America is in the midst of some of the largest protests in modern U.S. history, and police are among the biggest instigators in turning peaceful protests into full-blown riots. It’s clear that the nation is demanding changes to the systemic issues in law enforcement. But the very same policing apparatus continues to show us precisely why we need those long-overdue changes.
Police misconduct in America is a malignant cancerous pustule that infected law enforcement when the first citizens were given the authority to police others. Statistically, Blacks and Latinos have always been disproportionately victimized by America’s policing apparatus for the sake of white comfort. It’s a system that hasn’t made any tangible changes since it’s inception.
Reviewing the demographics of those subjected to the modern-day system of legal slavery —as defined by the Thirteenth Amendment— makes this abundantly clear.
Throughout history, whenever Blacks and Latinos have stood up for their civil rights, Americans largely adopted a strategy of hate. Turning movements for change into culture wars. While it may finally be evident to many white people now that Trump’s in office, this is not an anomaly to be credited to him. He is simply using the same strategy the United States is known for and it will not end with Trump leaving the White House. Just as it didn’t start when he got there.
This is America in all of its bigoted glory.
When we speak about police brutality and the systemic issues within law enforcement, we’re clearly not talking about individual cops. We are talking about the culture of policing; the “us versus them” mentality they have towards the public; their disdain for people of color who they see as thugs and criminals and rapists. All of it based on discriminatory stereotypes that are largely perpetuated by those who train police officers.
When a cop gets caught or filmed committing extrajudicial murders or blatantly unjust physical attacks on Americans, you can bet we’re going to single that officer out. If we catch one being racist or prejudicial you can count on us bringing attention to that too. If appropriate action isn’t taken to address their misconduct, we then go public. There are more and more of us doing this every day despite constant threats and harassment for doing so.
As a Latino who has survived two police brutality incidents while handcuffed, and as someone who was taken down at gunpoint with my 14-year-old son in our front yard over a noise complaint, I’ve seen how rural and city cops respond to and treat people of color. There’s not much difference in how either reacts because there’s a cultural issue among police officers.
To be clear, cases of police brutality are not isolated. They’re widespread. They’ve always been widespread. It’s just being broadcast all over the country by the thousands every year.
Police Brutality Is Widespread
What you’re seeing come across your social media feeds shows us what has been happening for decades, even centuries. But you’re only seeing it now because we all have a valuable tool in our pockets. The cell phone. We can broadcast live through various channels using modern technology and police can no longer just take our cameras to hide whatever we catch them doing.
Instead, we can broadcast live to millions of people at any given time. This clearly has had no effect in stopping police from doing what they do. We’ve seen it in countless cases such as the murder of George Floyd. Many cops act as if they are immune to prosecution and they have good reason to think so. They are granted protections in their union contracts with the cities where they work. They are rarely held accountable because of those protections.
I saw this and instantly thought of the images of the summer of 1968 in Chicago https://t.co/A15w2g6Pog
— Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) June 5, 2020
Those same assurances allow cops who’ve been fired to work in another department in a nearby city or county despite their record of misconduct. If a cop is found to have abused their authority, their peers and their union representatives jump into action to provide cover.
When Amber Guyger murdered Botham Jean in his own home, her first phone call was to her union representative, not 911. Within minutes, Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association was onsite and was granted access to the crime scene. He ordered officers to turn off their dashcams so he and other cops could speak with Guyger.
In the death of Laquan McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, the officer who murdered him and several other officers got together to discuss what would be in the police report. They then copied each other’s work so that the official report would show a singular narrative. However, a year later after the dashcam video was released, it showed that the reports were all false. Van Dyke was also caught in covering up the murder of Emmanuel Lopez the same way. He admitted to copying the work of other officers for his report during a civil trial against the city of Chicago.
The idea that police officers come together to devise agreed upon narratives that attempt to justify their actions should alarm every single American. They routinely lie on their reports, plant evidence, and lie in court in what is known as testifying. Most officers don’t consider testifying corruption because they believe corruption is defined by having monetary value.
