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Friday, July 10, 2020

Opinion

Police departments are a bunch of ruined apples


Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

When it comes to racist police brutality, people might say “it’s just a few bad apples.” They forget that the saying is “a bad apple spoils the bunch.” 

America’s police origins are rooted in racism and classism, and now, over a century later, nothing has changed. Therefore, we need massive police reform in this country now.

The institution of police in this country started from a need to protect property. One of the first U.S. police forces was in Boston. 

The city of Boston was a big commercial center and businesses hired people to protect their property. Businesses then realized that they could save money by transferring that cost to the public. 

They convinced city leaders and Boston Police Department, one of the U.S.’s first police departments, was born. While you may argue that theft is bad, this clearly shows that police were not about protecting people, but rather corporate interests.

In the south, the first police were slave patrols tracking down runaway slaves and preventing slave uprisings. After the Civil War, sheriffs continued this pattern of policing black people by enforcing segregation. The south’s origins of policing revolved around oppression. 

This pattern of controlling police continued on with squashing labor riots of factory workers, civil rights protests and gay establishments. While police have been considered a group that keeps us safe, their history doesn’t support that very well.

And of course, the system is still very racist. A Bureau of Justice statistics report shows that police pull over a higher percentage of black people than white people, and are more likely to use violent force on black people than white people.

We often see the anecdotal evidence of this violence on the news.

George Floyd. Tamir Rice. Natasha McKenna. Philando Castile. Breonna Taylor. These are just some of the names of black people unjustly killed by police. At this point, with all of the statistical and news evidence, it is foolish to deny that there is systematic racism in the police system. 

A few bad apples do ruin the bunch. A cop can be non-racist, but they still enforce a racist system that has historically tried to control black people and other minorities. 

Police are not taught how to protect us, but rather themselves. 

An article in the Atlantic by a former police officer talks about how in police training, they are taught not to hesitate when it comes to violence. Hesitation can mean their own death and the risks of hesitation outweigh the risks of taking action.

So if a cop has racial prejudice, they are likely to be more afraid of black people and escalate violence when in contact with them. 

“Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six” meaning better to be judged by a jury than to be carried in a coffin by six people. 

Police are trained to inflict violence out of fear. They are trained to see the killing of an innocent civilian as a fair trade for their own life. 

If you’ve looked at any screen recently, you’ve seen videos of peaceful protestors getting shot at with rubber bullets and tear gassed. Police are the ones inciting violence.

Overall, in order for a police officer to do what police do, they cannot be “good.” They were trained to enforce policies that don’t protect us, but rather protect private property.

They were trained to not hesitate with violence and black people take the brunt of this. The system will not let good cops be good, so the apple bunch is ruined. 

Because the police system is inherently and consistently racist and classist, it must be massively reformed into a newer system that doesn’t target minorities or inflict unnecessary violence.

The current system was already a bad bunch of apples, and will continue to rot if we don’t do something. Donate, sign petitions, protest and speak out. 

Anna Baker is an English sophomore who can be reached at [email protected] 

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