Friday, August 15, 2014

Is this a teachable moment for the police?

The Michael Brown shooting and the situation in Ferguson, MO are currently in the headlines. The only problem is that this is nothing new; situations like this have been going on for decades across the country and across color lines; but obviously disproportionally within African-American communities. It is easier to pick on people who do not have as much of a voice or seem not to have one.

A lot encounters with the police start off peaceful (even though no citizen likes to deal with the police), but the point at which thing go wrong seems glaringly obvious: the police never apologize sincerely, ever.

A simple mistake followed by a sincere apology and action can go a long way, but the culture of law enforcement seems to be to ‘never admit you are wrong’, and if possible ‘blame the victim’ in order to confuse, obfuscate, and get away with it. How many incidents have we seen on video where the police are shouting “stop resisting and stop trying to take my gun”, even though the person has already been tazed and handcuffed?
‘Protect and serve’, is supposed to be the job of the police and at this point, it seems obvious to me that they have completely discarded the ‘servant’ part, and as a result, we are not being protected. When was the last time you saw police officers ‘walking the beat’ in the neighborhood? When was the last time you did not feel scared or nervous when the police passed you by (even if you were doing nothing)?

My own personal encounters with the police are memorable in the sense that the majority of them have happened when I was walking home minding my own business, or driving from point A to point B.

As an educator, I understand how you learn from your students as much as they learn from you. I understand that the community needs to be involved in order to teach successfully. These are basic principles of any kind of ‘servant’ job.
Police, you are servants of the community, your job is to make us feel safe, and right now you are failing miserably! Why are we not looking at this aspect of public service equally? Why are we spending so much time, energy, and political will bashing teachers when there are other public servants out there doing a far worse job? Innocents are being hurt, and there is never an excuse for that! Innocent until proven guilty, believe it or take off that uniform!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

1 comment:

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