If Black lives really matter, we need the courage to police the police and stop killing us

by Andre Reid

This is the panoramic view from the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House in the 1990s. Known as The Nabe, generations have grown up here. Is a corrupt criminal justice system responsible for snatching adults like Andre Reid, who are committed to the community, away from here, where the youth need their guidance, and locking them up in prison?

I’m from the Potrero Hill District, raised on Missouri Street, and I’m currently incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison doing 12 years on a manslaughter case. I’m not going to act like I’ve always been a law-abiding citizen. Growing up, I did a lot of things I wish I could take back. It’s no excuses; I was a part of the problem instead of the solution.

The reason I’m writing is I’ve never tried to use my voice as an advocate in my neighborhood. I was almost killed by the police on Jan. 23, 2003, in the parking lot of Walgreens on Third Street and Evans.

The officer who shot me – well, grazed me in the face – was an officer whose service weapon was taken because of psych issues. His name was Paul Lozada. (Editor’s note: Lozada, according to the Chronicle, “served as an adviser to Oscar winner Denzel Washington in ‘Training Day,’ in which Washington portrayed a narcotics cop with Lozada’s flashy street dress and braggadocio.”)

At the time, I didn’t know the voice I could have had if I would have spoken out. I guess because I was placed in jail as the result of the SFPD trying to cover up the issue, I was scared and was just happy to be alive and not in jail. Because of this incident, I’ve been railroaded by the SFPD.

The reason I’m writing is I’ve never tried to use my voice as an advocate in my neighborhood.

Before this case that I’m in jail for, I was working at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House and volunteering at the Potrero Hill Resource Center working with the kids in the neighborhood. I know firsthand the issues Black people face in the hood.

It’s not just police brutality. It’s also the resources and education and work opportunities. As a whole, we’re not using our voice.

The Black community is the only community that isn’t a community. We allow officers to terrorize the youth with all types of harassment and illegal arrests. It’s no one policing the police.

As a whole, the Black race is the only race that doesn’t have their own. If you don’t have skill with a ball or mic, it’s practically not okay to be anything Black. If you’re a successful Black person and you speak out against the wrong that’s going on, then they try to take that voice.

It’s not just police brutality. It’s also the resources and education and work opportunities. As a whole, we’re not using our voice.

Look how Colin’s being done for taking a knee during the national anthem. They think because he’s biracial, he’s not Black. What they don’t get is Black will always be Black, no matter what you’re mixed with. He still deals with the same thing we do.

To be real, I don’t know why I’m writing besides I want to thank the Bay View for being the voice of the Black people in San Francisco. And to let you know that if you wanted to use me as a platform to spark the conversation of what’s going on in our community, I’m here to answer any question.

In my community, I’m a person the youth look up to and listen to. I’m not a great writer outside of writing music, but I’m here! And thank you again.

Look in the mirror

We point fingers all we want, but we can’t do that unless we’re ready to look in the mirror at ourselves. The mirror doesn’t lie.

We have to stop killing us for Black lives to matter. We have to do something about the drugs in the hood. We have to teach the kids that’s having kids how to be parents. I was 15 with a kid.

My story is very epic in that I am the epitome of what the youth in the hood face every day. I just haven’t figured out how to use my story and voice to help change things.

By the way, in the streets I’m known as Dre or Drug. Don’t ask how I got the name either; I don’t know. To be real, I don’t like it.

Send our brother some love and light: Andre Reid, BA-5817, SQSP, San Quentin CA 94974.