Physician Ed. Note: What follows are the words and stories of my friends and colleagues. They are also your friends and colleagues. And if you don’t know them personally, I’m sure you know and respect someone else who can share similar experiences. They are stories of pain, of being wronged, and of an unjust society and world. They are words that bring tears to the eyes and an ache to the soul. Our authors are a shining example of determination, resilience, and grit—all qualities that I admire the most in my idols. Please read, reflect on your own life, and act purposely to be an ally. Black Lives Matter. —Alexander Chiu, MD
Explore This IssueJuly 2020
Do Away with Fear
Lamont Jones, MD, MBA
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
On Nov. 29, 1997, in Metairie, La., I was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a police officer, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace. I was young, black, and male—all the ingredients necessary for many to assume it a forgone conclusion.
The truth of the matter was the charges were 100% fabricated. The police were called to a gathering I was at, and the officer did not like that I questioned why he was there. He threatened to push my head through the windshield of his car before he handcuffed me and took me to jail. When I was released the next day, his written report said I had struck him several times, while I screamed that I didn’t want to leave my music. Despite having multiple witnesses (more than 10 current black doctors, lawyers, dentists, and executives) and the entire event on video, the complaint I filed against the officer was dismissed due to insufficient evidence and I had to seek legal help to fight the charges.
That day, the officer did not see a young, Black male from Detroit with zero blemishes on his record, an honors premedical student at Xavier University of Louisiana who had been accepted by and would be matriculating to the top-10-ranked University of Michigan School of Medicine in six months, a future physician scientist and leader, a future husband and father, a brother, a son, an NIH grant recipient, a mentor, a role model, and someone who would volunteer medical services in his local community and travel the world to provide care to those in need. He had to know his premeditated actions that day would have a negative effect on my life.