SBPD officers stop patrol to play pickup basketball with South Bend kids

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s a Friday afternoon in the spring, a beautiful afternoon at that, so why not head out into the streets for a game of pickup basketball?

Well, Thursday night, a group of kids on South Bend’s east side had a surprising opponent.

“Something else was happening, so I took their mind off of that and I wanted them to play basketball with me,” Kristain Hoskins said. “We played a game of 48.”

Two South Bend police officers out on patrol on the east side Thursday night got asked to have a little bit of fun.

“You know, a lot of our young black men are afraid of the police,” said Jessica Hoskins, Kristain’s mother. “So, I found it very hopeful when my son walked up to the cop with the basketball and said take a shot.”

That one shot turned into a 15-minute game between the officers and the group of kids.

Jessica Hoskins was so happy to see it, she made it a Facebook Live.

“There's been so much negativity and so much violence in the community lately that I actually wanted to take the time out and show something positive,” Jessica Hoskins said.

The two officers were out on a call Friday, but a police spokesman says playing basketball with the kids is just something they try to do all the time.

“By establishing relationships in the neighborhood and talking to them and showing that the police are not bad people, that they can talk to us, we're here to help, to be part of the community,” SBPD spokesman Ken Garcia said.

Kristain says he loved getting the chance to show off his skills -- winning bragging rights, an added bonus

“It was really cool,” Kristain said. “Plus, I had fun.”

Jessica Hoskins has a final message to the officers who impacted her son's otherwise typical Thursday:

“I would most definitely give them a good handshake and thank them for having a such a good experience with my son."

Kristain says if other kids find themselves in this position across the city, there's no harm in asking the cops to just take one basketball shot and play with them.