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DES MOINES, Iowa —
Officer Jonathan Mullock was on patrol on the main drag in Lamoni when he saw Davin McKinney, a scholarship football player at Graceland University, for the first time.
“I saw he was walking, and I don’t think he had a coat on either,” Mullock said. “I stopped and asked if he needed a ride.”
“At first, I was like, ‘I’m not going to talk to this guy. He’s crazy. What’s he talking to me for? What do you have to say to me?’” McKinney said.
McKinney had his reasons for questioning the officer’s motives.
Growing up in a crime-ridden Brooklyn neighborhood in New York City, he was taught to run from cops. They were the bad guys, and he usually got away — except for one time when he was 10 years old.
“He caught me, fat guy caught me,” McKinney said. “Tripped me and he beat me up really bad and knocked five teeth out of my mouth and broke my nose, so I was so angry after that growing up with cops.”
So how did the encounter happen?
“He looks good, he pulls it off well,” Mullock laughed.
Mullock kept picking up McKinney and eventually McKinney asked to do a ride-along. And not too long after that, McKinney was second-guessing his degree in special education.
“Now I’m going to try to make an impact in other people’s life like he did mine,” McKinney said.
They’ve become close friends and Mullock has mentored McKinney every step of the way, right up to his swearing-in ceremony four weeks ago when he officially became a police officer.
“I don’t feel I’ve done anything that strange or different,” Mullock said. “I feel like everything I’ve done and how I’ve treated Davin should be normal, so when it had that big an impact on him it kind of surprised me that something so small I see as common changed his life in such a way.”
McKinney was hired by a police department in southwestern Missouri.
He says his mother and twin sister are proud of him, but most of his family and friends have stopped talking to him since his decision to become an officer.