Black Cops Feel Threatened By And Fear Other (White) Officers

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Over the course of the past year while many different groups weighed in with opinions surrounding the epidemic of African Americans being killed by police, there is one group that has been relatively silent. Police officers have generally closed ranks and defended the racially-motivated killing of unarmed African Americans, and have been brutally airing their contempt for anyone demanding accountability from law enforcement whether through protests, demonstrations, or public displays of support for demonstrators. However, there has been precious little comment from African American police officers, and according to a recent report, there is a reason that reinforces the assertion that many white police officers are racists.

The report by Reuters revealed that Black New York City police officers admitted they are regularly racially profiled by white officers and worse, are victims of the same violent abuse and mistreatment as nearly every other African American male. The report focused on 25 Black male policemen; ten currently serving the public and 15 retired cops. Not surprisingly, all but one of the Black cops reported they were victims of racial profiling in and out of uniform.  The report defined racial profiling as a law enforcement officer “using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.”

The black police officers said their experiences were the same type of racial profiling that cost Eric Garner his life after he was swarmed by police and choked to death for the capital crime of selling loose cigarettes. The officers reported regularly being pulled over by police for no reason (multiple times for most), being stopped in public and frisked, thrown into prison vans, and being physically assaulted and threatened by white cops. The issue is not reserved to the New York police department, and the threat of retaliation or retribution is why the abuse goes largely unreported; not that the media or general population would care if it was reported.

The officers interviewed for the report related “having their heads slammed against vehicles and having white officer’s guns being brandished in their faces.” One recently-retired NYPD sergeant  reported he was stopped while jogging by white police officers and only prevented a rapid escalation into violence because he had his department issued police ID close at hand. The retired sergeant is suing the NYPD for being racially harassed on the job; not for what police told  him was being  stopped and accosted like a common criminal for being “suspicious while jogging in jogging clothes.”

In the same manner there is no recourse, or formal complaint process, for African American males subjected to racial profiling and police abuse, the Black officers reported they had been racially profiled by white officers exclusively; about one third said they made “some form of complaint to a supervisor” to no avail. In fact, all the officers except one said that after reporting being racially profiled, either on the job or out of uniform, “their supervisors either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against them by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions.” Some officers were so aware that racial profiling is deeply entrenched in the system that they refrained from reporting their experiences because “they feared certain retribution.”

Besides protesting the unwarranted murder of unarmed African American boys and young men, people are protesting the indignation of being stopped by white police for no reason and without the ability to lodge formal complaints. Black police officers are in the same situation according to a former NYPD captain and now  Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Adams said he was stigmatized and retaliated against throughout his 22-year career for reporting racial profiling and police brutality that informed him “There is no real outlet to report the abuse.” According to Adams, when and if a Black officer does make a report to the Internal Affairs Bureau, their identities are leaked to the rank and file and it leads to more abuse. The consensus among the Black police officers is “If I was white, it (abuse) wouldn’t have happened,” and that according to the racist police attitudes claiming innocent African American lives, “That could have been any one of us.” There is an indication that what is happening to African America males at the hand(s) of racist cops is not going to stop because racial bias is firmly entrenched in the population.

According to research from social psychologists at Stanford, Yale, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, there is “implicit racial bias in the American psyche that correlates Black maleness with crime.”  In fact one of the researchers, John Jay professor Delores Jones-Brown cited a 2010 N.Y. State task force on police-on-police shootings that found over the past 15 years, Black officers “suffered the highest fatalities in encounters with white officers who ‘mistook’ them for criminals.” It is beyond reason that a white police officer could possibly “mistake” a Black officer for a criminal when they are wearing a police uniform; it is “not so-friendly fire” and not a mistake. It is apparent that police officers steeped in racial animus and white supremacy just like shooting, choking, and abusing African Americans whether they wear a police uniform, sell loose cigarettes, shop at Walmart, or jay-walk in Ferguson Missouri and there is evidence that aggressive (read racist) policing is intensifying.

John Jay professor Jones-Brown cited a 2010 New York State report from the N.Y. City Comptroller revealing the exact kind of excessive force that killed Eric Garner has risen by 214% in the past ten years. It has rightly led to an increase in lawsuits against the city that has cost taxpayers $64.4 million in 2012 alone; a 75% increase. Still, the racial profiling continues unabated with no regard for the loss of innocent Black lives whether they are police officers, teenagers walking in Ferguson, or selling loose cigarettes.

It is a sad state of affairs, and a damning commentary on this nation, that Black police officers are subjected to the same abuse, racial profiling, job discrimination, and sheer hatred regardless they put their lives on the line for the public just like white cops. Of course, it would be errant to assert that all white cops are racists, but one hears about as many white cops speaking out against racial profiling, or killing unarmed African American males, as Black officers reporting they are victims of racially-driven abuses. It is probable that if they did speak out more, either the media would ignore them, they would lose their jobs, get shot by other cops, or the racist public would champion the white cops who pose as much of an existential threat to Black police officers as they do every other African American male. It is damn high time this nation’s population come to grips with a basic fact; America is inherently racist and the disease is an epidemic.

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17 Replies to “Black Cops Feel Threatened By And Fear Other (White) Officers”

  1. How disrespectful of the police to turn their backs on the Mayor, a funeral is not the time to talk about petty greivances, I feel sure the family does not want this!

  2. In a democracy, we place an elected official over armed public servants.

    That civilian authority is required to prevent palace coup attempts by armed public servants.

    By defying their boss, they are also defying Civilian authority over them. They are a rogue militia, not a law enforcement organization.

  3. In my limited experience w/’law enforcement’ they have shown themselves, in the main, to be helpful and courteous; but I’m white and live in Atlanta. There is no way, no matter how one tries, to know what it’s like to be a young, black male in this country. What I do know is that a lot of them have been slaughtered by cops across this land and it didn’t just start a couple of months ago.

  4. The real killers of Officers Ramos and Liu are the head of the police Union and the Police Commissioner. They know the difference between a bad cop and a good cop. But they would rather put the lives of good cops in jeopardy over a few bad cops. Notice should come down from the top stating that they will support a an officer who if he does right, but if he screws up with procedures his ass is grass. A lot of good officers are going to pay the price for the racism of a few. Maybe the top brass is the real problem.

  5. You are absolutely right. I found out the hard way. I was first black and only black on the City Police dept. in Hagerstown, MD.
    Was there for 5 1/2 years until a racial slur was written on my locker. When reported it Chief he more or less stated that we can’t do anything about it unless we find out who wrote it. Felt like I was fighting a losing battle. Found a better job that tripled my pay.

  6. Wanna bet that 80% of the NYPD are Republicans? Guilliani (former Mayor) of NYC is a Republican, and he is at the forefront in snapping at The current mayor, DeBlasio, and foaming at the mouth at Sharpton, Obama, Holder and ALL of the demonstrators, with petty cheap shots, that are incencitive. He tries to clean up his act with a few “good words”. Rubbish! Guilliani is a firebrand loud mouth. His reality is that there are NO bad cops in the system, no matter how they act.

  7. I don’t know what is going on in America. it is like we are reliving what Dr.Martin Luther King and company marched against. If you can’t trust our own brethern cop to have your back who can you trust!!!??? Race relations sadly are at an all time low! and I am the most positive person I know yet I am realizing these are som dangerous and sensitive times in regards to race relations.

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