On Twitter this morning, an ex-Baltimore police sergeant named Michael A. Wood detailed a litany of abuses he witnessed or participated in while on the job. Even if your faith in cops to do the right thing has been completely demolished over the past several years—or if it was never there to begin with—you’ll almost certainly find something new that turns your stomach.
A handful of New York City cops have contended for the dubious crown of most corrupt ever in the 170-year history of the NYPD. There was Charles H. Becker, who met the electric chair in 1915 after he successfully ordered a hit on a gambler who had threatened to expose him as crooked. Or Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who served as detectives while secretly doing the bidding of the Lucchese crime family. And then there was Michael Dowd.
Black culture and the role racism plays in black American history are discussed at length in the national dialogue around race relations. We regularly debate use of the “n-word,” for example, and the impact of historical racism on outcomes for black Americans. In fact, black culture comes up in conversations about everything from mental health and homophobia to how parents discipline their kids. On the other hand, the role that white culture plays in our society often goes without remark.
Did you know that police officers lie under oath—or talk about doing so—often enough that the practice has its own slangy portmanteau? (It’s called “ testilying.”) What happens when an otherwise good officer is really bad with his gun? Do cops give a shit if you protest that you’re being arrested unfairly? Once again, Gawker’s anonymous cop is here to answer all your law enforcement questions.
The last tweet Anthony Hill sent read, “Never say never.” Two hours later, around 2 p.m. on March 9, he was shot dead. Reports and video footage, captured moments before his death, spotlight Hill’s erratic behavior: the 26-year-old Air Force veteran had been wandering The Heights apartment complex naked, crawling on the ground, knocking on doors, and hanging from a balcony. When approached by Dekalb County police officer Robert Olsen, Hill charged the officer despite Olsen’s pleas for him to stop. Though Olsen, who is a seven-year veteran of the police force, was equipped with a taser, he fatally shot an unarmed Hill twice.
In recent weeks, the White House has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening "community policing" around the country. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has coalesced around the same theme, releasing a report days ago with recommendations for community policing measures to be adopted nationally. The suggestions for building better "relationships" and boosting "trust" are comprehensive but, for a national crisis brought on by the killing of unarmed black people, there's one thing conspicuously absent from the public policy solutions: the acknowledgement of racism.