Opinion: The police are not our enemy

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Editors Note: The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Tropolitan or its staff members.

Sam Stroud

Staff Writer

Even though the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day and events surrounding it highlighted the advances in racial relations since the 1960s, questions still seem to circle about police brutality. Some American citizens seem to think there is a faction of police officers who allow racial bias to command the way they conduct themselves on the job. 

To suggest that there is a group of police officers who wake up each morning with the desire to sow chaos into our society rather than help the people they’ve sworn to protect is incorrect and counter-intuitive to the idea of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  

The police don’t seem to have a problem in terms of treating people by the color of their skin. Let’s take fatal shootings by the police as an example since that usually gets spotlighted by the media. 

There are no statistics to back the assertion that there is a segment of police officers’ intent on targeting blacks or any other minority.  The Washington Post reported police shootings killed 998 people in 2018. Of those 998 people, approximately 40 percent were white and approximately 20 percent were black. 

The fact is that police kill more whites than blacks every year, as this statistical truth is the same in 2017 and 2016. In both years, the largest portion of people killed by police were white. 

This still looks disproportionate. However, although black males only make up six percent of the national population, they are responsible for 42 percent of all police murders. In other words, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by an black male than an black male is to be killed by a police officer.  Statistics like that highlight the fact that blacks are statistically more hostile towards law enforcement than any other race. This can account for why 20 percent of all cop killing victims are black. 

Even with the data that shows there is no sect of racist police officers, the more important question still remains. How is anyone promoting unity between races when they claim that the officers who are meant to protect everyone are actually waking up every morning with the intent to target blacks? The rhetoric that paints the police as untrustworthy will only do one thing, foster suspicion and wariness. 

The way to bridge the cultural gap between blacks, police and whites for that matter is to point out the best each group could be. Instead of constantly being reminded about how there are one or two cops that let bias dictate their decision, we should focus on the majority of police who are good people trying to look out for the citizens under their protection. 

What’s going to make communication easier? Thinking the man across from you is waiting to stab you in the back or thinking that he wants to sit down and talk about his differences with you? More importantly, which thought is fostered when you are saying a sizable portion of officers is preventing racial equality? 

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