Trump and his hypocritical Republican Party would like you to believe that racism in the ranks of law enforcement is rare, this is far from the truth. Fox News adds to the lie in support of the party of racists and bigots. In a cursory survey of law enforcement agents big and small, racism is far more prevalent than our government or the mainstream media would like you to know.
Take the case of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. On May 31st, videos of police attacking protesters with rubber bullets were reviewed by Police Chief Rick Maglione who defended his officers. In the video one of his officers could be heard declaring the following.
“Did you see me f–k up those motherf—-rs?” one of the officers is shown asking after firing at demonstrators. “I got the one f—er,” the other responded with laughter audible in the video.
To make matters worse, Det. Zachary Baro, who’s in charge of the Fort Lauderdale SWAT team, encouraged officers and even said “beat it, little f—er” when a protester threw back a tear gas canister police lobbed at demonstrators. At one point in the encounter, Baro was seen telling officer Jamie Chatman, who had asked him about it, that his body camera wasn’t recording.
Video from the Miami Herald supported statements from the protesters, but Chief Maglione continued to defend his officers.
“Your story shows less than 3 minutes of an 8 minute and 43 second long video,” the police chief said. “The entire video clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonize the situation. Although the language is extreme, and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation.“
This egregious lie forces all Americans to question whether or not the American people can trust any member of law enforcement.
Personally, at age 25, as a white man in Los Angeles, I trusted the LAPD. As a 74 year old man in Reno Nevada, I have no faith in the men and women who come to my city wearing military garments, carrying military weapons, arriving in military vehicles. This show of force does not encourage trust and confidence that their purpose is to “protect and serve” the people.
Change should have come decades ago. Today 70 percent of all Americans are demanding reform of law enforcement policies and the entire judicial system.
Black Americans have been harassed and mistreated for decades. However, since the attacks on 9/11, the situation has been exacerbated. The Patriot Act gave powers to law enforcement which denied our first, fourth, and 14th amendment rights, and no group of Americans has been more affected than black Americans.
Stand up for all Americans and vote on November 3rd. We can force the change necessary to save the Constitutional rights of everyone.
Op-ed by James Turnage
My eight novels are available on Amazon’s free Kindle app