It isn’t all black and white.
The above horrific video of Police Officer Michael Stager executing an unarmed man who had been stopped for a bad taillight has once again ignited Americans in a furor over the way the police treat the black population, apparently killing them at will and with impunity.
Only Rush Limbaugh would deny there is a problem with racial discrimination in American policing. I just don’t think it the only problem on display here.
Look at the video, all of it. Notice where Slager’s partner comes in. The partner is black–whatever his flaws, hatred of blacks is probably not one of them. Observe that the partner is utterly unconcerned when Slager trots back to where the original altercation took place, picks up the taser and drops it next to the victim. Planting evidence is so automatic that he just doesn’t care.
Remember the Rodney King video? The one where the 5 police were beating him with sticks? Notice that there were 16 California Highway Patrolmen standing there observing, and not one of them stepped forward to stop the felonious assault.
The thin blue line has little to do with race and everything to do with the corruption brought by unbridled power. Police today live totally above the law. Only the ubiquity of cell phones has been able to rein in a few of the rampant abuses of power.
When Johannes Mehserle executed Oscar Grant, the BART police attempted to confiscate the cell phones of the onlookers, but a few people got away to post their video and that’s the only reason justice prevailed. None of the other officers involved in the BART fiasco were disciplined in any way.
Remember Joseph Wambaugh’s series of books about police work, including The Choirboys, the Onion Field and The New Centurions? Wambaugh was a former police officer who wrote from experience; he made it clear that cops divide the word into cops and assholes. If you aren’t the former…………….
Police still live behind the Blue Wall of Silence–no cop will ever testify against another. Police unions have provided errant officers with tremendous protections. Police review boards almost always find office involved shooting justified.
This is a broken system. We have a set of laws for the citizens of this country, but it simply doesn’t apply to the police forces. Until that changes, all of us, not just black people, are in danger.