In the past two weeks, two local grand juries have made the decision that the presented evidence justified the acquittal of two police officers. In Ferguson, there was no video to support an indictment, so the rule of law prevailed, even with many inconsistencies. But in Staten Island there was a video, and based on the visual evidence, many think there was enough information for an indictment.
As a result of these two incidents, there have been mostly peaceful demonstrations and protests around the country, and no one can speculate when they will end. Some conservatives have charged the demonstrators with having a big party with no goals or purpose. They believe that the demonstrators are breaking the law, and delegitimizing the system of law.
But, the demonstrators feel they are justified with their decision to protest, because the grand juries are not impartial, and justice is not being served. In the advent of a local police murder case, the prosecutor and the police work closely together and many argue it is impossible to make a fair, impartial and credible decision.
Many would like to sweep these two cases under the rug, but injustice, police misconduct, and brutality no longer can be ignored, and allowed to exist. At the beginning of last week the president put together a task force to improve police and community relations. This is a proactive policing task force, but many experts think this is an action in futility.
The police operate as a fraternity, and the high crime areas receive aggressive, and corrupt policing, because violence is the mind-set of the law enforcement agencies. The community does not trust the police and the police do not respect the residents. This is an explosive situation, and there is a need for community organizations to monitor and police the police.
The sentiment all over the country is that police misconduct, brutality, militarism, and murder must end. Potential Democratic presidential contender Hilary Clinton says, “I’m very pleased the Department of Justice will be investigating what happened in Ferguson, and what happened in Staten Island. Those families, those communities, and the country deserve a full and fair accounting as well as whatever substantive reforms are necessary to ensure equality, justice and respect for every citizen.”
But, I wonder if President Obama’s police task force and the Department of Justice will be another government initiative that writes long reports, but gets little done. To begin with, there is a, them-against-us attitude that permeates in the police force and the community. As a result, there is a fundamental problem in the police department with integrity and many officers are corrupt.
The justice system is broken in America, and the residents in the black community do not feel safe when the police come around. When a black man is involved in an altercation with the police, the end result is usually jail or tragic.
The demonstrations around the country are good for America, because they have started a conversation about race. But, many of the demonstrators are protesting for the wrong reason, and they are shutting down highways and destroying businesses. Many really do not care about what happens in the black community, and the major question is what the young people will do after the protests are over.
There is a crisis with excessive police force in the black community. President Obama and Eric Holder must be applauded for trying to improve relations with the police and the black community. As Black Americans and people of good will fight for justice, everyone must remember, all we ask is to be treated as a human.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.