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Understanding the divide white/black/blue

  1. Jul 14, 2016 #1
    I would like to start by saying that the loss of life recently, has been tragic. It is cause for concern for the safety of Americans of all races, especially given the fact that much of it was needless and probably avoidable. Rather then point fingers I would like to give some perspective to the situation as a whole and what brought us to the place we reside at now. A place of distrust.

    If I had to categorize this as an issue I would have to say its a trust issue.
    With that being said the perspective of the average law abiding black male in our society is distrust. Today's generation is being raised by parents of the 50's, 60's and some 70's. This era wasn't a great one for people of color. Growing up during the civil rights movement you learned that the political machinery that ran this country "at that time" was not particularly sensitive to minorities. Nor was it always fair. It was hard and it was a struggle, but nothing worth while is ever easy. Fast forward to today, and the lessons of the past are still being taught, by family and friends. The message is (if you are black, you are a target) you will be discriminated against because of the color of your skin. You will be mistreated, you will be at a disadvantage. Always be on guard, the police are the enemy. It is taught in our schools, its part of our history. But if we do not learn from it we may be doomed to repeat it. This mentality of "its us against them" automatically puts these groups at odds, in opposition. Political movements and protest of the 50's and 60's are making a come back. But whats the reality? Today black people have access to education and training, opportunities to thrive and do well. Our president is living proof. But many still wonder, in this age of enlightenment, is today my day? Am I going to be falsely accused? Am I going to make it home alive today?

    The perspective of your average (law abiding police officer or law enforcement official, even security officer) is trust no one, be on guard, take nothing at face value. You are in a thankless job, some of the people you are mandated by the oath you took to serve and protect hate you because you wear a badge, they have no respect for your position or authority, you are a target. You go to work with two goals in mind, do your job the best you can, make it home at the end of your shift. Is today the day I die in the line of duty? Will my wife or girlfriend or child receive that folded flag? Sound familiar?

    The last element, it's invisible to the naked eye and it exists in both cultures, and it exists in all races you can not see it, it's just there. Its on the police force, its in the community. The corrupted human criminal mind.

    Black /white/blue it makes no difference if you are wearing a badge or not. Bad character is out there. Unfortunately there is no way to distinguish one from the other. And the fact that these 2 distinct groups have this in common, makes for a bad situation for the innocent ones in the middle. I personally know of 2 officers that recently got fired for corrupt criminal activity. No one got hurt or killed but the confidence and credibility of the department was placed in questioned as a whole, by the actions of the few the majority are judged...sound familiar? One black one white,....both blue (officers). Made everyone look very bad.

    Now put yourself in the other guy's shoes.
    Innocent person of color:
    Imagine for a moment being raised in a culture where you are taught that because you are of a different color/race that you Will face discrimination, injustice, intolerance and none of it is your fault. That this is the way the world is and you must be on guard 24/7. You are indoctrinated that you will not be treated fairly or given the benefit of the doubt and are assumed guilty upon sight.

    Now put yourself in the other guy's shoes.
    Good Cop of any race:
    Imagine putting on a uniform, being trained in tactical use of force and through years of experience, you deal with people on a daily basis and you know that when you approach a situation with someone who you do not know, who is already on edge before you even make contact simply because that is the reaction they have, they had it pounded into their heads since birth (the police are your enemy) You can read body language and every fiber of your being is telling you this individual is agitated, aggressive, emotionally involved, and a threat to you on contact. You know you may only have a second to react, And all you want to do is your job, you want to do it right, And race/color doesn't even register. All you know is at the end of the day you want to make it home alive.

    Can you really see it from both sides?

    There is no easy fix, all we can try to do is understand one another.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2016 #2
    I have been in the unique position as a law enforcement professional and also being from a racially diverse background myself, I have seen both sides and had to deal with racial diversity in the work force (as staff trainer and mentor) as well negitive veiw and mentality cultivated with in the black community. Id like this to be a constructive discussion with a broad range of subtopics addressed. The perception of both sides have been slightly clouded for many years. I think because this forum is so well known a serious discussion could change some minds and make a difference.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2016
  4. Jul 14, 2016 #3


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    Well said.
  5. Jul 14, 2016 #4


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    Thanks for the post gj.

