If you previously ignored the atrocities that American police commit every day against black people, I get it.
If, however, the Derek Chauvin killing of George Floyd did not spur something inside you.…..you, my dear sir/madam, may be desensitized to the violence.
I get how you could say, ‘why bother? It’s not affecting me’. I totally get that the sheer brutality of it is too much to watch if you don’t have to. I mean, how many of us haven’t scrolled past the fly-infested mouths of the scrawny near-dead people in the Sudan and Darfur? We tell ourselves that viewing those images is counter-productive; they live too far away, there is nothing we can do? But are we really telling the truth, or are we simply trying to convince ourselves that we cannot change it?
Many years ago, my friend “Dillo,” a man I went to the police academy with, served in the Jamaica Constabulary Force with, asked me as we chatted in the Bronx, “how can you criticize the police and we were such no-nonsense police officers”?
I reminded Dillo of that conversation as we chatted a few weeks ago. Dillo lives in Maryland and I in New York; we laughed as we relived those moments. I responded to his question with one of my own, ” Dillo, did we do any of the things these cops are doing”?
Dillo looked me dead in the eyes that beautiful summer day as we sat in his father’s yard, “you are right; I hate it when you are right.”
Our conversation that day was over two decades ago; at the time, there were no cell phone cameras, stories of police abuses were personal stories that were relayed word of mouth, stories of personal pain, individual stories that hardly got mentioned in the newspapers or on television. When the media did bother to carry a story of police abuse, they came with heavy loads of pro-police prologue; they were sanitized by a media that felt it had to pay homage to police even in the face of their most egregious crimes.
Television and cable channels were inundated with cop shows; we all remember the cop shows that glorified law enforcement and demagogued the bad guys.
It just followed that ninety percent of the time, the cops were white, and the bad guys were black. Sure we all watched and enjoyed Magnum PI, Miami Vice, and the litany of other cop shows, what we failed to realize, .….…yes even us blacks, at that time was the indoctrination value of those television shows that solidified in our minds what Hollywood wanted us to memorize, white equals good, black equals bad.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF POLICE WORST INSTINCTS; ON WHAT PLANET COULD THIS BE JUSTIFIED OR OKAY?
Some argue that American Policing is [not broken]; they say it is working exactly as it was intended to. I concur with that point of view. However, the brand of policing that is occurring across the United States is so horrific that there is no hope of resuscitating it. It is fundamentally antithetical to the autonomy and dignity of African-Americans.
The idea that officers may exercise discretion when dealing with the elderly, or infirm, people with mental issues, underage kids, people under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not apply anymore. Far too often, we see police show up to deal with simple situations and make the matter exponentially worse because of their fragile egos.
Far too many cops are robotic oppressors who elevate shitty traffic stops they orchestrate, they then goad and intimidate and finally end up abusing the motorist, usually people of color, to gain felony arrests or worse, the driver ends up dead at the hands of police for having committed no crime, no offense.
Tasers are used to exact punishment for contempt of cop, guns for little girls with knives, for a black man who dares to offend bullets to the back is the accepted punishment.
The American cop is now judge, jury, and executioner, the judicial system merely rubber-stamp the atrocities.
The police are not the only part of the equation that’s rotten; it runs the gamut from the low-level cops on the beat all the way to the legislature, the Governor’s mansions, and all the way to the top at the federal level. See; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Krasner.
The corporate media does little or no reporting on police misconduct across the United States, save and except for the snippets flashed across their television screens for a few seconds, before moving on to other fluff pieces. Nowadays, they are forced to report on the incidents of police violence not out of journalistic prudence but out of necessity.
The public’s attention is focused on social media nowadays; there, events are uploaded in real-time, garnering millions of eyeballs.
But for independent reporting from citizen journalists, in the lynching of George Floyd and the bravery and presence of 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, the world would never get to see what the police are doing. PBS has done good reporting of late noticeably in its project (Philly DA), speaking of District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Other public reporting organizations and blogs have now begun to focus on the problem. Still, nothing has been more effective than the citizen journalists who have stood their ground and recorded with their mobile phones.
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.