I have said it. I uttered this phrase before AND I meant it. I have been in a space of devastation when I have said these words, and I remember why. I was walking in NYC and I looked up at the news ticker and it read that the police who killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man in the Bronx were acquitted. They got off. They got away with shooting him 42 times, found no gun and no evidence of a crime he committed, and they got off. Mannnnnnnnn FUCK THE POLICE. A few, maybe less than a few years later, Sean Bell. That one I felt the tears burn my cheeks, my heart racing, the lump in my throat, and the actual rage bubble up in my body and my mouth uttered the phrase, through tears, through anger and I said it again….MOTHER FUCK THE POLICE!!!!!!! Then something happened that stunned me, and it humbled me, and it changed my perspective. Russel Timoshenko was murdered. Officer Timoshenko was doing his job, and someone shot him in the face and neck at point blank range. He was 23, born in 1983, just like me, he was doing his job, just like me, he was just doing what he was supposed to, and he was shot, and died 5 days later. Like Amadou and Sean, my tears burned for Russel, I cried for him, he was a police officer, he was a part of the fuck the police system BUT I felt his death down to my core and while I CAN and DO see the injustice in all excessive force cases, I do not feel any joy when an officer murdered.
One of my closest friends, I say he is my brother, he is a cop, and a damn good one. When I even start to utter the words, Fuc…I think of him, I think of Russel, I think of the cops in my community and I CANNOT bring myself to say it. I am a lot wiser than I was when I was 23. I am far more conscious of a broader world, I am aware that there is duality and balance in everything. It is not lost on me that vigilante cops need to be prosecuted for willingly, intentionally, and forcefully killing unarmed people of color and anyone else who they kill unjustly. It is also not a foreign concept to me that most cops DO NOT go to work with the intent to kill anyone. I am not naive nor narrow minded enough to ever think that anyone, on either side of this human rights issue leaves without scars and trauma. Are all cops the same? Nope, duh, right? Are all black men criminals? No, duh. Then, why this huge miscarriage of justice every time an unarmed black man is shot? I do think it is mostly fear that has people shoot to kill with such excessive force. I think it has a lot to do with improper training and more than likely a bias that is either direct or indirect. A lot goes into picking up your gun and pumping bullets into someone. The aftermath is a shit show on so many levels AND no one feels good. There is no joy, no light, and no light being emitted from anywhere.
I have never had a negative interaction with the police. Ever. Not in Chicago, NY, San Fran, Oakland…nowhere. My interactions with the police have been civil, kind, and positive. My very first college boyfriend became a cop, and he is one of the sweetest men I know. I am fortunate and acutely aware of my privilege. I am a woman, I live in a middle class hood, I am educated, I dress well, I smile AND those things never stopped the cops from killing people who look like me. Perhaps a part of it is circumstance, or getting the right cop, on the right night, maybe it is my vibe and the energy that I put out there, I am not sure, but I do not fear the police and I do not believe in saying fuck all police. I cannot in good conscience say that, knowing the good cops that I know who are also subject to police violence BECAUSE they are black men. They are just as susceptible when they are not in uniform. That sucks. Is that a police issue? Maybe and it is an economics issue and the fact that violent crime is high as fuck in the hood. Profiling is wrong, AND this is why we need cops who get familiar with their community and the people who live there. You are less likely to shoot someone you interact with daily BECAUSE there is a connection there. A good cop is not going to kill someone he knows barring the fact that their life or the lives of others are not at stake. I can almost say with certainty that the average police officer does not wake up with the intention to shoot and kill anyone. I could be wrong, but I am not.
Community policing is a two way street. What exactly do you think can be accomplished if there is straight up animosity when you see any cop? How can this human being who probably has their own shit to deal with, actively deal with animosity directed at them for the sins that some other cop, in some other town did? How do you expect every cop to atone for the sins of the ones who did wrong? You cannot. The same way it is fucking wrong to ever in life assume every person of color is a perp. Stop that. It goes both ways my people. Individual to individual compassion, empathy and overstanding can evoke real change. Being so angry that you forget that a person in front of you is a living, breathing human being just like you, is awful. No one is absolved of their sins because one side suffers more than the other. Human beings are human beings and it is always in everyone’s best interest to get to know, and I mean really know someone simply for the sake of love and being a good human. Some cops fuck it up for other cops, I get it. Some criminals fuck it up for innocent people, I get it. Leave your judgements at the door. Leave your bullshit and your bias at the door and lean in to love, and commit to overstanding the person AND not what you think they represent.