Michelle Obama reflected on Chicago cops accusing her brother of stealing his own bike

Last Modified: 9th Sep

Michelle Obama recalled the “heartbreaking” time when her brother, Craig Robinson, was accused of stealing his own bicycle by the Chicago police. The incident took place when he was just around 10 years old.

On the Michelle Obama podcast, the former first lady, 56, invited her brother Craig, 58, and their mother Marian Robinson, 83. The trio discussed police brutality. 

A memory that stood out was when Chicago police accused Craig 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 reminisced “This guy grabbed my bike and he wouldn’t let it go.”

Michelle Obama, Craig Robinson (Image: Getty Images)

He remembered the incident when two Chicago police officers stopped him while he was riding his bike and they 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 to Robinson's home, his mother Marian confronted the police officers, who were both black. When asked why they kept pressing Craig, one finally admitted he knew Craig was telling the truth. 

As Craig Robinson called the experience “heartbreaking,” Michelle Obama said such the incident emphasized 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,” Obama said.

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