There’s a thin blue line that separates the police from the American people, it’s true. But deep within the thin blue line, there’s another division that a report from Reuters recently identified: there’s a split between white cops and black cops. Reuters interviewed 25 African-American and Black American male police officers on the NYPD, and came to a sad but predictable conclusion: may of them have experienced the same racial profiling that cost Eric Garner his life when off-duty.
The police, along with the military and small business, are ranked as the three most-trusted institutions in the country (it’s telling the police are on there but fire departments are not). An attack on the police, then, is often seen as an attack on the American people, explaining the heat that Bill de Blasio has received for his criticisms of the NYPD and the grand jury decision — officers turned their backs on de Blasio not once but twice, with police, conservatives, and police unions slamming de Blasio for his “anti-police rhetoric.”
One officer said that they turned their back against de Blasio in solidarity with their fellow officers at the NYPD.
According to Reuters, though, “fellow officers” apparently refers to those officer with a low melanin count only.
Retired police sergeant Desmond Blaize, who served in the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, noted that he once got stopped while he was taking a jog through Brooklyn’s upmarket Prospect Park. “I had my ID on me so it didn’t escalate,” Blaize said, adding that “But what’s suspicious about a jogger? In jogging clothes?”
Blaize isn’t the only one. Reuters interviewed 25 African-American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired, and 10 of whom are still serving. All but one noted that when they were off-duty and out of uniform, they’d been the victim of racial profiling. Reuters noted that this included “being pulled over for no reason,” and other harassment:
The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.
Defenders of racial profiling like to point out the data that suggests that African-Americans and Black-Americans made up 73% of the shooting perpetrators in New York in 2011, but were only 23% of the population. It’s a pretty damning statistic, but remember that there are two types of liars in this world according to infamous liberal Mark Twain, and both of them deal with statistics.
Social psychologists at Stanford, Yale, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice have done research that shows there’s an implicit racial bias in the American psyche that correlates black maleness with crime. This includes a 2004 study called “Seeing Black: Race, Crime, and Visual Processing.” A 2010 New York State Task Force report on police-on-police shootings — the first such study of its kind — revealed that for the last 15 years, officers of color had suffered the highest rate of fatality in encounters with police officers who mistook them for criminals.
A number of other academics have also noted that the statistics are potentially skewed, simply because the police over-focus on black communities and ignore crime in other areas. These pointy-headed academics have also noted that being stopped as a suspect doesn’t automatically equate to criminality, no matter how hard conservatives may want it to be otherwise (see: Mike Brown, Eric Garner). The officers interviewed by Reuters noted that they’d been racially profiled by white officers exclusively, but roughly a third said they made a formal complaint.
And all but one said their supervisor either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against the officer by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions.
While meeting at an ale house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a group of black and African-American officers from across the city for a beer and chicken wing special. The conversation turned to Garner incident, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the officers agreed that Garner’s death was avoidable. One officer of the 106th Precinct in Queens even noted, “That could have been any one of us.”
Remember this next time your Conservative relative is “standing up for the police.” Because they aren’t; they’re standing up for the status quo.