Study Guide

Sidney Rock in Autobiography of My Dead Brother

By Walter Dean Myers

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Sidney Rock

Sidney might be a cop, but Jesse thinks he's cool—and though we don't really see Sidney interacting with anyone else except for Rise (who's pretty rude to him), we get the sense that other people feel that way, too. "Sidney Rock was a cop, but he was okay with everybody on both sides of the Ave," Jesse tells us:

He had grown up on the same block where I lived and hung out there a lot of the time. […] He kind of looked out for all the brothers he knew and that were straight with him. (2.91)

Because of this, Sidney doesn't just spend his time busting people; he does a lot of outreach to local kids to try to help steer them on the right path. Toward the beginning of the book, he takes Jesse and Rise to visit Mason in jail because he thinks the boys might be able to talk Mason out of committing more crimes. And later, we see his investment in crime prevention when he calls Jesse on his day off:

"You have to work on Sundays, too?"

"I don't have to, really," [Sidney] said. "But I figure if I don't work on Sundays sometimes, I end up working overtime during the week trying to clean up the mess I could have prevented on Sunday." (18.15-18.16)

Sidney recognizes that prevention is a more effective deterrent of crime than punishment and does what he can to intervene before things get too bad. Is it totally effective? Nope—but it's better than doing nothing or only showing up in the community when something bad happens.

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