#NotAllCops — When Cops Confront Racist Policing

#NotAllCops. This slogan has been adopted to support our officers, but what it actually does is excuse our racist system of policing by blaming its outcomes on individual actors.

Many Americans see police brutality for what it is — an egregious miscarriage of justice — but fail to realize that systemic policing practices and internal secrecy conspire to make such deaths inevitable. When officers fear no consequences and are encouraged by their peers and superiors, of course they will find times to act with no regard for the collateral they inflict.

So let us be very careful about which cops we distance from the rest. If we maintain that there are “bad apples”, let us be very clear about what it takes to be a good apple.

Laquan MacDonald was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke. To those who would identify “bad apples”, he seems a clear choice. But Jason Van Dyke was not the only officer who betrayed his duty to the people of Chicago. Five other officers testified that Laquan MacDonald lunged at Van Dyke, when video clearly showed that to be false. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/nov/24/chicago-officials-release-video-showing-police-killing-of-laquan-mcdonald-video

Cops who help cover up killings, who help their buddies get their stories straight are “bad apples”. So are the internal investigators who go easy on their friends, the prosecutors who do the defense’s job for them in grand juries…at this point the bad apples go well beyond the officer who fired the killing shot and well beyond officers at all!

At some point, we have to admit that the many bad apples are a symptom of the rot at the heart of our racist policing system. The barrel has gone bad and we need a new barrel. And when we fill that barrel, we should start with the good cops who have stepped up today.

These NYPD cops have spoken out bravely about the racist policies of overpolicing in their departments. So let’s take back the hashtag #NotAllCops

These good apples show us that #NotAllCops treat the badge like a brotherhood they must always side with, rather than a covenant to serve and protect the people.

Being a #GoodCop doesn’t just mean not killing anybody. It means speaking out against racism and brutality, and the practices which foster them.

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