Michelle Obama reflects on the “harrowing” time when his brother, Craig Robinson, was accused of stealing his bike from Chicago police when he was about 10 years old.
The former first lady, 56, invited Craig, now 58, and her mother Marian Robinson, 83, to the Podcast by Michelle Obama, where the trio talked about police brutality.
A memory that stands out is when a Craig was accused of stealing his own bicycle: a 10-speed yellow bicycle that his parents had bought for him at Goldblatt’s store in Chicago.
“It was scary just because I was always learning that the police are your friends and they will believe the truth,” Craig told Wednesday’s episode.
He recalled during the incident that two Chicago police officers arrested him while he was riding a bicycle.
“This guy took my bike and wouldn’t let him do it,” Craig said, recalling that officers asked him questions on purpose.
“I was like, ‘Oh, you’re all wrong, this is my bike, don’t worry, it’s not a stolen bike,’ and you wouldn’t believe me.”
“I was absolutely distressed,” he continued, “and finally I told him, ‘Stay tuned, you can take me to my house and I will show you that this is my bike.’
When the cops brought him home to Robinson, his mother, Marian – who “had that tight label” was ready to defend her son.
Marian confronted the police officers, who were both black, so Craig continued to press, and one finally admitted that he knew his son was telling the truth.
Craig called the experience “heartbreaking,” specifically because he felt like cops were trying to “stumble” when asked about where he took the bike.
Michelle Obama said the incident highlighted the reality that black Americans face when dealing with law enforcement.
“When you leave the security of your home and go out on the street, where being black is a crime in itself, we all have to learn to operate,” he said.