Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Myth of Police Brutality

No, this is not part of my book review for The Myth of a Christian Nation, (I’m still working on it. It’s coming) but I thought it would be a fitting title.  For some reason, there are people who appear to believe that the idea of police brutality is indeed a myth. 

I’ll be honest, I started working on this post several days ago, before I attended the panel discussion between local law enforcement and the community last week.  You can read about it here.
Since that meeting, I’ve felt optimistic and hopeful that there can be more understanding between police departments, Black and other communities of color.

The reason for this post is a meme I came across.  A meme as you can see, that basically dismisses the idea of police brutality and puts the blame on the so-called spoiled, entitled brats doing what? Resisting arrest, I guess.   Interesting.



So apparently that’s what is really going on in the opinion of the person who created this heartless, ignorant, narrow-minded meme. 

It must be nice for them to live such a smug existence, confident in knowing that they’ve never made a mistake in raising their perfect offspring.  It reminds me of the bible verse that I often heard quoted as a guarantee of obedient children who’ll never stray from the faith..ever.   “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6
So what does it mean if your child does stray?  Well, that you’re not a good and godly parent of course.

But, back to the meme in question. I guess these are the people they were referring to.




Robert Leone, young man with bipolar disorder
                           




                   Charles Kinsey, mental health therapist






video

                       80-year-old Geneva Smith, pepper-sprayed









                         video
  
                               Nineteen-year-old Dylan Noble





Joseph Hutcheson. Video footage narrated by his brother





                      
                          Tamir Rice, twelve years old







  

                                         Rodney King 1991
     

I think you see where I’m going with this.  

Look, we have police officers themselves along with government officials (many conservative) coming forward to verify this is happening.  To ignore that is black and white thinking and putting law enforcement on a throne in my humble opinion. Yes, they put their lives on the line every day and take risks in order to keep us safe. I am thankful for the good cops who have been and are doing that.  That being said, they are still human beings just like everyone else.  They are not infallible gods.
Throughout the last couple of years of what seems like an increased open season on Black bodies, I have learned a bit about the history of policing in the US.  Did you know that much of what became the law enforcement of today, had its origins in the slave patrols instituted in the colonies during the eighteenth century?   I sure didn’t.

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal, and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities.”  Victor E. Kappeler, P.h.D., School of Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University
*See link below for full article.

As I write this, I can just imagine some folks shaking their heads accusing me of being a cop hater. This line of thinking still baffles me. If I were discussing corruption in the teaching profession and calling out bad teachers, would they say the same thing?  Would they say that because I want to see bad teachers held accountable and removed if necessary, that I’m a teacher hater? Or how about this, some doctors are irresponsible, incompetent and should never come near a patient, let alone pick up a scalpel.
Am I an enemy of doctors everywhere if I point this out?  I could do this all day.   

This idea of seeing everything as black and white or everyone as all good or all bad is something common among the very young.  As we mature into our teen years, we hopefully develop the capacity to see and acknowledge the complexities and nuances of life.   For example, like understanding that it is indeed possible to be anti-police brutality without being anti-police.








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