Even more disturbing than the rash of publicly exposed killing of unarmed black men by white cops, is the oftentimes presence of black cops who are many times witnesses and accessories to the murder and the cover-up. These black police officers who turn a blind eye, and abet racist white cops who kill and victimize members of their own race are despicable cowards who should be exposed and prosecuted along with their racist white counterparts.
In my view, there are always two crimes, first comes the murder or the brutality, and then comes the cover-up. Black police officers, who sit idly by and say nothing or do nothing, are just as guilty as if they had pulled the trigger themselves. In fact, their complicity may be worse in perpetuating the genocide of their own people. What other race of people does that, other than the Americanized Negro? Instead of standing up for what’s right they stand up for what’s white, despite the harsh consequences to their own people. These post-antebellum subservient officers of the empire are the modern day incarnation of the stereotypical Uncle Tom characters from slavery, that will do anything to please the master, even if it means participating in a system of oppression and brutality that perpetuates the subjugation of their race. Like the biblical character Judas, all of this is done for a few pieces of silver. Are a badge and a uniform a fair exchange for the lives of our young people, and the already bleak future of millions of African Americans?
Just as in any profession, there is a mixture of both good and bad. However, no one can say with any degree of certainty whether there is a preponderance of good police officers or what the actual ratio of good to bad is. This is the great unknown. My guess is somewhere around 50-50. There is no way to know for sure, but I’m sick and tired of the politically correct pundits and the social media’s characterization of “a few bad officers.” Almost every black man in this country has had at least one unfortunate encounter with a racist white cop, or an overzealous black one. Many times the black officers are worse than the white, in their often heavy handed approach to the performance of their duties when dealing with members of our community. This reality belies the always conservative estimates of the news media and those who have never been victimized by rogue police officers.
Having said that, how do we categorize those police officers, white or black, who may not be guilty by commission, but are guilty by omission through their indifference and apathy to crimes being committed by other officers of whom they have direct or indirect knowledge? After all, law enforcement is a job that should epitomize the highest standards of honor and morality. I suggest that cops who assist in the cover-up of police misconduct, and who help maintain the “blue wall of silence” with respect to police criminality, are guilty themselves as aiders or abettors if not outright conspirators. I can’t consider those who condone police misconduct by looking the other way as “good police officers.” If so these called “good” police officers are not a part of the solution, then they are part of the problem.
The only solution to the centuries-old endemic and systemic culture of police brutality and the devaluation of black life by those who are sworn to serve and protect, is to tear it down, and then rebuild and restructure from the bottom up. This will undoubtedly necessitate a complete purge of police departments across this nation, getting rid of those who hide their criminality and indifference behind a badge and a gun, shielded from accountability by a system that for too long has served as a perpetrator of injustice, instead of a force to promote it.
Unfortunately, the old plantation slave mentality is still very much present and thriving among African Americans over 150 years after Emancipation. This is a testament to the effectiveness and the complete psychological, social and cultural divestment of the enslaved Africans from their natural inclination to love themselves and their people. The Negro slave instead was systematically broken down and disconnected from all things familiar, and by necessity forced to look to the white man for all things necessary for survival. Consequently, survival often meant participation and complicity in the slave master’s mission of brutality, death and denigration of other Negro slaves.
The willingness of some modern day African Americans to be compliant in the genocide of our own people by the same oppressive system that denies us all equality offers a strange dichotomy. By subjugating your own people in the name of the empire, you destroy the future of your race by perpetuating a system that keeps us in bondage. We then become “good Negroes.” Faithful and loyal servants to the Empire, who by our toil and our sweat, promote the continuation of institutions which serve as the foundation of our inequality. We black people are still so psychologically dependent on the white man for survival-to give us a job, or give us a position of perceived status that we willingly compromise all principles of basic morality when it comes to the mistreatment of people who look like us. We have been conditioned to see ourselves as the white man sees us: inferior and unworthy of respect and dignity as a people. Consequently, it is easier for us to go along to get along with white folks, and adopt their twisted notions of right and wrong, even when it amounts to self-hate and self-destruction resulting in the death, denigration and continuing oppression of the African American.
The solution then is two-fold. We must first raise the consciousness of our black men and women in law enforcement, challenging them to stand up for justice for our people, and stop placing a meager police salary over the lives and welfare of our black brothers and sisters. Black cops also need to understand that black lives matter! Until we as African Americans accept this truth as more than a slogan, we will continue to see to varying instances where we devalue ourselves for the enrichment and perpetuation of institutions that are the architects and the gatekeepers of our own oppression. Next, we should demand criminal accountability for all of those involved in the violation of the rights of African Americans, whether those cops be black or white.
Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at the-truth-teller.com. You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.