Recently I’ve been pondering the attitudes that I’ve observed and absorbed about the police and the relationship between people of color and police. Living where I live, I have very little contact with the police – unless the Mustang lulls me into speeding (and I get caught). Even though my uncle is a policeman, and I’ve had friends on the force, I don’t generally trust cops. I never really have. The institution seems to perpetuate the subjugation of people of color, no matter the race of the officers.
There are stories upon stories of police brutality – even killings – and even though these stories really are a minority, harassment is common. I know that a lot of people who end up in a life of crime have experienced disadvantages that increase the likelihood that they’ll choose that path, and I can sympathize with that in the abstract. I’ve never really had to exit my abstractions since I haven’t been so closely touched by crime. [Certainly, the recent theft of all my music was big to me, but in the grand scheme of things – itty bitty.]
Take the recent story of Aiyana Jones. Awful police mistake ending in the loss of a 7 yr old. There really wasn’t enough coverage of the story (surmise your own reasons why), but the coverage that I saw generally discussed Aiyana, the police, and/or the reality tv show that was filming the officers involved. It was much more rare to run across an article that discussed the impetus for the investigation: the murder of a 17 yr old named Jerean Blake. It seems the perp was in a relationship with Aiyana’s aunt who lived upstairs (in a separate unit). Both killings were senseless.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been possible for the police to protect Jerean. But shouldn’t they have?
And I certainly feel for Aiyana’s family, but what of the scum that chose to kill a kid for looking at him? In a broader view, what of the kids who choose to join gangs and end up being perps and victims themselves?
Having been placed a lot closer to observing violence in the last couple weeks, I was starkly awakened to the fact that this type of crime [senseless killings] is just as much terrorism as anything mounted by Al Qaeda. Not that we need completely militaristic methods for deterrents – I’m not even sure that works.
It’s complicated. We need cops. But what is it about the justice system that skews the serving and protecting to certain neighborhoods, and the arresting toward other neighborhoods?