    I agree understanding the other guy's position is important. And yet such understanding is not necessarily a guide to an ethical solution. For the American North in 1860 to understand all it could about the mindset of those in the South was important, but it would not have been ethical at that time to conclude, "all we can do is understand one another".
  6. Jul 14, 2016 #5
    What a well thought out, detailed, and insightful post you have made, to me you seem like a very wise and fair person. If everybody thought in a way that is similar to the central core of your post the world would be a much nicer place! :)
  7. Jul 14, 2016 #6
    True, 1860 south was a different political and social structure. Yet, this is supposed to be an enlightened era. Look at how far we have come as a nation. Its almost like we are devolving instead of evolving. Going backwards instead of forward. Some of the things i have seen people saying (on both sides) of this debate are bordering on conspiracy theory crackpottery.
    To understand any problem you have to deal with all factual variables. You can't throw in falicy and rhetoric of any kind.

    Not all white police officers are out there shooting to kill innocent black men. Thats just a fact.

    I'll be the first to admit corruption and racism exsist in modern law enforcement on all fronts. But it also exsist in BLM. It exsit in all cultures and even religious movements.

    No one ever talks about the other side. I never told the forum how i got disabled and ended up behind a desk. Berkman knows but i never told him all the variables. I am of mixed racial decent. Everyone assumes i am white and treats me as such. I got injured permanently trying to save a black mans life who had been beaten to death by a white supremacist.

    Thats the side no one wants to acknowledge. There are Good intentions on both sides. But mistakes get made. And people are paying for that in blood. No one acknowledged those officers in dallas died while protecting the right of those who were protesting their very existence.
    Understanding that, and understanding both sides(good and bad) is the only path to a lasting solution.

    The invisable factor, the factor we can not see, is there in uniform, and also holding up BLM posters. We have to acknowledge that in order to fix it.
  8. Jul 14, 2016 #7
    Thank you russ, I had to think long and hard about this whole thing. It wasn't easy
  9. Jul 14, 2016 #8
    Thank you, and i have to acknowledge that there are well meaning and well intentions among all groups. They do think like me but they have no voice.

    The bigger issue is how do we separate the peace keepers from the trouble makers.

    Personally i would not go to any protest, i would not go to any round table debate. Or participate in any march.
    BUT If any of these groups decide to hold a peace rally. COUNT ME IN!
  10. Jul 14, 2016 #9
    We have to throw off those old out dated ideas, we can't and shouldn't pick a side here. The peace keepers and the genuinely concerned element caught in the middle of this shouldn't rush to any judgement. How do we change the minds and hearts of people who have been indoctrinated to believe one thing.

    How do we change the minds of well meaning good officers working in the feild who are always targets always in the line of fire.

    As inflammatory as police shootings are (portrayed) and seemed to be without proper context by which to analyze it from every point of veiw then we are left to speculate.

    Likewise every time an innocent officer is killed in retaliation, it reinforces that notion, (you are hated, you are a taget, be on high alert) then more bad shoots take place, more retaliation takes place, its a self perpetuating cycle of violence. Cops can not act like robots they are human and are affected by all this. Neither can the innocent black community, the cultural differences and actions, some of it can be totally misleading. A lot of it is fasion and fad. Its sad but young black men are emulating the gang culture even if they aren't really envoled. We can not judge any of these books by their respective and sometimes misleading covers.
  11. Jul 15, 2016 #10
  12. Jul 15, 2016 #11


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    That's all easier said than done.

    The issue are not so much the killings but incidents like the video below:

    Here we have an officer who walks up to a person, ask the person to identify themselves, he does, the officer doesn't believe him, and then due to the scared reaction of this kid, encourages that the kid get tazed. After it becomes clear that the person is who he says he is, the officer begins to lie and claims he asked for ID and the person refused.

    If the officer was not wearing a body cam, then who would the court believe? This is the reality I grew up in, and I know this is the reality others have too. It's not a simple fact of old school views misplaced in modern times. It's a reality.

    When I was a soldier in Iraq. I was required to be able to positively identify a weapon, and receive hostile fire before I took a shoot at the enemy. It baffles me that cops in America are held to a lower threshold.
  13. Jul 15, 2016 #12


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    Is that correct? The published RoE as of 2003 was "positive identification (PID)" and "self-defense" You think the police should not fire unless fired upon, and that any other response is outrageous? A raised weapon by a suspect doesn't qualify?
  14. Jul 15, 2016 #13


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    I don't believe that police need to wait until they receive fire, but the I do think it needs to be above, "he reached for something".

    Edit: Yes that is correct. Identifying a weapon was never enough. People walk around with AK47's in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's just what people do there. So to shoot someone because I received fire from a building and someone exited that building with an Ak47 probably would've opened up an investigation on my actions. The general rule of thumb was positively identify the shooter or target if it was a high value target mission.

    Edit2: Unless the weapon was an RPK or RPG.
  15. Jul 15, 2016 #14
    I see it getting better, but it's still pretty bad. My father in law tells me stories of how the cops used to be towards poor blacks and it was way waaay worse.

