June 2020 Archives

The outlines of police departments' methods of absolving racist, violent cops are becoming clearer by the day. Top of the list is hiding officers' misconduct history, a near universal practice among the 18,000 police departments in the country. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, now charged with second degree murder, had at least 17 complaints against him by citizens in the city before he kneeled on the neck of George Floyd and snuffed out his life. It's shocking enough that police departments would have such lax hiring practices that a sadistically racist and violent man would even be considered for a job. But it's beyond belief that up and down the management chain the administration of police departments would turn a blind eye and even actively cover up criminal acts. Thinking this is a 'One bad apple' problem is being willfully ignorant of the well documented history of malfeasance by officers throughout the country.

Covering up misdeeds.  Shuffling men between departments but keeping them within the fold and on the job. Denying there is a systemic problem. Hiding records to avoid accountability.  This entire scenario echoes another that's been plaguing our country for many decades: the coverup of the child abuse scandal by the Catholic  church. While certainly not completely equivalent, both the police and the church share the same foundation: arrogant and imperious police union leaders and bishops who deny the deep harm their mens' actions have had on the lives of unprotected men, women, boys and girls.

The entire structure of police departments must be changed to save the lives of people of color. That work must be taken out of the hands of the police themselves, who have been promising change yet never delivered. In the same way, the Catholic hierarchy has demonstrated they cannot be trusted to consistently bring pedophile priests to justice; just as the police mouth the smooth bromides but do not change the racism engrained in the system.

A change is long, long overdue.

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