I'm terrified of undercover cops.

I should clarify that, as a Black man in 2017, I'm also terrified of regular cops. But at least when a cop is dressed like a cop, you know where you stand. Because whenever an officer goes somewhere in uniform, he's basically saying, "Hey everyone, please don't do drugs in front of me because I'd really prefer not to shoot any of you and/or fill out any paperwork."

But undercover cops don't offer you the same courtesy. An undercover officer is pretty much saying, "Hey man, do you want some drugs?" And when you say yes, he whips out his badge, throws you in handcuffs, and presumably says something like, "Gotcha!" or "You've been punk'd!" or "You're going to jail, buddy!" or "I'm in too deep, kid. The shit I've done, they'll never let me out of the game now. They own me. They'll always own me. They wiped my files from the public record, and the only way I can get out is to dig deeper. So I'll let you off this time because you're not who I'm after and turning you in won't get me what I need. Just promise that you'll go to my wife and tell her that I love her. Her name's Victoria, and she lives at 1364 Sycamore Street. It's a big yellow house with a two car garage and a big pine tree out front. I haven't seen the place in ages, but sometimes when I close my eyes I can still smell the pine and see her waving to me from the front porch. Just promise me you'll see her for me, okay kid? Promise me! And when you get there, you tell her that her Paul still loves her. Tell her that I've always loved her and that I haven't forgotten my promise. She'll know what that means."

Or maybe they just read you your Miranda rights like they're supposed to. I don't know, I've never met an undercover cop. Or maybe I've met a ton of undercover cops, and they were all just really good at being undercover. Maybe everyone I've ever met is an undercover cop. There's literally no way of knowing.

The point is, things got out of hand for a few undercover officers in Detroit this week, and it all boiled down to a misunderstanding.

Two officers from Detroit's 12th Precinct decided to go undercover as drug dealers in the hopes of arresting anyone who approached them and tried to buy narcotics. At the same time, officers from Detroit's 11th Precinct also went undercover as narcotic users in an effort to arrest anyone who might be willing to sell them drugs.

Undercover cops from the 11th Precinct ran into undercover cops from the 12th Precinct, and since no one knew what the fuck was going on, the officers pulled their weapons on each other. Because apparently these days the police aren't even safe from themselves.

The whole thing sounds like a scene from an action movie or a zany cop comedy, but it really happened. And the most ridiculous part of the whole ordeal is that this all went down in Detroit, which I never would've expected.

It's not that I'm surprised a fiasco like this took place in Detroit. After all, Michigan can barely keep lead out of its water, so it makes sense they'd flub a battle in the unwinnable War on Drugs. (Though I think we can all agree that if anyone deserves to get high, it's the people who still have to live in Detroit.)

I was shocked, though, to read that the city of Detroit could actually afford two entirely different police precincts. I did not see that coming, because whenever I think of Detroit – and I really try not to think about Detroit – I picture a vast, desolate, post-apocalyptic cityscape full of abandoned assembly plants and roving packs of rabid wolves. Because Detroit, Michigan makes Gary, Indiana look like Beverly Hills.

Ultimately, it was all a big to-do over a simple miscommunication, and it's unclear why the two precincts hadn't contacted each other beforehand. But again, this shit happened in Detroit, so it's safe to assume that the officers wanted to call each other and check in, but both precincts had run out of minutes on their prepaid flip phones.