    That said, my wife (black) was driving her brand new Mercedes and was pulled over, arrested, and taken to jail for stealing the car. My name was what was on the title, not hers, but our last names were the same, and frankly it shouldn't matter anyway, people are allowed to use other people's cars. She called me, and I called them. I identified myself as her husband and demanded that she be released. I tried that twice, got different officers and they spoke to me with a lot of disrespect. They probably assumed that since she was black, I would be too.

    When I (white man) physically walked into the station, you've never seen attitudes change so quickly. They gave me a bunch of excuses for detaining her. Her name wasn't on the title, which I told them isn't a crime. They suspected her of having drugs, which was a lie. She resisted, which because of physical injuries she has is impossible... They had realized that they had ****ed up and were trying to justify it, not make it right. When our lawyer walked in, they said they were looking into what happened, but still didn't open the cell. At this point they were stalling and trying to just keep it quiet. They didn't realize how badly they had actually ****ed up until the mayor walked in.

    They didn't know that she owned the snowplow company that cleared all of the local government's buildings for them in the winter. Because of that, the mayor knew who she was and I had called him. The jail cell was unlocked within sixty seconds of him showing up. Those idiots got rightfully screamed at by all four of us for quite a while. Her brother is a police officer a few towns over, when he got wind, he also went to the station and make a ruckus. From that moment on, it was "Nice to see you, Mrs. newjerseyrunner; are you having a good day?"

    I would hate to think what would have happened if I weren't white or didn't have the connections we have.
  16. Jul 15, 2016 #15


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    If that were generally true, then no US forces would ever be able to take an offensive action, much less a prudent/pre-emptive defensive action. It can't possibly be generally true.
  17. Jul 15, 2016 #16


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    Depends what you mean by generally. It was the SOP for routine missions such as daily patrols, hearts and minds visits, route security or managing a checkpoint. Naturally, there are exceptions such as during offensive maneuvers, where we would drop pamphlets before the mission and have py ops blast warnings prior to our maneuvers. Does it make tactical sense? Of course not, but it doesn't change the fact that these were our orders. 4 deployments 3 different units, each unit held the same standard. People I spoke to from nearly every unit had the same requirement.

    Edit: I should add context. When I first deployed the ROE was simple a loose view on hostile intent. When given a wide latitude of what "hostile" intent encompassed, Iraq essentially became the wild west for us. It wasn't uncommon for a soldier to shoot a woman with a giant bag, or apache pilots to do a strafing run on civilian targets due to ground commanders "hostile intent" guidelines. There was a time, when taxi's were targets for us.

    After a media firestorm for civilian casualties, it was eventually determined that these incidents were undermining COIN operations. Hence a stricter level of control was eventually implemented.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  18. Jul 16, 2016 #17
    That makes sense. If an occupying force is slaughtering civilians, the people there will see the local militants as protectors and the occupiers as invaders. It'd be like if Russia decide to help us removed the gangs from LA and in the process they executed a bunch of unarmed civilians. I would assume you'd have greater freedom with your trigger during an offensive maneuver.
  19. Jul 16, 2016 #18


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    I mean that that since you provided no context, we were left to guess what you meant. I read it as somewhere between "often" and "always".
    Fair enough, but the way you describe it still sounds wrong. See here:
    [page 4-5]
    That bolded line is essentially always true.

    Another source that includes it almost verbatim:
    https://rdl.train.army.mil/catalog-ws/view/100.ATSC/0EF89CA1-2680-4782-B103-D2F5DC941188-1274309335668/7-98-1/chap2l4.htm [Broken]

    Also, what is either way considered by many experienced military types to be an overly restrictive and extremely dangerous ROI should not be a good basis of comparison anyway:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  20. Jul 16, 2016 #19


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    One of my favorite comments regarding the problem, was posted the other day on youtube:

    Unfortunately, no one wants to admit, that they might be wrong.

    ps. It would take me weeks months a lifetime to transcribe all of the anecdotal stories, of how I've been trying to be "less ignorant", throughout most of my adult life, so I'll just stop here.
  21. Jul 16, 2016 #20


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    Nice post. It does show some aspect of the divide.

    The above two points I have heard about before. Both have seem to taken on a vague resemblance to the urban legend mythology, and having being repeated so many times in movies, TV shows, the news, that they must be anything else but true. Are such vague generalizations steering discussion, or even having a limiting influence on intercourse towards a solution. Both of them would necessarily put the individual in an anxious state, so there is no denying that whenever an encounter does take place, the actual mindset may be there to cause "distrust", confusion, and panic.

