The tragic events in New York over the weekend reminds us of the difficulties and dangers of being a police officer.
However, the shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos should not present us with the two false choices that some are promoting.
False Choice #1: The protest caused the shooting
We are asked to believe that the recent protests of the grand jury verdicts in the Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Michael Brown cases is the reason behind the shooting.
False Choice #2: If you support the protesters, you are against the police
I would hope that all of us are smarter than the political talking heads and know that both Police Lives Matters and Black Lives Matters. We can support both, protesters and the police.
The Police Are Not Under Attack
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar six-time NBA champion put it best in a brilliant article for Time.com when he said: The Police Aren’t Under Attack… Institutionalized Racism Is.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley the man who allegedly shot the officers in Brooklyn and then turned the gun on himself was mentally ill. He shot his girlfriend before traveling to New York. Brinsley had a checkered history of arrests, internet rants and anti-social behavior long before the protests started.
Reporting that the protests inspired Brinsley, is the kind of lazy thinking that is at the root of the black community, now, a growing white community mistrust police which has sparked the protests and only reinforces the institutionalized racism charge.
Supporting The Police and The Protesters
Yes to some it may seem impossible but I support both the police and the protesters.
Supporting the Police
- I will support the Police by: Understanding that they have a difficult job and that they are put in impossible situations as they serve and protect all of us.
- I will support the Police by: Advocating for greater training, tactics and strategies giving officers more tools to use in forceful situations.
- I will support the Police by: Supporting funding to hire and train more officers for underrepresented communities. Included in this funding should be higher pay for officers, and protective gear and equipment like body armor and cameras.
Supporting the Protesters
- I will support the Protesters by: Calling for the use of special prosecutors to bring police abusive force cases before Grand Juries.
- I will support the Protesters by: Supporting measures to bring more economic opportunities to distressed communities.
- I will support the Protesters by: Demanding greater accountability in the communities by calling on citizens to vote in greater numbers and become more involved in community affairs, and develop positive relationships with law enforcement.
Police Lives Matter – Black Lives Matters
I will proudly put on my NYPD cap and support the police and the families of Officers Liu and Ramos; just like I put on my “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt last week to show support for the Garner, Gurley, and Brown families.
In fact, I think I will put them on at the same time to let everyone know that Police Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter!
©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland