we will be able to solve the world’s problems. And while that is a positive instinct to have, and one that has undeniably benefited the human race, sometimes we can do just as much good by just letting go and having a little fun. Despite the horrifying cases of police brutality that appear to be on the rise, this officer helped provide a different image of what the police represent.
By just taking a little time to be involved in the community as a regular human being rather than an authority figure, this officer has set us on the right track socially. Not only do citizens need empathy and understanding from the police, but the police need it from us as well. This picture shows us it’s possible. These kinds of gestures are all we need.