ST. LOUIS — Speak in short sentences. Be clear. Direct but not rude. Stay calm, even if you’re shaking inside. Never put your hands in your pockets. Make sure people can always see your hands. Try not to hunch your shoulders. Listen to their directions.
Darnell Hill, a pastor and a mental health caseworker, offers black teenagers these emotional and physical coping strategies every time a black person is fatally shot by a police officer. That’s when parents’ worries about their sons and daughters intensify.
“They’re hurting,” Hill said. “They’re looking for answers.”
Hill, who is African American, learned “the rules” the hard way. When he was 12, he and a group of his friends jumped a fence to go for a swim in a lake. That’s when two officers approached them. One of the cops, a white man, threatened to shoot Hill and everyone else if he ever caught