Letter: Who’s policing your neighborhood?
To the Editor:
“Texas officer resigns after ‘indefensible’ actions at pool party”… “Police chief resigns amid row over shooting of unarmed black teenager”… “Greenpointers say if police won’t patrol streets, they will”… “Should The New York Cops Refuse To Patrol The Streets Of The Black Neighborhoods In The City?”…
As a person of color and consciousness, I find it hard to hear of yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man. I also find it concerning how this shooting epidemic is affecting the relationship Americans have with one another along race lines.
Some people justify the actions of the police as upholding law and order, while others see no justice in killing unarmed people. Since the 1960s, all major riots in America were preceded by heightened racial tension. The mounting polarization around law and order having priority over American citizens being shot by police officers based on race and perception is doomed to have significant consequences for us all.
When the media begin to demonize a person or group, it becomes easier for everyone else to forget about things like “due process” or “innocent until proven guilty.” We are all aware of how people of color, Black Folks if you will, have in many ways been demonized in the media. Why? So it would become easier to justify the shootings, incarceration and conditions of entire communities. By the same token, when we as Black Folks have allowed our conduct and behavior to digress and be governed by our conditions rather than truth, diligence and hard work, we suffer the consequences of being labeled as bad people.
When police officers do negative things and the media begin to demonize them, police now have the same public relations issue as Black Folks. Now, police have a “negative profile” regarding the shootings of unarmed people. Public opinion has turned against the police to where a growing segment of the public approve when police are being arrested, shot at or forced to resign. Even if a police officer of good intent is responding to an emergency call, people view him as a killer of innocent people.
It is unfortunate that good officers are being threatened and demonized by the public based on the actions of officers who have made poor choices. It is just as unfortunate that Black Folks are being killed by police officers because the officers believe them to be a threat. Hey, last time I checked it wasn’t against the law to be Black and it wasn’t against the law to be a good public servant. So someone tell me … when did the laws change?
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