Candid talk with a cop – Part 2

July 17, 2020

talk-with-a-copIf you didn’t see yesterday’s talk with a cop, Part 1, start there. If you did, here’s the rest of the story. Why would I talk to a cop? Because, as he says:

“I’ve known Carol for years and she wanted this to be more of a conversation. She and I do not see eye to eye on everything, although we do on some things. But we hear each other out and make tactful counterpoints. Carol and I have conversations, which seem to be in short supply these days.” 

Yes. It’s about dialogue. Learning from one another. And trust me, we do not hold back.

I am pretty sure some of you will disagree with some of this. I hope you will comment or even ask questions, which he is happy to answer. When you do, I hope you will do so in the spirit with which this officer and friend has talked with me: respectfully. He is a good guy. And what I love most about him is that our conversations are never superficial. We dive right into the deep end. So let’s do that now:

talk-with-a-copYou’ve worked recent protests and have discussed it with a wide range of friends. What do you think we need most today?

The short answer is communication. And accurate reporting, because the narrative reported is not always the truth. When accurate reporting comes out, most individuals will have the same opinion. For example, what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd was disgusting. We ALL agree on that: politicians, law enforcement, society. There is no disagreement.

Do protesters have a right to be angry?

This is a very charged question. Do I have the right to tell someone their feelings are ill-placed?

There are professional protesters out there. The ANTIFA types. The ones who were quick to chant “fuck the police” and had shirts with ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) which have they have owned for years. They will be angered regardless of what the cause is. But to the protesters outside of that minority, yes. They have a right to be angry. They watched a horrific act. I’m angered by it. I’m saddened by it. Protesting George Floyd’s death is justifiable. But to condemn the entire profession based on the actions of one man, that, in my opinion, is not. 

They have a right to be angry, but I ask them the same question: Does law enforcement have the right to be angry, given current accusations thrown at them? There are 800,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S . There are an average of 375 million law enforcement contacts every year. Police kill less than 1,000 and the overwhelming majority are deemed justified. Those not deemed justified are prosecuted.

Does anyone deserve to die?

This is a topic we do not see eye to eye on. I believe those on Death Row earned that seat. You do not believe in capital punishment (Note from Carol: see? he knows me.)

There is a vast difference between DESERVE and JUSTIFIED. No, cases like Walter Scott and Botham Jean, NOT JUSTIFIED and those officers will or have gone to court and were prosecuted for it. But in cases like Tony McDade, Sean Reed and Alton Sterling, those cases appear to be justified. It doesn’t mean they deserved it, it just means that given the totality of the circumstances, the shooting appeared to be justified.

How do you view Black Lives Matter?

talk-with-a-copI was struck by something Don Lemon said on CNN, that the BLM movement only deals with black men killed by the police and that pales in comparison with the total black lives that are lost. More black children were killed over July 4 in the U.S. than unarmed black men killed this year. He named the child who died, their city, innocent kids.

BLM is so short-sighted: African Americans are only 13 percent of the population but they are half of all homicide victims. It is a bigger problem. Violence exists and it needs to be addressed. Law enforcement can not do it on our own, we need community buy-in.

I support 100 percent any moves against police brutality. The statistics aren’t always shown: whites are equally susceptible to being killed during law enforcement actions based on the total number of contacts—but minorities are 20 percent more likely to be recipients of lower levels of force. That’s the statistic we need to further explore.

Also important is to remember that the majority of law enforcement contacts are in poor neighborhoods. I only get called to (famous person’s name redacted) neighborhood if a house is broken into. The vast majority of our calls are in the poorer parts of town.

As a cop, do Black Lives Matter?  Fu*k, yeah, because we spend our time out there defending black lives, minority lives. We don’t deal with the rich, hardly ever. Most of the time the victim is a minority.

talk-with-a-copEvery single one of my Black male friends who are professionals has had multiple stops for Driving While Black, while my white male friends have rarely, if ever, been stopped for no apparent reason. I have never been stopped for no reason.

I can’t explain that. I don’t make those stops. I usually work nights. When I pull someone over, I do not know the driver’s race until I make contact. I have heard these stories my entire career.

Has it happened in the past? I am certain it has. I remember a long time ago when I was the “rookiest” of the rookies, there was a push to stop racial profiling. We sat in a classroom and had to explain what we believed racial profiling meant. The instructor read an answer from a different law enforcement agency. The answer was, “fuck you, racial profiling is good police work.”

Have I witnessed a DWB stop? No. We all have to justify our stops. Every stop. And there is a record of every stop. We are required to be more and more transparent today. Here is advice to anyone being pulled over, ask. If they don’t know why they were pulled over just ask the officer.

Do you really think they wouldn’t be too afraid to ask that?

talk=with-a-copIf they are too scared to ask, then I cannot bridge that divide. It’s just too far. I have never had someone afraid to ask me. But here’s a story:

Now this is just me and just one example. I pulled a black male over for not making a stop at a stop sign (California stop).. Asked for his license and he said he forgot it at home (code for I don’t have a license). So I ask him for his keys. I run him and he either doesn’t have a license or it’s suspended. I come back to let him know I know he lied to me and he’s noticeably nervous. He’s struggling to light a cigarette. So I give him my lighter. I talked to him, not like officer and suspect, but like “dude, you fucked up, but I don’t hate you. You’re going to have to go to court and explain your actions, but I am not pissed at you” manner of speaking.

