Many years ago I was with a former colleague at the home of his dad in the Bronx having a discussion about our former life as police officers. Dillo as we affectionately referred to my friend turned to me and asked, “how come you speak out so much against the police and you were such a no-nonsense police officer”?
I was not put off by the question because we were what could be described as cops-cops, I simply asked my friend, ” bro can you seriously say that what these cops are doing to people of color is good policing”?
Dillo looked steadfastly at me for a good thirty seconds before lowering his head and replying, “Nah bro”.
After a decade of service in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in which I saw service at the Beat & Foot Patrol, Mobile Reserves & CIB branches, being shot in the line of duty, and having militated for more and more power for the police, I find it remarkable that I have now made a 180 degree turn away from much of those powers be given to police.
Now granted that Jamaica and the United States are two separate countries with different structures, the cries in both nations for social justice and the need to end police abuse is the same.
The problem of police-related killings in the United States is not a problem that is new. It is not a problem for which the authorities have correct data, the authorities do not have correct data because the system is working exactly the way they want it to work.
Without relitigating the history of America’s entrenched racist policies and how they influence everything, including policing, the shocking cancer of police abuse in America should be aired out for the world to see.
It is so systemic that it goes far beyond just the killings, it has to do with evidence planting, falsification of evidence, collusion by prosecutors and police in the systemic culture of oppression of minorities, collusion between police, prosecutors, and judges in the oppression of minority communities, and more so the African-American community.
Judges are just as guilty as prosecutors and cops, the disproportionately harsh sentences African-Americans receive at their hands for the same offenses committed by whites, is both shameful and embarrassing to them.
After George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin and two other cops in Minneapolis, there have been renewed calls for reimagining what policing ought to look like. For the white power structure, Black people have no such right to self ‑determination, which includes no right to determine how their tax dollars are spent by state and local governments.
Part of the strategy toward reimagining how Black communities ought to be policed, particularly by white police is to elect progressive prosecutors that share the values of the African-American community.
That does not mean [not] punishing criminals, it means seeing the disproportionality of how the system is skewed against Blacks, and make decisions when to prosecute or not to prosecute.
It is a tall order in a country with such systemic and entrenched racism built-in, which ensures the abuse of minorities. Worse yet, Donald Trump and his lackey Bill Barr who heads the justice department, are pulling out all of the stops to ensure that the status quo is not only retained but solidified.
However, in Florida, State Attorney Aramis Ayala has launched a program to reduce the number of people prosecuted for non-violently resisting arrest.
Said Ms. Ayala, “We have consistently heard that some members of law enforcement use this charge as a weapon when people don’t immediately respond to their commands, or if they ask too many questions before complying, or simply if they make an encounter more difficult for the officer.” In many cases, these peaceful protesters have been met by efforts to silence them and to crush their First Amendment rights to get them off the streets and out of the public view.”
Unfortunately for African-Americans within Ms. Ayala’s sphere of influence, she will not be seeking re-election come November.
In this election all things are on the ballot, it’s not just about getting rid of Donald Trump along with as many as possible of the House and Senate Republicans who have enabled Trump’s criminality, it is about removing and replacing local Republicans that move around and pass around us like they are good people, they enjoy bi-partisan support and they generally get elected by passing themselves off as one of us.
Here in Dutchess County in New York’s Hudson Valley, Democrats continue to vote Republicans like Sue Serino, Marc Molinaro, and others into office.
Despite a largely black community in the city and town of Poughkeepsie and all around the county the Poughkeepsie common council is controlled by Republicans, the county executive is Republican, and all around the county, Republicans control virtually all of the local common councils.
During the George Floyd protest in the city of Poughkeepsie, I rubbed shoulders with a few of those politicians, Republicans all, with the exception of our Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.
There was State Senator Sue Serino, County Executive Marc Molinaro, Mayor of the city of Poughkeepsie Rob Rollinson.
Like typical politicians, they all had their canned answers, when I asked them why they found it necessary to be there? Nothing in their answers was worth my time, or worth writing about.
Today there are protests still going on right here in New York State, in Minnesota, in Oregon, In Kentucky, and other states, all across the country people are calling out for changes in policing practices. Personally I believe that those calls do not go nearly far enough.
But what I thought was a real affront was a social media post from Sue Serino days ago. I could not help myself so I had this to say in response to her gloating about this endorsement.
She DM-ed me
Notice that the Senator did not once mention the term (police violence), not once. Reading her comments, one would believe that George Floyd was killed by some thug other than the uniformed thugs paid by the people of Minneapolis Minnesota.
Frankly, I haven’t yet called the senator to give her my point of view or to hear her detail exactly what she will be doing here in New York state to protect innocent citizens from amped-up police that are not the saints she described in uniform. She is presently in the fight for her political life with her democratic opponent [Karen] Smythe.
but I did send her a response.
In 2014 I lost my 20-year old son who was a Junior at Plattsburg State University, the actions of the New York State police, the Plattsburg Police, and University Police were nothing short of exemplary to me and my family.
I will always hold those officers dear to my heart in the way that they not only carried out their duties in finding our son but in their graciousness to me and my family.
With all of the foregone and having been a law enforcement officer myself, I am still not conflicted about speaking out against bad cops.
We should expect no less from our elected officials, they are the ones who are supposed to enact the agendas we elect them to enact.
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