Ex-Military Cop, Now Comedian, Gary Owen Talks Police Encounters

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Former military police officer and now funny man, Gary Owen, joined Roland Martin Thursday on “NewsOne Now” to discuss the Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases, as well as police encounters with African Americans in general.

Owen, often referred to as “Black America’s favorite White comic” by Martin, is married to an African American woman and has a biracial son. As such, he has seen “both sides” of the issue that is tearing many Black communities apart as police officers kill Black men with impunity.

“In the Eric Garner case, if you turn the volume down, its literally like one of those internet viral videos where some guy is getting jumped. ‘Cause that cop was waiting in the wings and he just pounced on him. And then he tried to take his body weight and lean back with him. It’s basically a UFC hold. It was designed to choke you out.”

“Guys tap out in the UFC for that type of stuff,” Owen said.

Owens detailed how he handled car stops when an African American driver was involved, giving two examples of how one DUI stopped ended with him taking the offender home and another where he felt as though he had to arrest the driver. 

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Owen summed up his approach to policing by saying how people “dealt with me dictated the situation. I never looked at it like, I pulled you over, I have to arrest you. I always looked at it like let me see how this is going to go.”

As a law enforcement official, Owen said, “I’ve always had compassion for people too.”

Owen felt as though there was a lack of compassion for Garner.

Martin asked Owen, “Do you take into account that you are going to have that different kind of conversation with your son?”

Owen replied, “I do. I always say how you can disarm a situation is be extra polite.”

“Go in there expecting the worst, but hoping for the best, but no matter what the cop said, you just gotta say yes sir, no sir; yes ma’am, no ma’am. ‘Cause you can fight it later.”

Owens briefly talked about the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., “What killed me about that case is I don’t know too many people who got shot and then run back to the guy that just shot him.”

Two things Owen believes didn’t happen on August 9th are: “Mr. Wilson (Darren Wilson) wasn’t very polite when he told him (Mike Brown) to move by the sidewalk and the other end I know Mike Brown did not say ‘yes sir’ and walk to the side.

Owen also believes “that [the] situation escalated and just got out of control fast, where it could have been squashed immediately if Officer Wilson would have politely asked him to get on the sidewalk.”

Listen to Martin and comedian Gary Owen’s candid conversation about policing in African American communities above and let us know your thoughts.

Be sure to listen to “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 7 a.m. EST and watch at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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