He told me at the end of the contact he was stressed because he was scared of the white cop but I treated him with respect. He shook my hand and he went on his way. By the way, I could not tell his race through his tinted rear window.

Side note to that night.

Flash forward exactly 30 minutes. I’m walking by a public building and a homeless individual is sleeping near a door of a public building open 24 hours. I told him he couldn’t sleep there and to go somewhere else. He sat up and looked at me and said, “it’s because I’m black, you racist motherfucker.”

Do you think systemic racism exists?

Yes. I believe there is racism out there. There are specific examples of racism. But I do not believe the system is racism. Racial profiling was part of policing in the past,. I haven’t witnessed it, myself and I do not condone it.

Is change needed in law enforcement?

talk-with-a-copFor society to exist there needs to be enforcement of laws. Whatever change is required needs to make that happen. We shouldn’t rewrite who the police are because of one cop. We need to restore the public’s faith in us but how much change is needed compared to how much the public needs for there to be change? That’s the line we don’t know.

I am not a policy maker. I am a law enforcement officer. And about the movement to defund and abolish police, think about this: They are saying that we do not need laws enforced. There would not be a body out there to enforce the law. No law would have a penalty. This is obviously the extreme end of the spectrum, but it’s the direction the loudest voices are advocating for.

During the absence of law enforcement in the six block area of Seattle known as CHAZ or CHOP, the group immediately armed themselves, set up strong borders, stopped and searched individuals without cause and ransacked businesses without hesitation.

This is a snapshot of what life without laws looks like.

Is the increasing amount of public attention on police in recent years a positive or negative?

When the federal government stepped in and investigated a law enforcement agency, Dr. Roland Fryer, (economist and Harvard professor) found a decrease in homicides and overall crime—with one exception. When a jurisdiction was investigated because of a “viral video” there was actually an increase in violent crime and homicides. He studied 24 jurisdictions. Five had viral videos attached to the investigation. The total homicides in those five jurisdictions was 893. Some 893 additional people were killed in those five, in the 24 months following the video.

talk-with-a-copThe reason? Law enforcement officers, who believed they were being maligned for an action they had no part in, stopped pro-active policing. The victims? Minorities.

Chicago is now the violent crime center for the US and as of June 26, 2020, some 295 people have been killed in the city alone. Do you think he number will go up or down if police are defunded or abolished? New York City saw its most violent weekend in years, maybe even decades. Will the $1 billion cut from the NYPD budget help or hurt those numbers?

Law enforcement is being criminalized for the actions of a few. Cops are retiring in record numbers. NYC can’t process retirement requests fast enough. Other jurisdictions are experiencing the same attrition. The most qualified applicants are going to find work in another field.

Recently, I talked to someone at another agency and about 75 percent of their police officer applicants dropped out of the process. In my jurisdiction several have resigned to find work in another field and others seek to retire earlier than they anticipated. There will be a shortage of law enforcement officers in the near future.

So I ask this question: will this make people safer as a whole?

More than half of homicide victims in the US are minorities. Will fewer police or no police make them safer?

So in this current climate, you ask, “Do Black lives matter?”

The answer is emphatically, YES. THEY DO.

I hope Part 2 has given you some food for thought. If you have questions, ask them in the Comments section on the blog and he will respond here.

Here is Part 3. Thank you for hanging with us. 

4 comments on “Candid talk with a cop – Part 2
  1. Thank you for this honest conversation. I live in Baton Rouge. Today marks 4 years of a BR ambush of 6 BRPD which tragically killed 4 and left 1 permanently disabled. This horrific mass murder was in response to the killing of Alton Sterling. I respectfully disagree that Sterling was a justified killing. But know that I support BLM and I support the Blue. My question is your take on Police unions. On this sad anniversary, the BR Union of Police has put up billboards all over town that says, “Warning, enter at your own risk. BR is the 5th deadliest city in the US.” It appears to me that this is a toxic political move from the white led union against our Black police chief and our Black woman mayor. I believe they are not being part of the solution to the historic racial issues of my city, but are adding fuel to the fire. I’d appreciate your take and I realize this may be an issue that is too local to comment on.

  2. Alana says:

    A little bit about my background: I am a white woman in her 60’s who grew up in a New York City city housing project which was transitioning (and still is today) mainly inhabited by blacks and Hispanics. My old neighborhood now is about 70% minority and I agree with you about black on black crime. Here are my questions. 1. If police “don’t know” a driver is black, then how is it that prominent black people report frequent being-pulled-over incidents, including (revealed in news interviews) Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott, various doctors and other black professionals? It seems to happen too often to be coincidence. 2. I’ve read that suspended officers, many times, are quietly reinstated months after being charged. Perhaps not a question you can answer but do you feel this will happen with the police accused in recent incidents such as George Floyd’s death?

  3. Betty kaufman says:

    Thank you so much for your first two articles. Very thought provoking. Your friend is truly a good cop, as I know many others are. Thank you for being so good. Greatly appreciated!!!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have to question why he is so quick to say the killing of Tony McDade was justified? I don’t believe the investigations are complete and eye witness testimony contradicts what the officers stated had happened.

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