The Future of Police Interaction: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

by S.A. Prince

All police aren’t bad, nor are all the black males that get pulled over. That’s obvious, right? Having close friends who are police, and being a black man myself, the future of police interaction (with blacks) is horrifying to imagine.

Stats say that more whites are killed by police than blacks. The stats don’t matter. Reality is not reality. Perception is reality. It’s hard to argue equality in policing when all that black people continue to see are situations where police behavior is questionable. Though stats may say one thing, it’s the eyes that are telling another.

White America argues that mass media is attempting to divide us. I would agree. Media is attempting to divide us, but when white America argues the margins or are quiet when police behavior is questionable, and blacks aren’t obviously in the wrong, then who is it being divisive, the immovable object or the unstoppable force?

 

Most concerning to me is this: Black males aren’t going to keep waiting to find out whether a police officer is good or not; they’re going to just start shooting when pulled over, because they’re afraid.

Questionable police shootings are stirring up fear within rational blacks, and this will manifest itself in irrational behavior. Can you imagine: Police pull over blacks, holsters unlatched, and blacks will be waiting guns in hand.

For far too long, I believe the violence within the black community has been at the source of irrational police behavior toward blacks. That violence however is perpetrated by a percentage of the black community though, not the whole. Violent behavior (by the few blacks) that has caused rational police officers to act with fear, is bloated by media perception. While crime and poverty do correlate, those who live in poverty are not all committing violent acts. 

To that point, of the blacks who were killed by police, how many were killed because they were committing a violent act? Very few.

That tells me something very important. It’s the fear of the unknown causing police to react with fatal hostility toward blacks who are not committing a violent act. It’s the escalation that police fear. A police officer is not fearful of an already escalated situation that has led to a violent outburst.

This is precisely why mass murderers, like the Aurora movie theater shooter are apprehended alive. I think it has less to do with color, and more to do with the particular situation. One would assume that a violent offender would be met with deadly force, but often times when met with deadly force, there’s no time to think and police training kicks in.

There’s an eternity to think and make the “wrong” decision when dealing with an escalating and non-compliant person. That suffocating moment is at the core of many police killings.

The next question is: Can police be trained for that, for non-compliant escalation? When there are so many unknown variables in that particular situation, I’m not sure honestly.

Being a police officer is a tough job. I believe that very few people can do the job effectively, and maybe less than one percent of the population has the ability to be unbiased. Unfortunately, it will be the biased and trigger happy police officer who causes rational blacks to begin to act out their fear, eventually shooting back. 

Most police officers don’t want to see a shoot first culture, nor do blacks. How do we prevent the seemingly inevitable?

…the building of a sustainable black economic infrastructure.

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