We are experiencing a national crisis in some law enforcement agencies in what seems to be policies and practices that disproportionately affect people of color. This is a longtime practice that can no longer be ignored or denied. Driving while Black or racial profiling is real in many communities within this country and apparently fostered internally in many police departments. National attention has captured many cases involving police inequities in dealing with young Black men.
One must take in mind, the number of cases that exist daily or have occurred throughout the years without public attention. No one is saying that people of color are not complicit in being involved in illegal or illicit activities, but does that necessitate their death or inhumane treatment when arrested? Blacks are not inherently criminals to be targeted.
It is apparent in too many cases that Blacks and people of color are being targeted more than their White counterparts. The lack of sensitivity, blatant rudeness, and disrespect in many police stops among African Americans often borders on pure racism and abuse of authority.
This is not to say that the majority of law enforcement officers are not decent fair individuals, but there is a cancer within that must be treated and addressed. Some people feel that many law enforcement agencies or departments systemically encourage this intrusive behavior toward minorities through their policies and practices.
An example that bothers many in the Black community is the excessive use of deadly force in cases involving misdemeanors and some non-life threatening felonies. We are primarily referring to shootings, where the main objective seems to be to kill the individual instead of wounding the individual. Usually the victim is running away and has no weapon threatening the officer or officers.
Frustration is running high among Blacks and those tired of what they feel is the unlikeliness of the judicial system to hold law enforcing officers accountable for what appears to be flagrant accounts of abuse and death toward young Black men. The feeling that Black lives don’t matter is real for many people.
The current national spotlight on police misconduct and killings of Black young men in many of our cities has helped galvanize the public. Now there are masses of people protesting daily and holding public elected officials accountable for bringing about justice, as well as changing laws and policies targeting minorities. However, in many cases, it seems that justice has been absent. Many law enforcement officers are being exonerated, walking away free from criminal charges. This only exacerbates the frustration of those seeking justice and change.
But by no means does it justify using physical force or violence to bring about harm or death to law enforcement officers. Opponents advocating violence toward officers makes them equivalent to those they are condemning. It also is a slap in the face to the cause of those who have legitimately suffered or been killed unnecessarily by law officers.
Let’s be realistic and acknowledge there are negative forces that use legitimate moments to provoke violence, pillage, and loot. They often rationalize that their frustration and anger fuels their negative activities. These agitators are self-serving and serve to take away from the credibility of legitimate issues. One must be able to discern their involvement as tools in diluting real issues, such as in the recent cases involving public protest toward police killings of young Black men.
All policemen are not abusive authoritative dictators misusing their position. In most cases, policemen have come to our rescue in our most needy times, putting their lives on the line. Unfortunately, this disregard for Blacks or people of color can be attributed to years of practice accepted systemically by many law enforcement departments not being held accountable. Now that this cancer has reach national attention, public outrage will not subside until officers are held accountable and internal changes are made. Cultural diversity training should be a top priority as well as a more intense background check among candidates. Perhaps the greatest change should be changing and avoiding laws or polices that disproportionally target poor people or people of color.