violent baltimore officer shows that black cops won’t fix police brutality

August 14, 2018
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After being caught on camera punching a citizen in the face, Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams resigned from his post. And for some, the visibility of a black cop perpetuating violence against black bodies brings into questions whether or not police are still inherently racist when it’s not just white cops committing violence. People seem to forget that—or conveniently choose to deny— the racist history of policing and how that informs the entirety of policing across this country today.

It doesn’t matter that the police officer in question was black. Black cops still uphold white supremacy—even against black people.

In fact, policing got its racist start under the guise of “slave patrol”. At which time many local policing outfits in the pre-abolition South, were formed. During this time local white men were instructed to form tasks forces in order to keep enslaved blacks under control. According to the Rebel Press, “All white men aged six to sixty, were required to enlist and conduct armed patrols every night which consisted of: searching slave residences, breaking up slave gatherings, and protecting communities by patrolling the road”. Cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis were among the first to start to create such agencies to “maintain” peace for white citizens against both free and enslaved blacks and everyone else.

Throughout America’s racist history, white Americans have been able to exploit the notion of policing to keep their communities safe, while terrorizing others. Post-WWI, during the riots of the 1910s and 1920s, police forces were on the side of vigilante whites who destroyed up and coming black communities while protecting white ones. Through to the 1960s where police horsed, beat, mulled, and murdered black activists and allies seeking an end to Jim Crow. Throughout the crack epidemic of the 80s and the L.A. riots of the 90s to Chicago and Ferguson today, modern-day policing in America is founded upon the subjugation of black people. No matter who is wearing the badge.