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To Protect and Serve” is the common slogan associated with police officers, yet, if you were to poll many African Americans on the police, protecting and serving wouldn’t be their first answer to describe them. Regardless of the relationship between the two, its almost easy to say, Black people don’t trust the police. So why don’t Black people trust the police? It it just a stereotype? Or is there validity to the question?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories heard from across the country that support why Black people don’t like the police. Fatal cases like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo happen frequently, and are examples of extreme police brutality on unarmed Black men. Just recently here in Philadelphia, video surfaced of four cops beating 18 year-old Marcus Warryton for a simple traffic stop and resisting arrest. While he may have resisted arrest, the force used by the officers were excessive and further supports why young Black men especially have grown up learning to dislike police officers.

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“Stop and Frisk” is a method used by police officers to cut down on crime, however, recent reports show in New York alone, stopping and frisking mainly applies to minority men. A whopping 85% of “stop and frisk” are Black and Hispanic men and has been heavily defended and justified by New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

The targeting of Black men is one of the overarching reasons why Black people don’t like the police. It’s not just a dislike or disrespect for authority. It’s the repetitive questionable actions of authority who are supposed to protect and serve all citizens equally. There should be more conversation followed by action about police brutality in our cities. Not to say you should blast NWA’s “F*ck Tha Police” while slowly riding past police stations, but real action with substance. This issue is complex, and is not going away without real serious dialogue and collaboration between neighborhoods and communities across the nation.

Do you think this problem can be managed? What do you think our Mayor and other city leaders can do? Let us know!

 Walter Gadsden in Birmingham on 3 May 1963, attacked by police dogs during a civil rights protest.   Photo by Bill Hudson/AP.

words by: Valerye Griffin – (@valmarie)

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