By Amanda Frazier Timpson

I have nothing but respect for the spirit of law enforcement. They’re subject to danger, sacrifice and often witness humanity at its lowest. I’ve heard it argued in recent months it’s that constant exposure to negativity that turns some cops bad. I suspect there’s some truth to that, but power and authority are often magnets for the kind of person who will abuse them. That person would still be a bully in any station or scenario life leads them to.

 I recently had my own (extremely minor) altercation with a local policeman who got very tyrannical with me very quickly. Of course I was never in fear for my life, because I’m the whitest white girl ever (not to mention the least threatening). Still I can’t describe the intense feeling of vulnerability and injustice that came over me and still hasn’t left. I won’t judge his colleagues by his behavior, but my trust and respect won’t be automatic anymore.
I’m concerned about what might happen when that officer is called upon to interact with someone who is not a white girl in a wheelchair.
Race isn’t the only factor in police misconduct, but it’s past time to stop denying it’s a big one. A exasperatingly over simplified “info graphic” about how color has nothing to do with the alarming number of people killed in police custody has shown up on my Facebook page six times in less than a week. Every single time, it’s posted by a white man. These are good men who I dearly love, but like so many others they’re blinded by their fortunate position. As with every other brand of discrimination, the only ones who think it’s NOT a problem (or even a possibility) are the ones who aren’t affected. If you guys would learn to put yourselves in someone else’s shoes, it would CHANGE the world!
I’m sincerely sorry for all the honorable cops. It seems like it would be in their best interest to weed out guys like that. Maybe the job attracts narcissists, or maybe it breeds them. It’s a purely academic, chicken vs. egg conversation that will always circle back to the same problem:  destruction is inevitable for a society that can’t trust those who swear to “serve and protect” them.
Read between the lines of political agenda, and do the math of history and experience. Take an honest look at the statistics. It all adds up to gross injustice in a country that claims “justice for all”. If you can do that and still say color doesn’t matter, it’s not because you’re ignorant, it’s because you’re not comfortable with the prejudice you harbor, but you’re not willing to let it go.

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