Police brutality against young black men has negatively impacted not only the black community, but the entire nation, and the world. The frightening thing that a young black male in America must worry about is the thought of whether or not he is going to be next.
The false phone call to police, the minor disturbance in the wrong neighborhood, or the simple police pull over around the corner-will this be the fatal trigger for him-young black male- to be added to the growing statistics of another police orchestrated beating or killing.
Based on the series of beatings and killings over the last few years, as well as case studies, I believe there are three main reasons for such consistent police brutality: Intimation, Prejudice, and unmanageable ego.
White police patrolling in predominately black neighborhoods fail to establish rapport due to an inability to relate to or understand black culture. The perception is that black people, in general, are gang oriented, defiant, and violent. Therefore, most Caucasian police officers are intimidated when it comes to dealing with black race in general.
The thought of handling a police call regarding black males is intimidated. The factor of the unknown creates an urgency to get control of the situation as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. In other words, “Act fast, act now and ask questions later.’ But should police officers be prepared to deal with the unknown? Is this their calling anyway?
Yes, police officers are trained to deal with the unpredictable, but when it comes to dealing with black people, particularly, young black males and the unknown is magnified. The hope of deescalated the situation is unpredictable and frightening.
The role, which racism play in police brutality, is a matter of personal opinion. No police officers had come out and revealed that he or she hated black people. However, one can assume, judging by several investigations and testimonies of ex-police officers that the attitude of racism is alive and well in law enforcement. “If the motorist is a black male, shoot him!” stated an ex-police officer, whose police chief had given such an order.
According to the Roots, Angel Helm addresses the question, “Are White Supremacists Infiltrating Law Enforcement.” Evidence appear to confirm the hate-filled attitudes toward blacks,” Even if these police officers are not “kard-karrying” members of any one hate group, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of cops all over the country with the evidence that proves they are good with racist language, epithets, and imagery.”
No one will ever know how many Caucasian officers are affiliated with hate groups such as the Klansman, Neo Nazis as well as other white supremacy groups. But there is no denying that the reality exists.
Such officers are dangerous to the black community because of pre-intentional motives of wrecking psychological, physical and emotional havoc in the black community.
Handling emotions well is a big part of a successful performance. If a police officer cannot handle his or her emotions when dealing with a defiant black male, why patrol in the black community? Ego must be under control.
When someone is resisting arrest it is easy for cops to let their ego get in control, resulting in the use of excessive force out of sheer anger. It is the desire not to look weak or be put on the spot by a defiant Afro American male or female, in some cases.
Big intimidated males, including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and several others were tragedies resulting from power struggles. No guns were involved.
Having the patience and the willingness to calmly deescalate the situation could have saved the lives of these two young men.
Prerequisite for Police Brutality: Resisting Arrest and Being Black
So the two scenarios for extreme police brutality appear to be resisting arrest and simply being black. The black male becomes an automatic threat. Many times he isn’t read his rights. But everyone has a right to ask questions or get clarity before being handcuffed, especially when the situation is neutral between the officer and the suspected offender.
When an officer pulls over a black man for any reason, the chances of tensions escalating is enormous based on the factors of intimidation, racism, and ego. Just the slightest hint of the voice of resistance ignites a potential catastrophic physical flame.
The resistance of a Caucasian motorist doesn’t ignite such a threat. I have seen white officers take the time to deescalate the situation, regardless of how long it may take. That is because only one or two of the above, psychological triggering factors are in operation
However, the black resistance, all of the factors are potentially in operation. All sense of logic goes out of the door, giving way to raw impulsiveness, resulting in brutality or worse.
Being Black in America
The majority of the time, police brutality occurs due to simply having black skin. In fact, being black is a prerequisite for taking a provocative stance. To provoke a cooperative young black man to anger is sadly, for some hate-filled officers, a dream come true, an opportunity to commit evil and claim self-defense to avoid legal justice.
The calm African American male, when questioned by a hate-filled officer, is a bigger threat to such officers than one that comes out swinging. He has the knowledge and potential to be a role model for the entire community of young black men. Such individual disrupts the perception of the negative black male lifestyle and culture.
The intention of hate-filled officers is to provoke and justify the use of excessive or deadly force. How many times of we heard of stories in which honorable young black males were killed to the shock of those who knew nothing of the person portrayed by police officers. “He was a nice, kind gentleman,” witnesses would say. “He was certainly not his character.”
The closest scenario of officer provocation is clearly explained in the Sandra Bland story, a young black, female activist pulled over by Texas officer, provoked to anger, arrested and ends up dead in a cell. The circumstances surrounding her death is still a mystery. Such incidents happen to seemingly cooperative black males all the time.
The Verdict: Urgent Change-A Matter of Life and Death
The Situation is growing continuously dangerous in America for young, African American males as well as the black community in general. To bring forth change three things has to happen?
- The Black Community must acknowledge that it is in danger
- The Black Community must engage in Self-Examination
- The Black community must take responsibility for itself
- The Black community must address disunity and form a coalition for internal change
- The Black community must stand in massive unity for justice across America
No other race can help or transform the black community but the black community. We must look to no other for deliverance. Instead, we must look to our own hope, our own voices and our own godly faith as well as in our God-given abilities to transform the nature of our condition forever, in America.