National Police Reform coming soon to a city near you
Why is it so hard to prosecute cops?
Time and time again as with the Freddi Gray case, we blame in terms of how we see how things played out and we choose to ignore the realities of how it really did play out.
We are missing a key piece, we see it how we want to see it, we put our personal expectations onto police, through that we determine how cops should behave, how they could have reacted differently. We interject our personal beliefs and feelings into the situation which causes it to become clouded.
So why is it so hard to prosecute a cop?
First, we have to determine whether or not they actually broke any laws and in our most recent case on the books the answer was no. They didn’t even violate any civil rights. Things become so blurry to us because we are truly seeing them differently than a cop does.
Police are trained to view things differently than we do. They are trained to go into certain situations with a preconceived notion or to be on heightened alert. Domestic Violence calls are the best example. They roll to a domestic violence call already on heightened alert not knowing what to expect.
Most of the time they roll up to such calls prepared to mediate, care of the injured and/or take a man into custody because in general it is the man committing the crime. I believe most of you would agree.
And if most of you did agree with that, you just did what everyone assumes cops do all of the time the thing we are constantly condemning them for. It’s easy to do. We all assume that men are the aggressors, which by the way is not always true. But that is a preconceived notion or idea as to what to expect.
Doesn’t matter if the guy is white or black, in general whenever someone says the words Domestic Violence, we associate men to be the aggressors. We have a mental image of a man being the aggressor.
We all judge others based off of our own beliefs and how we feel that we would personally handle a situation. IF you want to police the police we need to stop blaming, criticizing and pay attention.
Recently, I made an honest attempt to read the book “ Why it’s so tough to prosecute cops” by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who I like and respect but honestly I laughed while trying to get through the book. I literally thought the book was a joke until a friend of mine pointed out it was supposed to be taken seriously.
The gist was that a lot of blame was going around from Police Unions being at fault, to white cops, cops protecting each other, a judicial system that protects bad cops and cops are always saying that they feared for their lives.
Yet at least as far as I read into it, no mention was made that in two of the cases that the book went over, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, the men were not innocent. THEY WERE BREAKING THE LAW WHEN THEY WERE CONFRONTED BY POLICE!
And Grey wasn’t murdered, shot, run over, shot with a taser, he died in a freak accident. No one meant to cause him harm.
The reason it’s hard for some to take things like cops being racist seriously are that the cases used as examples are jokes. Bring us a case that shows clear racial bias on the part of the cops for instance, white cop always pulls over only African American men, or 3 out of 5 arrests are African American’s while the other 2 are other races or white. Things like that show a pattern of racial bias.
So it is hard to prosecute a cop because while we all feel entitled to be able to point out how the cops actions were not appropriate we were never in the that cops shoes at the time the incident occurred, not to the mention the crucial key is whether or not a cop broke any laws. Not civil rights but laws.
Take the shooting in Miami a few weeks ago, yes you all know the one. The cop who shot an unarmed therapist who was lying on the ground with his hands up?
The issue I have with it, we only see part of the video, part of the story. So it’s more convenient for us to sit around and say that he never should have fired his weapon. We too often judge others based off of how we ourselves would have handled things, you know in the perfect world.
The video doesn’t actually show the therapist being shot. The officer who shot the therapist has since then come out and admitted that it was an accident and according to one media outlet also made a statement that he did what he had to do. His union if that is true, should have walked away and left him in the dog house over that.
Still the same, proving that he broke any laws will be difficult because he most likely didn’t break any laws whatsoever. Did he have to shoot someone? We don’t know that answer, we’d like to say that he shouldn’t have shot anyone but we would be basing that off of our own personal beliefs.
Those beliefs do not mean that any laws were broken. Cops are trained to handle situations differently than you or I. We might pause in a situation because we want to better think it through where cops are not really afforded that opportunity, that pause could mean the cop ends up hurt or worse, dead.
Cops are trained to think and make a judgment call sometimes within the blink of an eye, if you or I were in the same situation we might be badly injured or dead ourselves because we handled the situation the way we normally would.
Prosecuting cops isn’t easy because it’s not meant to be. So in order to change that, we would have to lobby for changes in policing and policing policies. We’d have to lobby for change in how the judicial system is setup to hear cases involving police but well before that, you would have to lobby for changes in terms of who oversees police misconduct within the communities you want to see change in.
Some of what’s out and about throughout the US isn’t working, Oakland, CA and Portland, OR are two examples of oversight already not working, not to mention that when the DOJ becomes involved and departments are ordered to change and bring in oversight, it’s costly for the taxpayer who have to pay for the misdeeds of that department.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, lobby to have grants cut from police departments who are not playing well with the citizens of the community and you’ll see change a hell of a lot faster than you will if you are waiting on the Feds.
Cut the funding and you might just see a change in how police react to everyone’s cries for police reform.
We just have to be able to meet them halfway and work together for the changes everyone seeks.
Cristal M Clark
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