A Bottom-up Approach to Policing

Author Angela Greene

In the last two days, we have seen two Black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile killed needlessly at the hands of the police. Again, Black people are holding their hearts, wiping their tears, scratching their heads and wondering why does this keep happening? The answer to this question is actually is so abundantly clear that it makes asking the question seem utterly ridiculous. The reason is there are absolutely no consequences for police officers who kill Black people, not in America’s distant past and certainly not now!

Police officers inherently know the only defense they need is to say they felt their lives were in danger. In exchange, the worst they will get is their names and faces plastered all over the media and a paid vacation so they can lay up on the beach and forget all about the heart-broken families left behind. No penalty, no fault, and no legal consequences for their actions. They are typically vindicated for their actions and worse supported by their fellow brothers and sisters in blue and the mainstream media.

Unfortunately, the ill-treatment Black people experience at the hands of law enforcement is part of the culture of policing in America. It is a distinct culture with its own set of rules that only apply to them. It is a culture that has no regard for the communities in which they police, especially those of which they are not members. It offers them the absolute minimum standard of relief from any guilt associated with executing their police duties. It insulates them from their wrong and reckless behavior. So is it any wonder why in the last few years alone there have been no convictions for some of the most sensational murders of Black people, men and women at the hands of the police?

There is no question that a change must come in the way that the police interact with Black people and Black communities. Moreover, the culture of policing in general must change! I wholeheartedly agree with Hot 97 Radio host, Peter Rosenberg who said in his Facebook clip, the police should lead the movement to call out bad cops and help change the culture of police of policing. This type of bottom-up approach to problem solving would be the most powerful thing that anyone can do, but it would require the police to do it themselves. That may be hard for some of them to do given the majority of them seem to have trouble seeing the problem with annihilating Black people on a daily basis.

For Black people we must unite and decide when we have had enough! I would venture to say that time is now. Clearly, we cannot and will not get support from our government, especially when one party is completely preoccupied with perpetuating hate and beating dead horses. Think: Five committees to investigate a closed FBI investigation while remaining tone deaf to two police shootings in two days.

The onus is on those of us who are affected by the actions of the police. It is up to us find justice wherever it is hiding and drag it out by its hair and make it responsible for the murders of Black people at the hands of the police.

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