improvingpolice May 8, 2018

“But You Don’t Understand!”

From time to time, I get the opportunity to talk to today’s cops about today’s problems. With one foot still in the “culture,” and the other foot in the community, I think I have a perspective that could be helpful as to what’s going on and what needs to be done.

For example, at one meeting a young African-American woman (a correctional officer) explained how her husband, a military veteran, was coming out of a store when he was stopped by police, told to get on the ground (in which he wisely complied), handcuffed, taken to the police station, stood in a lineup, and was released two hours later. He was not the suspect police had thought he was.

Now this is not an unfamiliar story among American blacks. She stated this incident still leaves her angry because the police did not apologize.

Listening to this story were a number of police officers. One officer questioned the lady as to why there should be an apology. “The police did nothing wrong. They lawfully detained your husband because they reasonably and legally believed was a suspect. When their investigation revealed he was not the person they wanted, they released him. They did nothing wrong!”

“But they should have apologized!” she argued.

“Why?” the officer responded, “They did nothing wrong!”

Well, that’s it. That’s the rut, the loop, in which I find many conversations going between police and people of color.

Continue reading here.

“But You Don’t Understand!”