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100 Blacks in Law Enforcement

Philadelphia Police Beating

It gives me a chilling feeling whenever I view police officers use the level of force that Philadelphia’s officers used after subduing Thomas Jones.  No matter what crime a criminal commits the public should never tolerate the use of abusive police tactics.  Police officers have an awesome amount of power to bring criminals to justice, not administer it.  I can only imagine the amount of anger I would have if one of my family members were struck in that manner.  The only thing that matches my anger for abusive police officers is when I hear that a police officer is shot while doing his duty.  The shooting of a police officer hits a personal note because my youngest brother and three first cousins followed my footsteps and decided to also wear a police uniform.  I could not phantom hearing that someone like Thomas Jones shot at them.  It would be difficult to control my anger and rage.  I thought of this when I watched the anger the officers involved in the Philadelphia incident appeared to have displayed.  The beating that followed the car chase should concern and outrage all Americans not just African Americans.  The presence of African Americans on the scene does not make the picture any less concerning. 

I was pleased to see many African American lawmakers and community leaders voice their outrage over the possibility that excessive force was used during the apprehension of Thomas Jones.  The noticeable absence of non-minority lawmakers and community leaders is disheartening.  It sends a terrible message that many of them would hope that they could wish the problem away.  This is not going to happen.  The problem of excessive police abuse must be brought to the front of the American agenda.  Non minority law makers and community leaders silence can only be equally matched by the appalling silence of many African American law makers and community leaders who did not denounce the incident that preceded the assault.  If it is true that Thomas Jones actions of allegedly stealing a vehicle and shooting a police officer can not be lost in the possible abusive police action that followed.  Each problem must be viewed in its separate environment.  Community leaders must be as outraged over the reckless violence that was used by the suspect as they are over the apparent abuse that followed.  Police abuse and violence in the inner city are both real problems that will be solved when both Whites and Blacks acknowledge that the problems do exist.  Some will attempt to argue that the police actions were more repulsive because they are sworn to serve and protect.  I strongly disagree.  A mother does not cry less if a criminal and not a police officer shoot her son.  Criminals who commit heinous crimes should not be abused by aggressive police officers and they should not be treated as poster children for our cries to end police brutality.   

As an African American man I have experienced police abuse first hand.  I have also been the victim of senseless violence.  On a daily basis countless numbers of young adults and adults enter precincts looking for justice after being the victim of the same level of violence that Thomas Jones carried out.  That is why it is imperative that our pursuit to clean up the nation’s police forces must be equally matched by our pursuit to eradicate violence in our nation’s inner cities.


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