Every single African American living in the United States of America has a family member, a co-worker, a friend or a neighbor who has been the victim of law enforcement misconduct.
They may have been wrongfully arrested, they could have been over-charged, their comments and statements may have been misquoted, twisted or changed and used against them or they may have been verbally abused when they were referred to by an N-word, as a thug, a drunk or a troublemaker.
Police officers, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcers are rarely questioned about such behavior. People love to point to police reports as absolute truths but cops will and can lie, like everybody else.
Poor people, disabled people or mentally handicapped people probably are victimized more than others. The people who need the most protection by law enforcers are usually the ones who are beaten the most, jailed the most and hurt the most by people paid by taxpayers to comfort, protect and save us.
No one will believe a black person who says he or she was mistreated by law enforcers. Even if you have video or audio evidence that proves misconduct, the authorities and government lawyers who oversee law enforcement departments will seek to cover up misconduct problems, rather than see how misconduct issues can be resolved.
“Internal Affairs” offices are a bad joke. Citizens are told to file law enforcement complaints about misconduct with Internal Affairs. That is where law enforcers get together to devise the cover up.
In most, if not all, cases about misconduct, phone records disappear, video evidence is somehow lost, documents are shredded and testimony is fabricated in order to fit the cover-up scheme.
But, guess what? When a white woman or white man gets brutalized by police, misquoted by police or over-charged by police, the misconduct story is splashed all over the front page of the town’s major daily newspaper and becomes lead stories on television and radio news.
If it is true that white law enforcers will cause serious injury to a white woman, what do you think those kinds of cops will do to non-whites?
I think every police department or sheriff’s department should have an independent ombudsman who will take a look at police complaints. This person should not be hired by the law enforcement agency. Perhaps he or she can be hired by a community governmental advisory group.
You have to have independent eyes to see what is really going on in law enforcement disputes. If all you have to say is, “I beat him or her half to death because they resisted,” then everyone stopped by a cop can be considered for a beating.
Also, officers who are the subject of multiple complaints should be dismissed. When you cover up misconduct by bad cops, all you do is empower someone with devilish intent to do more misconduct.
Twenty years ago, when I was accused of felony assault on a law enforcement officer, I testified in federal court that elected officials should be held liable when law enforcers who work for them abuse their power and mistreat citizens whose taxes pay their salaries.
Today, no matter how much campaign money you contribute, no matter how many times you vote, if a politician has to choose between helping you and covering up misconduct, the choice is not going to be to help you.
Citizen victimization by bad cops is not just a Rodney King thing or a minority community problem. It is a problem for the whole community and white kids and white women who live in the suburbs. They can get beaten up just like the people who live in the ghettos and barrios.
Don’t get me wrong. The overwhelming majority of people in law enforcement are good people and good cops. Their only problem is adhering to the “code of silence” by which they ignore bad deeds by their coworkers.
I love and support good law enforcers but I hate beasts with badges.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at allworldconsultants.net