Keep your ice cream Mr. Officer, we want justice!

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

A video of a black woman getting pulled over by police in Halifax, Virginia, has gone viral for fortunately much less tragic reasons than other recent videoed police encounters. Yet, it is still disturbing.

In the one-minute clip, Officer Brian Warner is seen bending over into the driver’s side window of a black woman’s car. She has a black male passenger in the front seat. She is visibly nervous as he asks her why she was pulled over by the police.  He tells her that she is in violation of code 1739 and that it was against the law that day to drive without an ice cream cone. As Officer Warner hands over two ice cream cones and introduces himself and Halifax Chief of Police Kevin Lands, the driver melts into a fit of giggles.

It almost sounds like the makings of a rare feel-good story about police officers. But given this emotionally and physically volatile time when 633 people have been killed by police in the US in 2016, this is not the moment for this. Add to that the fact that 156 of those killings have been of black people (twice the percentage of black people to the whole US population) and several of those being under high profile, dubious circumstances at best, you have a situation.

The anxiety induced by police encounters in the wake of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, the question-inducing shooting death of Korryn Gaines and others, should be enough to not move forward with a “prankster” idea involving giving ice cream instead of tickets.

Chief Lands said that “no constitutional rights were violated,” because each vehicle pulled over in the ice cream “prank” had committed minor traffic violations.

Sandra Bland allegedly committed a minor traffic violation. Philando Castile’s lover allegedly committed a minor traffic violation (or he just had a wide nose), and let’s not forget the non-fatal but deeply disturbing behavior of Daniel Holtzclaw.  There are valid reasons that people (especially people of color) would feel anxious at traffic stops.

“Am I saying the ‘right’ thing?”

“Can I reach for my license/insurance/registration without it seeming like a threatening motion?”

“Will I survive this speeding ticket?”

“Who’s going to believe me if I do survive whatever happens?”

Those are legitimate questions in this day and age to think while being pulled over by police. Nobody wants to be pulled over for whatever reason by cops. There is nothing charming, cute, progressive, or bond-inducing about pulling over people to give ice cream instead of tickets.

You want to engender better community relations? Have beat cops go out and actually get to know the communities they serve. Don’t wait for a 911 call to get to know the people. Let the taxpayers who pay your salary know that you are invested and genuinely interested in their well-being, not reaching arrest/ticket quotas or acting on f*cked up racist delusions of black, bullet-immune demons. However, that’s not to say that the public needs to be deluged with every dancing or basketball playing cop every time the headlines are filled with fatal cop encounters.  “See, cops don’t always kill people.” We know that.

There are more decent cops than mentally unstable, homicidal maniac cops. That majority should speak up and break down that troublesome blue wall. Nothing good comes from harboring unnecessarily violent cops. Nothing.

Additionally, police officers need to be properly trained to de-escalate situations. Psychological examinations and thorough background checks should be used to avoid having a force of people unsuited for the emotionally and psychologically rigorous work of making life or death split-second decisions. Basically, hire people who can actually do their jobs well.

Forget the ice cream; give us real change.

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.