The Baddest Dog in Harlem’, written by Walter Dean Meyers, is a part of the collection “145th street: Short Stories”
which was published in 2001 and is set in the present day. Walter was an African American writer that was known for children’s books and young adult literature.
Now, I wasn’t a fool and I know when the police come tearing like that they’re looking for somebody. I did just like everybody else leaning on that rail did, said a quick prayer and put on my innocent face”.
The idea that black people “have to put on an innocent face” implies that they are already seen as guilty in the eyes of the police despite having no involvement
therefore highlighting the racial prejudice that black people in Harlem have to face and is additionally seen when the police frisked Willie, even when they did not have any reason to believe that Willie had anything illegal on him.