Given the weekly hashtags raising awareness of police brutality victims, the topic that has dominated my Facebook-feed the past months has been the targeting of police officers. And what a surprise, America is split in two once again. This time it’s about whom to blame for the death of unarmed civilians.
The videos, cartoons and even poems going viral all have the same message: “If you don’t respect officers, they might as well shoot you.” The most recent of America’s crazy unwritten rules nobody should accept.
Another unwritten rule seems to be: “If something has a negative impact on white people’s life, it’s even worse for minorities.” Even though you might not browse the Internet every day, a video of questionable police brutality targeting black people occurs way more often than one where a white person is the victim. Racial bias of people in power has ended too many lives in a country where equality once was praised by many, but still is ignored by enough.
After dis-respectfulness, breaking other orders given by police officers has become part of the argument. But how are you supposed to remain calm and follow all the rules when you have seen dozens of seemingly harmless situations like these escalate because of one wrong hand movement. I am a white male and think it’s scary to be pulled over. I don’t want to imagine how it must be for a minority.
Sam DuBose, the man killed by the former University of Cincinnati Policeman Ray Tensing, was driving without a driver’s license and panicked while trying to find it, according to the body-cam video. In other leaked footage captured by a body cam of another officer, Tensing says he thought DuBose was about to pull a gun at him. Police officers often expect the worst possible situation when a black male is reaching for something in his car. The result of the DuBose case was death, while a white middle-aged woman probably would have driven home with a warning.
Yes, police officers have to protect themselves, but there is no way pulling the trigger is a necessity. In the most recent police brutality cases it was certainly not.
Being in a position with that much power you have to be able to handle dis-respectfulness and frustration. Instead of repeating a question seven times and making the person sitting in the car more and more nervous like Ray Tensing did. Police officers should be comfortable to talk to and not get us in more trouble than expected.
Blaming the civilian is like blaming the rape victim. I thought people finally understood that it’s wrong to do that.