Tonight in Community Policing.
I didn’t want to go to class tonight, but it’s the last one of the semester. I knew that Baltimore would come up because every time someone gets shot by the police or there is an injustice we usually go over what happened and what the issues are (not just the high profile cases). My professor used to be the chief of police of a department that he says had a lot of racial tension, and he made every effort possible to fix that…and was successful. So, here I am sitting in the front row as usual…and I’m randomly picked to read a slide about the Kansas City Preventive Patrol (this was one of the efforts to bring the community closer to police departments after riots in the 1960’s). I read the slide, and he says this was a result of the riots of the 60’s…what do you think will come of the riots of the 2015’s (lol)?
I cringe inside, because I have made up in my mind at this point that I don’t want to talk about Baltimore yet. I had came up with a creative way to address my feelings about it and it’s not complete. This is a class where normally shootings are blamed on the person who was shot because “if you don’t run, you don’t get shot,” or “if you just do what you’re asked you won’t get shot,” or “if you aren’t looking like a suspect, you won’t get shot,” or in the case of Baltimore “if he wasn’t doing something wrong, he wouldn’t have gotten arrested to die in jail in the first place.” Get the point?
In this same class about a month ago, media and the police were talking. Someone says “The media fuels the fire..it all started with that Trayvon Martin kid. If the media didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be an issue.” *Blank Stare* I say, “It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin.”
So today…I said “What will come from the riots in Baltimore? I feel that the city officials need to LISTEN. The rioters are saying something, and their frustration is not driven by this single incident, it is frustration that has a deep foundation with layers to it.” *Crickets*
My professor to my surprise says: “Absolutely!”
Here’s my position, what I can put into words any way. HISTORY is fueling this fire. I’m in the process of looking up history from a biblical foundation because I’m writing a poem about it, but for this piece let’s just look at the history of America.
You have slavery, the first form of policing in America being that of SLAVE patrols. Fast forward, you free slaves and declare segregation unconstitutional, but some of these people still have prejudice attitudes towards Blacks. Now you have police officers who are policing communities with people they don’t necessarily care for populating them. Then you have the reform era of policing that’s trying to break the tension between the police and blacks in neighborhoods…but now there is a HISTORY of bad relationship and communication between police and Blacks. Just like stereotypes of black people have been passed down, stereotypes of police officers have been passed down. However, that doesn’t mean that all cops are bad, and that all black people are bad.
My point: There is a ROOT to the issue of rioting. Let’s not just look at the result, but what caused that end result. You can’t just cut a branch off and expect a tree to fall.
Prayer: Has to be done from the root.
Justice: Has to be done from the root.
Restoration: Has to be done from the root.
This might end up sounding like rambling, but I just had to get SOMETHING out.
(For a look at a more constructive look into what I think, take a look at my post on Eric Garner, and Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin, and many others here…. https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/too-much/