"...the next time we criticize the police for their actions let's not feel the need to hug them first and call them heroes, let's just talk about the policies that need to change and the culture that needs to change with it."
/By Rob Anthony/ When the media discusses police brutality, for whatever reason they don't label it as police brutality. What you will hear political pundits say is "we need to bridge the gap between police and the African American community." Which sounds like the sides just need to communicate more clearly. It sounds like black people don't trust or like police for some misguided reason. You will hear media folks say both sides need to listen to each other and a whole bunch of other malarkey.
My favorite misdirection is the talking point that police misbehavior is because of “a few bad apples. Most policeman are good people just doing their jobs.” This is instead of addressing the militarization of the police and the misbehavior and over-aggressiveness of police officers and fixing the problems with law enforcement.
There's a lot of butt kissing done by our media, by both liberal and conservative outlets. No other institution do we criticize without having to preface that we love that institution. When Republicans went after the VA they didn't preface their statements with hey there's a lot of great people at the VA working really hard we just need to figure out these issues. So the next time we criticize the police for their actions let's not feel the need to hug them first and call them heroes, let's just talk about the policies that need to change and the culture that needs to change with it.
What the Justice Department discovered in Baltimore is important. It's good that America realizes that black people being angry about over policing in their communities is not a myth. NWA while maybe extreme in the words chosen with their song "F--k the police" shows the frustration expressed is based on something real. Yes, police do pull over, arrest and search Black people for absolutely nothing. According to the DOJ report released last week this happened around 11,000 times in a four-year period of reporting. The charges levied by officers were so baseless and so ridiculous that someone at the police station threw the charges out completely. For that to happen 11,000 times in such a short time tells one that this isn't just about a few bad apples. This is a system issue.
Either the system is so bad that it needs to be torn down and rebuilt, or that the system is doing what it was designed to do, and that's to brutalize and marginalize African Americans. That is inherently wrong and still once again the entire system needs to be re-evaluated and major reform needs to happen.
[[Editor’s note: The Maryland ACLU has a petition calling for more police reform from the Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore following the Department of Justice report.]]
Rob Anthony blogs from Maryland. “People can also tweet me at MrRobAnthony or hit me on Instagram at @thepoliticalsouthpaw.”