SEATTLE — We need a good police story.
After the anger and the violence unleashed the last few days, maybe a skateboard can help.
I don't mean to be flippant, but sometimes the mundane can be profound.
Craig Hanaumi taught me that.
When he first showed up at Bellevue Skate Park to do community outreach years ago, he wasn't exactly a kid magnet. He was wearing his police uniform, his badge, his gun. But then he pulled out his skateboard, and did an ollie. He was in.
"It's not about having the nicest board or shiniest wheels, it's about culture and friendship," manager Joe Moorman said. "Craig gets that."
Hanaumi says it's his responsibility to step into other cultures and build those friendships. He did that with a young man I'll call "P".
P moved here when he was a kid. He's now a talented, charming young man. It wasn't always that way. There were fights. There were gangs. There were drugs. There was history.
When P was a young child in Mexico, he was playing soccer outside. He didn't see the trucks drive up to his uncle's house. He didn't see a local drug gang get out. He didn't see the massacre.
But later, he saw his mother holding his 3-year-old brother's body. Five people were killed. P's family fled the country.
He got here, had a rough time, found a rough crowd.
"I won't blame my brother for that," he insists with tears in his eyes. He doesn't hand out blame-- just credit.
"He was reaching out to me," P said of Officer Hanaumi. "He was the only one in my face, like -- boom -- stay away from them. They're bad. They're doing this."
Officer Hanaumi kept an eye out for P. He did more than an ollie. He pestered P to pursue other things - jiu-jitsu, painting, skating, anything. He gave him rides. He gave him support. It took years, but P finally got clean, and left the gang.
He still struggles, but he's not alone.
"There are a lot of officers who care," Officer Hanaumi says, "and his [P's] story - this is what makes it worth it."
There are good police stories.
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