By: Bobby Akporotu
Allow me a simple question, what came first? The chicken? Or the egg? This question has no logical nor rational answer. The only prevailing truth is that an egg produces a chicken, and a chicken produces an egg. Analogous to the chicken-egg conundrum, the strained American police-civilian relationship, disseminated via your television, Facebook or Twitter outlets, leaves us in an abstract paradox. Let us examine said paradox, which came first? The brutal cop, or the contemptuous citizen? Allow me to share an incident which occurred a few weeks back. My older sister, Obruche, lives far out; an area you could aptly describe as the boondocks. Obruche has a fine little boy, William, my nephew. One day, on a late evening drive to drop William back home, and after driving through miles of wonky loops and sharp bends on ‘boonafied’ roads, my elder brother and I are brought to a halt by a NJPD cruiser.
“Roads closed,” a lady-cop says, “turn around.”
This area, as earlier stated, is not the most locomotive friendly. We had just driven through miles of slender, vegetation infested roads and were but a minute, literally a turn, away from our destination.
“Excuse me, but my nephew is terribly hungry and lives just around the corner there, could you please make an exception? Or direct us in a shorter way to get around this?”
“Don’t be stupid, can’t you see the downed power line? Use a damn map if you’re lost, ROAD’S Closed.”
She wore an agitated look on her face and tuned a somber red as she howled her dictation, shaking her head. I immediately took offense and wanted to say some choice words to this lady-cop but my brother, the wiser of the two of us, advised against such actions and promptly turned the car around. Granted, a power line was downed, however, the situation appeared pacified with a PSE&G truck present on scene. An entire half of the road was open and she could have allowed use tentatively through with little to no ruckus.
“What happened to protect and serve, officer?”
Feeding the beast; the stained beast that is the growing dislike or contempt showed towards police by American civilians and the repeated gross misuse and abuse of authority by American police impacting U.S citizens. We have all heard of the multiple, and often, easily avoidable killings which occur at the hands of police officers. News of a new killing seems to surface daily and with each breaking new, disdain for police dilates. The dilation of contempt and mistrust then breeds angst within officers. They expect to be confronted by insubordinate citizens so they exert excessive force, thus we see a symbiotic relationship develop. The lady-cop expected disobedience from me. In this current political milieu, she, an older Caucasian officer, and I, a young Negro American, make the requisite ingredients for the now classic breaking news cocktail; Local cop shoots young Black boy. The constant abhorrence shown towards the police by American civilians, predominantly Negro Americans, enamors a callous attitude amongst police officers. The police expect derision, so they “bring the hammer.” We feed the beast. The beast grows, and strikes back.
Feature photo by Ivan Bandura