The senseless and gruesome killing of George Floyd publicly by police officers (yes, I believe all four should be arrested and charged) has deeply affected me and all of us including police officers in every corner of this country and the globe regardless of race, culture and ethnicity. If there was ever any doubt in the minds of anyone even with all the prior evidence of it, that police brutality was not real then this horrific incident of a police officer with his knee on a Black man’s neck for 9 minutes suffocating him to death certainly should erase that and now even the most doubtful among us are convinced and sickened.
Silence by anyone is no longer an acceptable response. Everyone that I know including my Hispanic, White, Black, Asian, republican, democrat, independent and police friends are sick to their stomachs about this gruesome and heartless killing of a human being by another human being proclaiming to serve the people. Derek Chauvin was wearing a badge that he likely should not have been given or should have long been taken away (he had above average complaints on his record) when he lost his innate human traits of love, compassionate, decency and meaningful purpose to become a soulless beast filled with hate, anger and emptiness. The urgency of our cry for change is that we know there are more Derek Chauvins sitting inside police departments all over this country right now and we are calling on police departments and police unions to put effective processes in place to identify and remove these type of people who are filled with hate and anger for others and who lack the temperament to deal with a diverse nation so that our country doesn’t have to keep reliving this over and over again.
There are numerous good police officers all across the country. Many of us including I, have family members (my brother) who are great police officers. Many police officers are joining protesters and publicly voicing that this is just plain cruel and wrong and that it does not reflect their feelings and thoughts. Every good police officer should continue to speak up against this, making it loud and clear that they uphold the oath to serve and protect citizens with dignity, respect and care for their lives and will not tolerate anyone among them who does not. Good cops must identify, speak up against and chastise the bad ones. There is something wrong if you stay silent. Silence is no longer an acceptable response.
I cannot imagine what is in the heart and mind of a human being who can suffocate another for 9 minutes to death with a look of sickening satisfaction as he inflicts pain upon someone else to the point of death. Every Black person feels that knee in his or her neck. In fact, I believe, every person with a heart who watched that video clip feels that knee in his or her neck. Every parent of any race White, Black or Hispanic raising Black children feels that knee in their children’s neck and are worried about them. The entire country with people of all races and creed is exhausted and tired and is saying enough is enough. The entire world is saying enough is enough. It’s time for change.
Police departments and police unions, it is time to do something about it that will create meaningful change. Have hiring processes in place to not only properly recruit and train newly hired officers in culture/race sensitivity and tolerance but seek to enact and enforce policies that enable the fair treatment of all citizens with dignity, respect and care. Have effective ongoing evaluations in place that seriously consider scope and volume of citizen complaints with strong disciplinary actions attached. You can no longer allow bad officers to damage the reputation of your departments and other really great police officers. Put effective processes in place to reprimand and remove them from among you. Make it a priority to identify these individuals by their record, by public complaints, colleague complaints, their words, their actions and remove them.
Promote a strong culture in your police departments where good police officers feel obligated, welcome, safe and comfortable in reporting the bad ones. There needs to be mandated ongoing culture, ethnicity and race tolerance and sensitivity training in every police department. There should be a no tolerance stand against any type of discriminatory behavior. It only takes one bad police officer doing bad things to ruin the reputation of the entire police department. Bad police officers will forever tarnish and ruin your good community service record, damage public confidence, and imprint permanent feelings of distrust for police officers. It only takes one of them to do so. Good police officers, our plea is don’t remain silent. Speak up. Police departments must make it a priority as well to build strong relationships with the communities they serve.
Sadly, these socially ill behaviors as racism start at home most often. Many children unfortunately learn racism in their homes from those who are racist. But schools all across our country must increase emphasis on race and culture tolerance and include it in every aspect of children’s learning environments so we can lessen the continuation and degree of this type of thinking and behavior and hopefully eventually eradicate it. By doing so we will develop a future diverse generation of productive and collectively caring citizens.
Vote! It Matters. Do extensive research and vote to put people in offices who will fight to remove these types of social ills that threaten the fabric and well-being of our society. Put people at the table who will matter when it matters most. Vote!
When I look all across this great country, I see people from all backgrounds, all races, all religions, all cultures joining hands together saying enough is enough seeking meaningful change to end this evil knowing that this change will result in a stronger nation. For those looking in on us from the outside and think we are divided, think twice. We will work through this and grow even stronger as a nation.
Our hurt, anger, frustration will lead to meaningful change. We must continue with peaceful demonstration and seek meaningful dialogue for change. We must not resort to violence but we must never let up until there is justice and change. I am pleased to see all of us, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, police officers demanding change to this societal ill, racism and I pray there continues to be emphasis on unified peaceful actions against injustice.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of George Floyd.