I remember when I was a little girl in elementary school. In first or second grade a police officer, known as “Officer Friendly,” came to my class, and spoke with us, stating that the police are our friends. Their jobs are to protect and serve. I remember being so excited and believing every word that he said.
Now I am thirty-six years old and forced to see a different reality. So many times over the years I have seen instances of police brutality played out on TV. The most memorable being the 1992 beating of Rodney King. Here it is 2010 and now we have the beating of a 21 year old, University of Maryland student, John McKenna. A young man is in the street after a game, celebrating the win, and he gets the beat down of his life. The Justice Department made a statement saying that when the FBI completes its investigation, they will determine if civil rights laws were violated.
The young man was dancing down the street. He did not have a weapon. He wasn’t even bothering anyone.
How do you trust the very people that are paid to protect you when they do things like this? The job of a police officer is to protect and serve the public. Why is it that so many officers feel that they can humiliate, beat, and torture people at their leisure?
I think that the person that shot the video should be given a reward because who knows what Mr. McKenna would have been charged with had there not been a video. I used to trust the police until I seen with my own eyes how they operate.
One time I was at my cousin’s house when her brother-in-law came over after being robbed and beaten by someone he didn’t know. We called the police and when they arrived they treated the victim as if “he” was the perpetrator. They asked him what he did to get robbed. They asked if he was part of a gang, if he sold drugs, and what was he doing out that time of night. I asked the officer why he was speaking to the young man like that and he told me to be quiet before he locked me up. Knowing that there are more ways to skin a cat, I picked up the phone and called 911 and requested a supervisor because I wanted that supervisor to tell me that what the officers were doing was standard protocol. Once the officers’ superior got to the house, oh how the demeanor changed. The officers were now calling my friend sir, asking if he need medical treatment, the whole nine. A letter of apology was sent out. And the superintendent assured me that that type of behavior is not acceptable.
In 2002, I had been assaulted by my ex-husband. The police were called and the officer was speaking to my ex and the officer told my ex-husband that if he had a wife or girlfriend he would beat her too. Again, I called 911 and had a superintendent dispatched and again the officer's demeanor changed and my ex was arrested. What I didn’t like about that situation is that I was told that he would be reprimanded but the officer was going through some personal issues.
When I moved to Atlanta, my house was broken into while I was at work. When I got home at two in the morning, I saw that my house had been robbed and I called the police. The first officer on the scene was very nice and dusted for fingerprints and offered me a safe place to go, after finding out I had no family or friends in Atlanta. The second officer came to the house and the first words out of his mouth were, “You must have made your boyfriend really mad.” I told him I didn’t have a boyfriend and then he said that it had to be somebody I knew. The first officer came downstairs as I told the second officer that it is a shame that you have ignorant N words in high and low places and for him to get out of my house. The first officer whom was Caucasian, turned beet red and did everything possible to control his laughter. I filed a report on the second officer and they said he will be retrained and I received a phone call from his superiors apologizing.
I told these stories because this type of thing exists all over America and we have to take a stand and protect ourselves. If you or someone has a problem with a police officer try to record the incident. Call 911 and explain your situation. Ask the officer for his name and try to read his badge number. Get as much information as you can and file a report.
Your safety and rights are most important. If you are not breaking any laws and are harassed or beaten by the police then it is your duty to take action. Closed mouths don’t get fed and crooked cops have to know that their poor behavior will not be tolerated.
All police involved in the Maryland beating should be suspended without pay until the investigation is complete.
By: Tiffani McClain