I’m Just Thinkin’……….
All the TV news programs this weekend carried the story about a rookie police officer in New Richmond, Ohio who refused to shoot a suspect armed with a gun. The suspect, Michael Wilcox, according to the police had already killed two people and wanted the police to shoot and kill him. They say the officer, Jesse Kidder, ‘bravely’ dropped his weapon and prostrated himself in front of the alleged killer until the suspect surrendered. The officer, rightfully, is being hailed as a hero.
Now, I contrast the actions by this white officer, Kidder, with those of the plethora of white police officers who have shot black men and killed them, allegedly because they say, “their safety was threatened”. The suspect in this case, Michael Wilcox is white.
We both know that had Mr. Wilcox been black, we would be listening to his family bemoan the fact that his body was riddled with uuummmm…… fifty bullet holes!! No doubt…..because mentally they inherently discount black lives. It is not just white police officers…it is something that a great deal of white people feel because that is what they have been taught. The thing is, though, they do not get the opportunity to see black people, in general, as equal value. Minorities with all the education, the accomplishments, the skills that they have, still have to PROVE they are better at whatever endeavor they choose to indulge in some quarters….in general. We have proven it in the major sports, in education, in many other areas but to the unexposed white mind, where they do not have the up close and personal witness, they mentally buy into the now trite idea that they are inherently better at everything except sports because we have proved that so.
As I have said many times, we must retrain our police forces and test them for prejudices and make it mandatory to for them to go through a psychological framework that will clear their mind of prejudices when they deal with the all people.
Additionally, we must find a way to teach them to de-escalate confrontations. Because we give them a gun and a badge, we must require them to use reasonable tact, diplomacy and patience that could assuage what could turn out to be a firestorm. I believe that Officer Kidder did just that because for some reason, he differentiated between black and white.
Secondarily, every minor event must not turn into an opportunity to see if the officer has a criminal at bay. Broken taillights, standing peacefully in a crowd, should not be an opportunity to brand the person as a suspect. Nor should, in the absence of some overt criminal activity, every motor vehicle violation be a reason to chase a suspect. When the police officer has the identification of as otherwise unoffending person the best way to apprehend him/ her, is to go to his residence in the middle of the night and arrest him, if warranted. Car chases, chases on foot because some did not heed the officer’s instruction can be dealt with peacefully at some other time when there is no hint of criminal activity. Even when it may be a misdemeanor, or more serious situation, that circumstance may call for dealing with the offense at a later time. But to be aggressive, to roughly handle a captive, especially when they are in need medical assistance, is unwarranted, and costly in many ways.
Even as we speak, in Baltimore, we have a case of a young black man, Freddie Gray, whose neck or spine was broken and he died at the hands in the police after according to their own report of the incident of taking the man into custody, there was no violation other that he did not heed their command to halt. Again, luckily their actions were captured by a passersby’s cellphone, so they could not lie and spin the truth of what occurred. They can be seen dragging the handcuffed young man so they could toss him into the back of their “paddy wagon”! They should have recognized the young man’s plight when he was unable to walk on his own. They callously disregarded his health and probable exacerbated his condition with their treatment.
We need to change how we train our police forces. The methods of yesterday must be tossed aside and brand new ways to assess the police applicant capability as well as police methodology must be employed. Until then the carnage will continue… a black life lost at the hands of the police, every day somewhere in America!
Look at Walter Scott who ran from the police in North Charleston S.C. and paid for his poor judgment with eight bullets in the back . Look at Eric Courtney Harris shot and killed by a Special Deputy Sheriff in Tulsa OK who claims he mistook his gun for a taser while the victim, Mr. Harris was being hand-cuffed. We are expected to accept this gigantic “OOOOOPS, MY BAD!!” from this millionaire “play cop” who, by the way, was charged with manslaughter given bail on a $25,000 bond and allowed to go to the Bahamas for a vacation!
Who is to say how many more lost black young men and women’s lives there are that we do not know about because there is ALWAYS a cover up…always! Police lie, there is no denying that fact; not all…. but the blue line of protection is a reality.
How can we make a judge recognize and treat the testimony of the police and the defendant, as equal until the true facts emerge? Judges are complicit in this gross miscarriage of justice; even when the preponderance of evidence is contrary to the police conclusion; they overwhelmingly side with the police. How many more people will come out of prison because, years later, it was found that the police were wrong or simply lied?
Justice is not fair or equal in America, we must change the way we do law enforcement, so we can do it right. The training has to change, the police culture has to change, the laws have to change, the prosecutors have to change, the judges have to change, the prison system has to change… a total and complete overhaul, every aspect or will will continue to see black young men die, unarmed and uncharged by a mentally deficient, poorly trained insensitive, unsympathetic, over aggressive, scared police force.
Enough said, I’m out!!!