Today we are looking at a situation that has been centuries in the making. We have an accountability issue from the very top of the government to the lowest levels of leadership in our towns and cities. In most cases, we did not get here by accident; we got here because people too often take shortcuts. Instead of doing things the right way, we gamble with safety and other basic rights.
From our leaders to our protectors, we see the same problems year after year. It is seen in schools, police departments, hospitals, government jobs, and the highest level of government known as the presidency. When I worked as a domestic violence advocate some years ago, I would often have to attend conferences. Many of the conferences educated us on new laws and services available to victims of violence.
My time spent working as a domestic violence advocate and legal advocate educated me on a lot of things. Mostly, it showcased prejudice within different departments. Some cities did a great job of protecting their citizens. However, other cities practiced near predatory actions towards victims.
One case comes to mind, involving a young woman being separated from her children. She was choked by her boyfriend, and as a means of self-defense, she scratched him to get him off her. You could see bruises on her neck, but it didn’t stop the cops from arresting her. While she was in jail, the man took control of her baby and dropped her young daughter off at the CPS office. He then rushed to file child support charges against her and had her served with a restraining order.
We read the numerous text he sent her, which showed how abusive he was. He took advantage of the system because he knew the cops in that particular city cared nothing about domestic violence. Often the shelters would do more to try to hide and protect women in some areas because the cops just didn’t do enough.
After I started working as an investigator; I would soon work hand in hand with some of these officers, I previously complained about. One of my cases involved, Amber Guyger the cop sentenced in the death of Botham Jean. She was one of the most helpful officers I encountered. Seeing her whole ordeal play out nationally was gut-wrenching because I could see the issues on both sides of the coin.
Violence against women and people of color have been minimized for centuries. While the part of me that knew Guyger professionally felt for her, there was another part that knew the attitude of policemen regarding people in vulnerable situations. There is a whole lot of minimizing that goes on behind those doors which leads to trouble.
My daughter was dating a young PFC from a base near our city. He wanted to come over and see her after the sun went down a few weeks ago. I hated that I needed to explain to her why his traveling at night wasn’t a good idea because of the color of his skin. I explained that it was safer for him to come in the day because he would be seen as less of a threat.
You know how young children are, they wanted to see each other so, he came anyway. On his way to our house, two policemen pulled him over with two different squad cars. He called and was like I’m being pulled over, we quickly informed her to tell him to make sure his hands were noticeable at all times and to stay calm.
Why do I have to tell someone who looks like me to be careful about doing the same thing any other American does? We have to stop minimizing the issue with racial profiling and prejudice. We have to start warning our young people to be careful when approached by people in uniforms. The cities have to do more to ensure that people are trained properly in all forms of dealing with the public. It is time to explain what cities must do to build trust within our communities. I am not talking about taking funds away because I do not think that is the answer, but it might be time to talk about imposing new standards on hiring policemen. We need assessments that are geared towards seeking out racism during the screening stages of potential hires. If anything this might cost more money, but you cannot put a price tag on saving lives.