DALLAS -- Video of a Mesquite police officer boxing with a local teen has racked up more than a million views on social media.
Officer Winston Bowen said it all began when he was called to respond to a noise complaint at the Hillcrest Apartments.
“They were having a little barbecue, they were playing some music, and there were some kids out there with some gloves,” said Officer Winston Bowen.
The crowd turned down the music, but challenged him to a boxing match, strapping a spare set of gloves on him.
“There’s this perception that police officers have guns, we have a badge, but we can’t fight,” said Officer Bowen.
Bowen has been boxing since he was 13, so he accepted the invitation to spar.
In this Mesquite neighborhood, the officer is a familiar face, known by the affectionate nickname, Blade, because of an apparent resemblance to the superhero played by Wesley Snipes.
“Everybody loves him. They like him. When he pulls up, they’re like, ‘Aw, there’s Officer Blade’,” said 18-year-old De’Ovion Tutt who caught the officer and her neighbor exchanging jabs.
When he showed he could fight, the crowd howled in approval.
“Officer Blade got him,” said Tutt.
When Bowen’s radio was knocked loose, people stepped in to stop the fight and to show their admiration.
“We hugged, I mean, physically hugged,” he said of his opponent.
A Mesquite officer for 14 years, Bowen says moments like this that help break down the barriers between police and the minority communities they serve.
It’s a goal he’s dedicated his life to.
“Years ago I made that decision, I’ve got to step in there and I’ve got to make a difference,” he said.