An Open Letter to American Law Enforcement

liftarn_warning_for_police_brutalityAnother story of a cop shooting African-Americans when lethal force was not required, this time in Chicago (again) and this time the officer in question has been indicted by Grand Jury on federal civil rights charges.

So, let me just get this out of the way and start with this:  I was once like you – a man in blue.  I served as a police officer in progressive levels of leadership in positions from patrol officer to Chief of Investigations.  I have served communities in the military, as a federal police officer, and as a state certified municipal law enforcement officer.  In total I have 15 years of law enforcement experience before I decided to depart the profession I once so loved and held dear.  Now that I have established my credentials and bona fides there should be no doubt left that I am in a position to comment on current events as they relate to policing in America.  Agreed?  Good.  Now let’s get to the matter at hand.

I’m going to say what few police officers will.  We – the law enforcement community – have a serious problem.  A problem which has been with us for as long as the profession has existed.  We treat people of color, specifically African-Americans, disparately and with prejudice.  Don’t deny it because you know it’s true no matter how many times you shout #bluelivesmatter (an engineered distraction from the real issue).  You know it’s true.  What’s worse, is you know it’s true and you continue to promulgate the problem because #bluelivesmatter too, right?  Bullshit.

From your very first days in uniform you have been regaled by FTO’s and patrol leadership of ‘true crime’ stories where the suspects were invariably black.  Think back and ask yourself how many times you’ve heard a fellow cop tell a story or the ones you’ve told yourself that went something like this:

“So, then I see his tag light is out so I make the stop.  I go up to the car and the driver – this big black dude. . .”

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  Don’t deny it because if you do you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

If you say you haven’t seen a car load of black young men and felt the urge to follow them and find a pretext for stop because “I know there’s drugs in that car” then you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

If you say you approach and talk with all people the same regardless of color then you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

If you say you don’t feel any more threatened when interfacing with African-Americans than you do with Whites you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

If you say you’ve issued the same number of citations to Blacks as you have whites you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

This is an institutional epidemic and it needs to be addressed honestly and openly.  Those of us who have fought against such blatant racist policing often find ourselves being railroaded out of the job.  It’s a sickness and the law enforcement community needs a serious overhaul; and if you still deny it then you’re either a liar or you’ve deluded yourself.

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to American Law Enforcement

  1. How do we change an entire culture? I wish I could provide a simple answer but the issue is too complex. I believe our system of policing needs a complete overhaul and I suggest it starts with federal oversight and the creation of a national police force (a topic for another time perhaps). Then we must look at police indoctrination at the nascent stages of development. I recommend a police academy which follows the German model – four years with a bachelor’s degree earned at the end. Higher education is arguably one of the greatest mechanisms against racism.

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