Let’s talk about cops (and racism)

*DISCLAIMER: This post does not mean ALL cops. It means SOME cops. But there is no denying that SOME cops have done what I am about to discuss.

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Racist emails, unnecessary violence, and gunning down unarmed black men. No, I’m not talking about the KKK. I’m talking about some cops in America.

Like many other Americans, the series of widely publicized shootings of unarmed black men has made my blood boil. I don’t believe that these eerily similar shootings have necessarily increased over time, but I think that the advancement of technology has allowed us to document and display the violence to wider audiences.

Keeping this in mind, the events of these horrific shootings involving white cops gunning down unarmed black men proves that not only does blatant racism still exist, but it’s alive and well in many police forces.

The most recent event is the shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott, aged 50.

Police officer Michael Thomas Slager shot at Scott eight times as Scott was running away from him. Three of Slager’s bullets hit Scott in the back, and after the eight shots were fired, Scott dropped to the ground, and died.

How do we know this? Because a witness caught it on video. The video not only captures Slager shooting Scott in the back as Scott was running away, but it also shows Slager possibly planting evidence by dropping his Taser near Scott’s body. The footage shows that when Slager fired the shots, Scott was far enough away not to be a violent threat to the police officer.

This video is crucial to the case because it led to the arrest of Slager. His original police report suspiciously differs dramatically from the actual events captured on the video. Slager claimed that there was a struggle over his Taser and that there was a struggle before the shots were fired.

Clearly, the video evidence shows otherwise.

This case is different because the cop in question has been arrested and will be tried for first-degree murder.

It’s about time we see this outcome after a cop kills an unarmed black man.

Unlike the cases with the high-profile shootings of Trayon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, there is the possibility that Slager may be imprisoned.

Even though Eric Garner’s death was also captured on video, there was no indictment against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who choked and killed Eric Garner, despite the fact that chokeholds are banned by the New York Police Department. Many were outraged by the outcome of this case, myself included.

With the case against Slager, the Supreme Court’s ruling proves that the officer’s actions were illegal. According to the Supreme Court, using deadly force is only legal if “the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.”

Was Scott armed? No. Were the crimes he was suspected of crimes that involved violence or physical harm? No. In the moments before Slager opened fire, was Scott threatening him or anyone else? No.

The evidence against Slager is damaging, and it seems unlikely that he will be found innocent. However, with the history of these cases, police officers somehow manage to walk away free after murdering unarmed black men with not so much as a slap on the wrist.

Technology is crucial in keeping police officers with this track record in line, but it’s depressing to me that even with video evidence, police officers somehow manage to avoid prison time or even an indictment at all. Police officers are in positions of power, and officers accused of crimes can use this power to their advantage. Jury members may have the mentality that most cops are truly abiding by the law.

Yes, there are “good cops” and “bad cops.” But this fact shouldn’t mean that there is no justice for the men who were killed by those “bad cops.” Police officers who disobey the law should be held accountable, just like every other citizen of the United States.

Video cameras should be used more widely among police departments across the nation, and investigators are beginning to crack down on the corruption among police departments across the nation. Hopefully, this means justice. Hopefully, this means that police officers will be held accountable. Going forward, America will hopefully become more united.


47 thoughts on “Let’s talk about cops (and racism)

  1. Agree with you 100%. I don’t understand why some people are opposed to the chest cams. Why wouldn’t you want to hold someone in such a position of authority, who wields so much power, accountable for their actions? We can put cameras everywhere else, but putting them on the bodies of the people who have the power to take a life as they deem necessary don’t need them?

    • Exactly! I’m glad you agree. I’m baffled when people say they don’t agree with having body cameras on police officers. Just because cops are in a position of power doesn’t mean that they’re so superior that they don’t need cameras on them. It’s clear that cameras would hopefully make them less corrupt and do their jobs more effectively.

      • And there is always the possibility that it could save a cop who was justified in his shooting from being a scapegoat, so to speak. Positives all the way around, if people would look at it logically.

  2. Definitely agree with you especially on the last case. I think part of the reason is that the police are actually afraid sometimes…not in the last couple of cases but they jump too quickly because there is violence on both sides. I think it’s a battle back and forth. When a cop does murder then the whole African American community gets mad and starts to do violence and then it goes back and forth and it’s now pretty ugly. So I honestly can’t pick a side if you will. I think both sides should be ashamed and this is not at all the “Dream” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind where whites were killing blacks and blacks killing whites.

