op-ed: with police brutality, an officer’s race doesn’t matter

May 21, 2015

The continuous killings of blacks by police is the alarming news story of today. And while most cases have involved white officers shooting and killing unarmed young Blacks in America, the Freddie Gray case included six officers, three of them who were Black. The story in Freddie Gray’s death is an everyday incident, similar to an episode of The Wire, as officers would be involved in, rough driving, taking sharp turns to add an extra punishment to the person who they arrested that was sitting inside of the police van.

By Phillip Jackson, AFROPUNK Contributor

Just how white officers can be racist and target blacks with racial profiling, Black police officials can be no different. Some may refer to them as, “Uncle Toms” or “sell-outs”, either way—the issues of police brutality and the sustained killings of blacks while being unarmed, but still being presumed a threat to an officer’s well-being still lives and breathes as an issue that deems an unjust, and a racially insensitive system.

Both Baltimore and Ferguson’s police departments consist of predominantly white officers in communities that hold majority black residents. And while distrust has grown with both police departments in both cities, white officers are not the only issue for black residents. Whether an officer may be black or white, fear of police brutality from any officer, no matter what their race, is the main problem.

Police brutality is still seen as a war on blacks. And unfortunately, black cops can be almost worse than white officers. While many may argue that their actions are not made to target blacks, statistically—their word do not seem to hold much weight. A statistic from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice, shows an estimation of, “Arrest-Related Deaths by Homicide in 2003-2009.” The average annual deaths per million people shows blacks at the highest percentage being 3.66.

According to a report that was released in 2014, numbers show great disparities among different races between Blacks, Whites and Hispanics who are arrested by age. In the Crime & Delinquency journal, it was found that nearly half the percent of Black males are arrested by the age of 23, as opposed to white males who were at 40 percent. The study went on to show that by the age of 18, Blacks sit at the highest arrest percentage among other races, being Hispanics and Whites.

Along with this stat, a press release from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports on, “Racial Differences in Perceptions,” when being involved in police behavior while contacting the public. According to the 2011 study, “About eight in 10 drivers involved in traffic stops and six in 10 persons involved in street stops believed they were stopped for a legitimate reason.” There was a smaller percentage of Blacks between Hispanics and Whites that believed their traffic stop by the police was justified.

It is not a situation whether the officer is white or black—but more of, acknowledging which race in America has continued to be a target of police brutality for a number of documented years. Distrust of the police department in cities across the country is continuing to grow, while two young black males, one in Wisconsin, Tony Robinson, who’s attorney decided not to charge officers responsible in his death, and Justus Howell, in Chicago, who’s situation is still being analyzed by the news and authorities, it is hard to say how much trust can come from the community when so much injustice has been a constant reoccurring issue.

* This article was originally published on www.writingwhileblck.com

Photo credit: occupy.com