    I just would like to address the issue of police officers being in a job more dangerous than any other.
    Statistics are never going to sway opinion one way or the other, but it just might be illuminating that the on the job mortality rate is similar to a lot of others.
    There is a difference though in that with peace officers, mortality on the job is usually from violence, with little control in the type of encounters to investigate, and when. Being prepared for anything and everything - how can they remember all the necessary tactics?

    From this site, http://www.safetynewsalert.com/top-10-jobs-with-high-death-rates/
    he/she has, of workplace fatalities for 2010.
    with officers low on the list. ( Is that a glitch ? )

    I can't check the figures , if they are there, from this site,
    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.htm for full file,
    http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#MSA with PDF's I cannot open.
    Year 2014 seems most occupations are just about the same with the exceptions of management, transportation and contruction.
    Check table 3 - Officers come under Protective services along with firefighters.
  22. Jul 16, 2016 #21
    Well i see two separate issues with that particular incident. One, is there was a scared individual NOT following directives. Two, apparently this guy was living in the same house as the guy with the warrant. A positive ID isn't made by saying my name is Patrick.

    I would almost guarantee you things would have played out much differently had the suspect co-operated with the officer.

    He had probible cause, (the guy looked TO THAT OFFICER) like a wanted fugitive. The guy in the video resist. Resistance is very evident he wouldn't exit the car for pat search, he wouldn't follow instructions.

    What's not easy about co-operation?

    Do you really believe that if the man in that video had complied with the officer he would have still been tased?

    We will never know because he resisted.
  23. Jul 16, 2016 #22


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    Either case I was there and you weren't so it can sound as wrong as you wish, it doesn't change the fact that it was what it was. Either case you and I can probably go back and forth on this issue and derail his entire thread. If you want to discuss this matter further feel free to create a new thread or PM me. I merely bring up the point that it is possible for trained individuals to be trained to make better decisions and not actively try to not alien entire communities. Surely there exist a middle ground between shoot based on "sudden movements" and "wait until fired". I figure you're smart enough to understand that point.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  24. Jul 16, 2016 #23


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    Everything plays better when people cooperate with officers, but we don't live in some reality where young adults act rationally when scared.

    I could also flip your question around? What's so hard about asking for ID? What's so hard about explaining who the warrant is for or what it's for? What's to hard about letting a scared kid know why you're confronting him? What's so hard about not lying about asking for his ID?

    My point is that you can blame the victim all you want, but I would argue that professionals who are given wide latitude should be held to a higher standard than civilians. When an officer lies about the questions he asked the individual, that officer should be punished. The immediate answer shouldn't be, "well it's the victims fault."
  25. Jul 17, 2016 #24
    It's that (victim mantality) and old way of thinking that causes situations like this. You are making my point beautifully so thank you for that. No body would even question this situation if it were a black cop.

    You want cops to act professional? What about these "victims" doing what they are supposed to do when an athority figure approches to do an investigation. That video you posted is the perfect illustration of why this problem will continue until people try and understand these different points of veiw.

    I could re-re flip the question and say why wasn't the "victim" compliant?
    Had he committed a crime that the police didn't know about? Was he trying to close that car door to try and make a run for it and endanger the lives of innocent civilians? Was he diving back in the car for a weapon? The cop didn't know who he was or what he was going to do, or most importantly why he wasn't cooperating.

    Police sometimes have seconds to make a decision, when its on video like that we have a lifetime to judge his actions. For someone who has been in a warzone wearing a uniform you of all people should know what duty means. One of the things a police officer must do, is mandatory by law, once a contact is made and suspect is not cooperating you don't just let them go. Could the situation been handled differenly? Yeah, but once it escalated to require a level of force, the cop had a duty to act.

    When are we going to just tell it like it really is, it took 2 to tango that victim is just as responsibe as the officer for what happened. As far as I'm concerned that video with commentary is all spin. And people will use that "evidence" as an excuse for civil disobedience.
  26. Jul 17, 2016 #25
    MarneMath let me ask you this one question. There has been some discussion about ROE. Lets say you are at a checkpoint in Bagdad and you have an unidentified individual approaching with a large case, you tell him to stop in several languages, but he just keeps right on walking towards your checkpoint.

    Do you A. Escalate your use of force by pointing your weapon and telling them to stop and get on the ground?

    OR do you B. Casually walk up to them ask a bunch of questions like what do you have in the suitcase. Do you come here often? Can i pretty please see your identification?

    I know which answer a soldier is going to give.

    Now use that same logic and apply it to the video you posted and think about it.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
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