My Facebook friend posted that beautiful, famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that reads “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” He happened to post this on the same day that the Washington Post reported that Governor-elect Larry Hogan said that Ferguson really doesn’t impact Maryland. Really sir? sigh…
Not only was that comment insensitive and myopic but it’s also not true. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the killing of of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York are blatant examples of why law enforcement agencies across this entire country are in need of re-training and a helluva lot of damage control. Witnessing these cases where Black men are tragically killed by officer who are supposed to protect them shatters the public’s trust in the police and reinforces the myth that police are crooked murders. Maryland is included in that ‘public’ Mr. Hogan.
Ok. You need a state specific example to hear me, right? Well here’s one right here in Baltimore. A police officer caught on camera attacking a Black male.
Click here to see video. Try to ignore the random music.
Now why did the officer have to punch the man? Did the man hurt the officer’s feelings? Whatever happened to sticks and stones? There was no reason for the officer to physically attack this man. I don’t know what kinds of words were exchanged but that punch and the subsequent ones after were so uncalled for. It was the officer who took it to the next level with his fists, not the citizen. I know emotions can run high sometimes but someone has to be the bigger man and control his anger. I would hope that person would be the one who is sworn to protect and uphold the law.
The avoidance behavior that Governor-elect Hogan displays in his comments are typical politician bullshit that keeps these kinds of issues under the rug. And then the next thing you know it explodes. The fact is police brutality is a problem everywhere. And if officers start getting away with crimes it will only fuel this mistrust that we have about police. You have to confront this behavior head on. Don’t just pass it off to the courts. Talk about it. Condemn these officers for their unprofessional behavior. Admit that there was an oversight. Express the importance of rule of law in this country. Stop cowering away from race issues.
One more thing and then I’ll stop. This little dance around racial profiling is not exclusive to Larry Hogan. Maryland has had a problem with this issue for years. The NAACP and the ACLU have been hot behind the state about the traffic stops and not collecting data on traffic stops on state highways. Once again the Washington Post reported that “nearly two-thirds (63%) of drivers stopped and forced out of their cars by Maryland state troopers on I-95 last year were minorities -even though minorities make up only about 20% of drivers on that highway”. The state police wanted to stop reporting this information. The Maryland court of appeals said uhhhh-NO. You can read more about the traffic stops in Maryland and the race of the drivers in this report from the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. It’s quite interesting.
You see?? There’s that inescapable network of mutuality that Dr. King spoke about. We are all connected in humanity. What can happen to one person can happen to anyone and it’s sad that people like Mr. Hogan doesn’t see that.
Wanna do something about police brutality here in Howard County? Come to this vigil.