    • I know what you mean about how there is violence on both sides. I also agree that that is not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted. But I think part of the problem is that these cops are, oftentimes, murdering mainly black, unarmed men, many times when it is illegal to do so. Furthermore, these cops are getting away with it, unpunished. While you’re right that people should not react with violence, we cannot remain silent to the injustice either.

      • Oh, yes. I definitely think the cops who clearly do this to black men who are unarmed should face punishment just like any African man who commits murder or rape should be punished. Anyone who commits a crime should be punishment…in my opinion the justice department has gone lazy and people need a wake-up to what happens when they commit a crime.

  3. As the wife of a police officer I am an advocate of body cameras for all officers. They will go a long way toward providing vindication for the righteous and consequences for the unjust.
    I would point out that Trayvon Martin was not killed by a police officer.
    As a resident of South Carolina I am proud of my state for the quick and correct actions taken in the Slager case. In addition to the video there were several officials who immediately felt that the story told by the officer did not add up. Despite what many would like to believe good officers do not want evil like that “on their side”. I would ask that you take care in immediately equating that event with racism. How do we know that Slager would not have done the same thing to a white person given different circumstances?
    While we may not agree in all areas, there are important issues that need to be discussed in a frank and open forum. Let us hope we can all do so in a respectful manner.

    • I do respect your beliefs and I’m glad you agree that we need body cameras for police officers.

      I know what you mean about how we can’t always assume that it’s racism. However, Slager has past issues of being excessively violent towards black people.

      I know that it’s not always racism in every single case. But it’s not coincidence that many, many more unarmed black men are killed by police than, for example, white men. In many predominantly black communities, some of these police forces are predominately white (Ferguson and North Charleston, for example). So with black communities having mainly white police forces, it’s not surprising that we have had issues like this. Furthermore, Ferguson’s police force has been investigated and it was found that there was racial basis on their force. Similar investigations around the country are showing similar racism.

      While it’s not always about race, we can’t ignore that racism occurs in some police forces. We can’t talk about these situations without talking about race. Racism hasn’t gone away, and it is still prevent among some police officers. Not all, but some cops are racist, and that can’t be ignored. Even though it’s not always “about race,” it is sometimes, and it’s important to talk about it.

      • Of course. I simply ask that you take care in not painting with broad brushstrokes that characterize an entire profession (yes, I do see your disclaimer) as to do so is no different from those who would lump all young black men into a category of criminals and gangbangers.

        I would also encourage you to participate in a local citizens police academy in your area (many departments offer them). It would provide you with the opportunity to witness firsthand the true face of policing as it is exercised by fine men and women of all races rather than only seeing what the media, most notably social media, shows.

        Thank you for an engaging conversation, and I am encouraged by your willingness to have a voice in this and other human issues. Be well, Karen

      • You’re welcome, and that’s a good idea. I do agree that there are great police officers out there. But I think these cases are important to talk about because even though it’s rare more or less, it happens. I’m glad that we are all able to have an open dialogue about these topics in our society.

  4. I agree that technology is key to all this, Becky, but I don’t trust police departments to honestly monitor themselves. There are ways to manipulate recordings, have them “mysteriously” stop working at key moments, or have the evidence “vanish”. I think an independent civilian oversight committee is needed. Don’t let the cops know when they’re being watched or who’s doing the watching. Maybe never knowing if they are being recorded will keep them on their best behavior.

  5. Excellent post. I would add that, while no rational person could condone this officer’s actions we must be mindful that people all have baggage and that baggage is often brought into the workplace. Cops are people.

    Anyone, without regard to race, who was been brought up in an “under privileged” area, myself included, learns early on that police officers are likely to have a negative opinion going into any confrontation.

    You simply don’t run from cops. The reason you were stopped probably doesn’t carry a death penalty but running from a pissed off, possibly trigger happy cop may very well have.

    • That’s a good perspective. It’s understandable that you’re feeling a bit cynical. With these events occurring all over the country, I think it’s difficult not to be a bit cynical. To me, it’s so disheartening to see these events happening over and over, with horrifying similarities, and to see that almost none of the police officers are punished. The majority of the cops in these situations are, honestly, getting away with murder. Plain and simple. Most of the cops in these cases illegally shoot or kill people and use illegal, unnecessary force. Yet they receive nothing but a slap on the wrist.

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