|This is no way to protect and serve|
Credit local law enforcement leaders for their upfront examination of policing policies and the proactive measures they’ve been taking to help prevent poor outcomes on our streets. Elsewhere in the country it seems altogether different.
One of the latest incidents was a University of Cincinnati police officer who shot dead a motorist after pulling him over for a missing front license plate. The officer was charged with murder. The tragedy was caught on video; I viewed it, and was left dumbfounded.
|Officer Friendly? I think not.|
A lot of right and just police feel disrespected, insulted and threatened because of the actions of a few rotten apples. May I suggest that now they know what it's like for all the right and just African American men and boys out there who are disproportionately stopped, harassed and jailed for living-while-black.
Correction, not just men and boys but also women and girls.
Consider 42-year-old Raynette Turner. A mother of eight, Turner was found dead last week in a New York police holding cell while awaiting arraignment on a shoplifting charge. Then there’s the recent debacle involving 28-year-old Sandra Bland. She too died while in police custody, following an arrest after being pulled over in Texas for a minor traffic violation.
African Americans aren’t the only people of color dying. Four days before Bland’s death, 24-year-old Native American Sarah Lee Circle Bear of South Dakota, was arrested on a simple bond violation. This mother of two also died in custody. So did Rexdale W. Henry, a 53-year-old Choctaw tribe medicine man and activist. He was found dead in his jail cell in Philadelphia, Miss., on the morning of July 14. Henry was arrested for failing to pay a minor traffic citation.
|One of the good guys, er... gals. NYPD's Kim Royster|
The draconian tactics of local and state law enforcement and its growing militarization have been long predicted. Where? In movies.
Ever notice how the big screen tends to depict cities of the future? Police wear body armor and carry high tech assault gear. Whatever the story line, police on film more resemble combat soldiers than public servants. “The Hunger Games”, “Elysian” and “District Nine” come to mind. Art imitates life. Or is it the other way around?
Whatever the case, acts of oppression by police are viewed with contempt by moviegoers. In real life however, the reverse is true: somehow those same moviegoers perceive the ones unjustly oppressed by police as always being at fault. Somehow slamming a skinny, half-naked, nonthreatening girl to the ground at a pool party and pinning her to the ground with a knee becomes reasonable.
Something is happening that compels police, or rather compels society to mandate police to behave the way that they do. It’s time to examine at a national level what some local law enforcement agencies are already doing. That is listen, learn and be respectful of the citizens being policed. It’s the human thing to do.
Follow J.R. on Twitter @4humansbeing or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.