Michelle Obama reflected on the “heartbreaking” time when her brother, Craig Robinson, was accused of stealing his own bicycle by the Chicago police when he was about 10 years old.
The former first lady, 56, invited Craig, now 58, and their mother Marian Robinson, 83, onto the Michelle Obama Podcast, where the trio spoke about police brutality.
One memory that stood out was when a Craig was accused of stealing his own bike: a yellow 10-speed bike that his parents had bought for him at the store Goldblatt’s in Chicago.
“It was terrifying only because I was always taught that the police are your friends and they’ll believe the truth,” Craig said on Wednesday’s episode.
He remembered during the incident two Chicago police officers stopped him while he was riding his bike.
“This guy grabbed my bike and he wouldn’t let it go,” Craig said, recalling that the officers were asking him questions to purposefully trip him up.
“I was like, ‘Oh you got this all wrong, this is my bike, don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and he would not believe me.”
“I was absolutely heartbroken,” he continued, “And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house and I will prove to you this is my bike.’”
When the cops brought him back at the Robinson home, his mother, Marian — who “had that tight lip” was prepared to defend her son.
Marian confronted the police officers, who were both black, about why the kept pressing Craig, and one finally admitted he knew her son was telling the truth.
Craig called the experience “heartbreaking,” specifically because he felt the cops were trying to “trip” him up when questioning him about where he got the bike.
Michelle Obama said the incident underscored the reality black Americans face when dealing with law enforcement.
“When you leave that safety of your home and go out into the street, where being black is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate,” she said.
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