Josh Glenn was first introduced to the world of drug dealing when he was 13. When he was working as a bagger at local grocery stores, someone from his West Philadelphia community approached him, asking if he would be interested in making “real money.”
“There were no role models, no mentorship, we didn’t have anything in our community,” Glenn said. “The role models were people who were selling drugs, they would come up to me looking flashy, having good money and would try and get me to sell drugs.”
Glenn was constantly approached and pressured to start dealing, eventually getting worn down. The police, Glenn said, would often target people in his community. In 2005, he was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. He said that he didn’t commit the crime, but the police charged him based on a complaint, and he found himself in jail for the next 18 months.
Glenn admitted that had a brief criminal drug history prior to his 2005 arrest, but that police would often stop and harass him and others in his community. From these encounters, he developed a steady distrust for police.
He also didn’t have much support from his home. He never spoke to his mother about what led to his brothers and sisters being placed in foster care. By the time he was 8, Glenn had already lost his father to violence, and his mother’s struggle with alcoholism began soon after.
Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalist. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post and contributing writer to numerous online publications. Click here to learn more about Peak.