On Respect of Police Officers

In the aftermath of the Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson on charges of killing an unarmed teen named Michael Brown, I have been hearing in different ways that Michael should have been more respectful of Darren and cops in general. If he had, he would have still been alive.

Respect runs both ways.

The Missouri Attorney General Office last year found that the Ferguson Police Department disproportionately stopped Black motorists more than other races. The city of Ferguson is 66% Black, but Black motorists made up 86% of the car stops made by FPD in 2013 Even through the police officers were 50% more likely to find illegal contrabrand in their car searches of White motorists, Black motorists were arrested almost double the rate of white motorists.

This is the environment that Michael Brown grew up in and lived in.

Over the last five months, there have been several other incidents of police agencies killing people of color. Several of them have been videotaped, but so far no police officer have been charged in those killings. The crimes they were killed for range from holding toy guns in public in an “open carry” state to selling illegal cigarettes to having a mental illness. Not only have none of these police officers have been charged, they still all have jobs to the best of my knowledge.

Just last Friday, Akai Gurley was mistakenly shot as he opened a door into a stairwell by a rookie police officer. Everyone has said that this was a horrible mistake, but the officer still has a job at this point, more than a week later. What would happen to a civilian who mistakenly killed a police officer?

In May of this year, four Killeen, Texas police officers did a no-knock drug raid in the early morning hours waking up Marvin Louis Guy. He responded by shooting and killing a police officer because he thought he was being robbed. It was a horrible mistake, but the prosecutor has said that Guy will face the death penalty. Also, no drugs were found in the search of the house, only a pipe.

This is the environment that people of color grow up in and live in.

We do have a respect problem in this country!

Let us start respecting the lives of people of color!