In fact, corruption is defined as a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority. Many officers consider perjury as part of the job to secure convictions against those they believe belong in jail whether they do or not in the eyes of the law. It goes without saying who they use this the most to secure convictions.
When several officers falsify their reports and commit perjury, the crime committed by them shifts from misconduct to conspiratorial corruption. In the above-mentioned cases, the offending officers were never charged and continue to work in law enforcement today—with the exception of the murderers. Those cases represent a system-wide problem in America and it’s not new.
The ‘Not All Cops Are Bad’ Narrative
Much like the reality that all lives do in fact matter, screaming “not all cops are bad” when we discuss the widespread affliction of police brutality in America only serves to undermine the conversation. When we talk about racism and white people, “not all white people” is implied and therefore doesn’t warrant being discussed. We already know there are decent cops out there.
The problem most people see with the “good cops” narrative is precisely what we saw in the murder of George Floyd. Too many good cops don’t speak up or intervene in the face of corruption and misconduct. In discussions with many officers across the country, the most prevalent reason for this is clear: they fear reprisals from their superiors, their fellow officers, and their union representatives. They are afraid of the blue wall of silence targeting them.
In major cities across the country, we see widespread corruption every day in many forms. In Chicago, there is a culture of corruption involving police dealing drugs, putting guns on the streets, committing murder, and perpetrating aggravated assault. Instead of police attempting to reign in the widespread problems, officers seek to intimidate and silence their victims.
Such has been the case for many decades.
Similarly, in New York City, the history of corruption and misconduct stretches back over a century. In just the last year an NYPD cop threw his live-in girlfriend on the couch and punched her in the face and was only suspended for 30 days. Another officer intentionally shut an emergency subway gate on a teenage turnstile-jumper and was merely forced to forfeit 30 days vacation. In yet another incident, a video showed a cop dragging a homeless person out of a fast-food restaurant slamming the man’s head into a door and only had to forfeit 21 vacation days.
It’s precisely this lack of accountability that gives individuals in our national policing apparatus the mentality we witnessed in Floyd’s murder. If there hadn’t been video footage of the incident in its entirety, the officers would have surely escaped prosecution. The narrative against Floyd that is being spread all over social media makes this conclusion more than evident. It’s the same narrative we’ve seen play out over and over in police misconduct cases.
Victims are persecuted a second time by narratives that have been executed by legal teams for the offending officers, by their police unions, and by their friends, family, and supporters such as the Blue Lives Matter counter-movement and reactionary propaganda network.
As we discuss the inherent issues with policing in America – the fear of each other among police officers, the propaganda depicting a non-existent war on cops, and he defamation of victims at the hands of the State—declaring not all cops are bad has and always will detract from what America truly needs: national and federally mandated law enforcement reforms.
The extrajudicial murders of Blacks, Latinos, and yes, even White folks must be addressed. The lack of accountability, police union interference in seeking justice, and cover-ups by fellow officers highlight some of the many different and widespread problems we must contend with ridding America of its police-state. We can no longer accept the normalized oppressive nature of policing minorities in America. We are on the precipice of change. We must not stop pushing.
It starts with accountability.
Arturo Domínguez is an anti-racist activist and political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. If you’d like to learn more about the issues covered here, see the articles below or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Leftist Democrats control those cities were your seeing police officers not always behaving correctly. Nothing changes because your in bed with corrupt politicians in those cities. Doesn’t matter what color they are, democratic politicians are corrupt and inept to the core. They’re not qualified to run are cities. Vote them up or recall Them.
Your a total idiot right? You cannot argue any of the points in this article so you automatically try and change the narrative to make it all about Democrat politicians? Look argue your point and your opinion on the Police, don’t try and put the Blame on politics… cmon man… before you even try and say anything about it, I am a Republican. It is ignorant, annoying, arrogant people like yourself posting these kind of comments, your that makes us normal Republicans look like total idiots… I mean just read the comments on the stories on Fox or wherever. Republicans with your views make all of us look like ignorant, racist, stupid, all around assholes. So on behalf of all of us “ Normal Republicans “ thank you all for making us look like real assholes.
