As Voting Begins Special Care Should Be Paid To Down Ballot Republicans Who Pose As Friends Of Our Community

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.

Aramis Ayala

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.

Our local law enforce­ment goes above and beyond to build bridges and keep our com­mu­ni­ty safe. I am incred­i­bly proud to have the sup­port of so many brave men and women in this year’s elec­tion. At a time when out-of-touch New York City politi­cians con­tin­ue to put crim­i­nals ahead of law-abid­ing cit­i­zens, this year’s elec­tion is crit­i­cal. We have to bring bal­ance back to Albany to help keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe and to ensure that vic­tims and law-abid­ing cit­i­zens have a real voice in the process. #Serino4NY #StandWithSue

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'Sue Serino STATE SENATE Endorsed by: New York State Troopers PBA RENEYOLENT ANII POII NEW YORK STATE TROOPERS ROOP A NEW ORN EXCELSIOR STATE POLICE'


I met you in Poughkeepsie at a protest when George Floyd was murdered.
You came across as nice, but I’m won­der­ing whether you were only there because oth­er lead­ers were there a‑la coun­ty exec­u­tive, con­gres­sion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive, etc.
You talk about police sup­port but do not utter a word about the harm police are doing to fam­i­lies and that is exact­ly why noth­ing gets done about dirty cops who abuse and kill inno­cent citizens.
Politicians like your­self are far too behold­en to them and their unions.

She DM-ed me

Hi Mike:
I absolute­ly have been very vocal in speak­ing out against the vio­lence of any kind and was at the prayer vig­il in Poughkeepsie to sin­cere­ly stand against that act of hate and sense­less vio­lence. There were also many offi­cers there them­selves, and at sub­se­quent protests, where they knelt along­side pro­tes­tors to denounce bru­tal­i­ty and violence.
I am proud of the sup­port I receive from the mem­bers of law enforce­ment who tru­ly serve our com­mu­ni­ty with hon­or and a sin­cere dri­ve to build con­nec­tions in the neigh­bor­hoods they serve, but I also absolute­ly under­stand that there is work to be done to ensure that every mem­ber of our com­mu­ni­ty feels heard, respect­ed and safe here. I believe that starts with encour­ag­ing open dia­logue which is some­thing I’ve been work­ing hard to fos­ter here.
Please know, I would wel­come a con­ver­sa­tion with you if ever you’d like to share your thoughts on this impor­tant issue more in-depth with me. Please feel free to call me on my cell any time at (XXX)XXX_XXXX, I redact­ed the sen­a­tor’s phone num­ber out of respect for her pri­va­cy. Our local law enforce­ment goes above and beyond.
Sincerely, Sue.

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.


Thanks for respond­ing. The issue of police abuse of peo­ple of col­or has been here for as long as the black codes were enact­ed dur­ing recon­struc­tion. Today police abuse of Black cit­i­zens stands as the num­ber one issue affect­ing African-Americans. Not only have our peo­ple suf­fered through hun­dreds of years of slav­ery and all of the ignominy inher­ent in it, but still today we con­tin­ue to suf­fer at the hands of police who con­tin­ue to enforce a dif­fer­ent kind of slav­ery, but slav­ery nonethe­less. There needs to be a clear line of demar­ca­tion between the lies that call­ing out dirty cops and the dan­gers they pose, is syn­ony­mous with being anti-law enforce­ment. I spent a decade in law enforce­ment, I was shot in the line of duty albeit, in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, I am pro the rule of law. In no way shape or form could I sup­port what police are doing to peo­ple under the col­or of law. It requires strong denun­ci­a­tions from every elect­ed offi­cial. Police can­not set the rules, you the elect­ed offi­cials are elect­ed to enact the peo­ple’s agen­da and the police must fol­low that agen­da. It is for that rea­son I believe that police unions should be banned from giv­ing to polit­i­cal cam­paigns and should not be allowed to give endorse­ments. I also believe that qual­i­fied immu­ni­ty should be done away with, and some of the resources spent on police should be divert­ed to fix­ing some of the socio-eco­nom­ic ills that affect dis­ad­van­taged communities.
Mike Beckles. Mikebeckles52@​gmail.​com
Not all police offi­cers are bad, we all know that, it should not be a prob­lem for any­one to make the sim­ple dis­tinc­tion between the good and the bad. There should be no mealy-mouthed response from any­one least of all elect­ed officials.
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.
Mike Beckles is a for­mer police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, he is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog mike​beck​les​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al websites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.