Article in The Michigan Chronicle, six-time #1 African-American Newspaper, The Atlanta Daily World & syndicated in Real Times Media Group
By Robert Weiner and Autumn Kelly
The dark culture of our criminal justice system is, and always has been, the real issue in overcoming police brutality. There are steps we can take to speed up changing the culture of criminalization in police departments: body and van cameras, education, and re-inventing the idea of what it means to be a police officer.
President Obama said in response to the Baltimore rallies this week over Freddie Gray's death from a snapped spine, "This is not new. This has been going on for decades."
The history of African Americans' awareness of police brutality, while the rest of America resisted that reality for the most part, should serve as a reminder that society appears more invested in keeping African-Americans in prison than out.
Here are some statements by Americans since the 60's, Black and White, that show we should have acted long before now:
- 1963--Martin Luther King, Jr framed the issue then and now: "There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality."
- 1965--John Lewis: "I thought I saw death" (after being hit by police).
- 1965--Robert Kennedy "To many Negroes, the law is the enemy. In Harlem, in Bed-Stuy it has almost always been used against them."