Let’s dissect “Not all cops are bad cops”. EVERY cop has probably done one thing wrong either intentionally, by mistake, or laziness in their career. Just like every McDonalds worker probably forgot to wash his hands or check the restroom every 15 minutes for cleanliness. Does that make the McDonalds worker a “bad” person for life? If we fired every “bad” employee we would have a worse off unemployment rate. We need work cultures that encourage people to learn from their simple mistakes and improve. And do you think a McDonalds co-worker is anymore inclined to rat out her fellow cashier? Hell no. That’s a reality. Cops deal with complex life and death situations every day, it’s not just flipping cheeseburgers. Nobody is perfect.
Wow…that’s the closest analogy you can come up with? Murdering an innocent person is a lot like a McDonald’s worker not washing his hands? First of all, they are two vastly different scenarios. And secondly, yes they should be accountable. If you don’t wash your hands and your handling people’s food, absolutely you should be reprimanded. Does that mean you should be fired? Maybe not after one incident…but if it continued, of course. Why shouldn’t someone be accountable to proper hygiene when serving the public food?! To continue this ridiculous analogy, do I think someone should be fired if they intentionally, “or accidentally” murder someone while working at McDonald’s? Um…I would fucking hope so, and I also hope they wouldn’t just lose their job, but also face prosecution for their actions! If a McDonald’s worker shot one of your family members in the face as soon as they walked up to the counter, but didn’t face any criminal charges or even lose their job for doing so because they claimed “well it looked like the had a weapon and I feared for my safety, so it was in good faith” would you really be ok with that? Would you simply say “yeah, well in that case it was just a tragic accident and nobody should be accountable because we can’t just fire people for shooting other people in the face as long as they had a reason (or claimed to have had a reason) to do so.” Hopefully by now you can see how ridiculously insane your logic sounds when you stop speaking in fluff and put a literal translation to it! This is exactly the point your advocating and it’s ridiculous. And someone like you would likely reply “oh come on I’m not saying that, you’re being extreme” but you really are saying that…in no other possible context could defend such an insane viewpoint and even in THIS context…it’s still insane! People need to start thinking like adults for once, instead of children that want to be heard and want to be right all of the time. This kind of logic allows these criminals with badges to harass and assault and victimize the rest of us. I don’t care if it was accidental or intentional! If you accidentally kill someone, your ignorant and shouldn’t be in a position to point a gun at someone then!! If a crane operator accidentally dropped a steel beam on a sidewalk full of people would he still have his job? Hell no! It may have been accidental but he’s still accountable! And if it was intentional he would further be looking at trial to prove that fact and then going to prison! But at the very least, he would not be put back in a position he was in before hurting someone! Cops should be treated the same as anyone else, both professionally and personally. If anything, they should be held to a higher standard than civilians, not a lower one. Every cop I’ve ever met honestly thinks they the right to do things that others don’t, and they proudly admit that fact. That right there goes to show they are so confident in their entitlement, they will show no shame in saying “yeah I can do things that you can’t do” and that’s both fucked up and absolutely untrue.
It’s amazing to me how we humans seem to have this undying habit of bucketing people and then judging them. Whether its some police officers assuming that someone is a thief because they are black, or the writer of an article like this claiming that all cops are bad, it’s the same root tendency: grouping people together and then judging them as if they are all the same and share a communal mind or something.
All cops are bad. They stole from me, they lied profusely in police reports. They falsely charged me. Ruined my reputation when they sold the story to the news and slandered me over the internet. They just about killed me, BUT THEY FAILED!. I’m still here you stinking liar devils. All cops are bad, don’t serve justice, and all them devils backed by evil selfish judges, lawyers, and corrupt law! Down with the cops and down with American system of injustice!
Fuck all of you Shits!! Our boys in blue are heroes and you all are a bunch of terrorist Fuckheads!!!!!!!!!
[…] beginning – during training – immediately creating an “us versus them” mentality. A gang-like cover-up culture is […]