Saturday, November 29, 2014

Good Cop, Bad Cop?

Another report, this morning in the Boston Globe, Mike Brown and Darren Wilson; whose hands were where, what will we ever know, have the facts now been lost irretrievably, and what about that Police Chief in Milwaukee who responded to criticism with a comment placing police violence against the black population in the context of Black on Black violence?

I must say right up front that I am appalled that a few people with whom I am "friends" on Facebook have posted comments in support of his position. I hope they will read this and at least consider what I have to say.

Of all the distressing discourse that we as the American people are currently engaged in, one the most racist comments I have heard is the proposition that the black community is not concerned, outraged, and acting on this question of Black on Black violence. The very term is racist. We are told all about the fact that 80% of black murders are perpetrated by other blacks. Yet we know that the vast majority of murders in any group involve perpetrators and victims within a community. If the percentage of murders in the black community committed by blacks is 80%, then what is the percentage in white communities? Ar least as high, probably higher, but we talk of "Black on Black" violence as though it were some sort of phenomenon peculiar to the black community, that is a racist idea, contrary to all facts. Talk about white on white violence, and compare the two, before being so indignant, if there is a difference, which I doubt, odds are "white on white" violence is worse.

Further, for white people to assume that the black community is not concerned and working on its own problems with violence only shows how out of touch with the black community white people are. It is racism of the worse sort to make the unknowing assumption that the leaders and members of the black community are not working hard with the paltry resources that society allows them to stem this problem. They are, and rather than being vigilantes like the KKK, they work within the justice system and rely on the police to be their allies.

Hence the outrage when the justice system and the police betray their trust.

If we accept that Darren Willson's testimony to the grand jury which has recently been released is truthful, despite the contractions it contains, we still know the following: he acknowledges that he perceived the large black man as being intimidating; he acknowledges that he knowingly entered into confrontation over a petty crime (jay walking or cigarillos, makes no difference) with lethal force as his only defense; that he knowingly placed himself in a position in which the use of his gun was likely.

This is bad policing, and arguments about what happened once the situation escalated simply distract from the point that what ought to have happened was that Willson should have conveyed his observation to dispatch, followed from a distance, and awaited instruction and back up. Instead he precipited a life threatening confrontation. He behaved like the worst kind of anger driven, prejudiced, power hungry dictator. These are the people that the black community has been looking to to help them address their problems with violence, and that is why they are are outraged.

One further thought: of 100 black people murdered, 80 are murdered by other blacks. This is the figure being bruited about right now. White police officers kill 1, or 10, or all the remaining 20, what ever the number it it is at most 20%, so why not focus on the larger number, the 80% rather than being outraged about the smaller number? I believe that was Captain Flynn's point, which a surprising number of people support.

Notice what happened in that equation- the murder of one black person by a police officer was made equivalent to the murder of a black person by a black criminal. The individual murders are made to carry the same significance. In other words, this equation makes the policeman a criminal. Think on that for a bit.

1 comment:

jaylyn said...

Amen to everything you say.