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Police and "One Story"

Police and "One Story"

By Dennis Loo (1/8/15)

In an Atlantic Magazine article entitled "The NYPD Officers Who See Racial Bias in the NYPD," dated January 7, 2015, and reposted by here, the author Conor Friedersdorf quotes from a retired black police officer's testimony citing his superior's advice to him about minority suspects,

"They are fucking animals. You make sure if you have to shoot, you shoot them in the head. That way there’s one story."

People should remember this when they hear the "one story" told by police officers and vigilantes like George Zimmerman, relating their sole accounts of why they just had to shot to death their black or brown victims, making certain there are not surviving victims to tell a radically different story.

The Atlantic story goes on to cite another black officer's description of his superiors' attitudes, and much else, as well:

[I]n raids in black neighborhoods, his superiors “didn’t care if it was kids in there, they didn’t care if it was women in there, naked women... They treated them as if they had no rights whatsoever. It was disgusting." One can either credit these allegations, or believe that three [black] NYPD officers conspired to lie under oath.

The Atlantic goes on to cite Officer Pedro Serrano, a former NYPD officer:

After 9 years in uniform, he cited his youthful experience as a motivating factor in his decision to report a superior for ordering him to target "male blacks 14 to 21" for stop-and-frisks. "So what am I supposed to do: Stop every black and Hispanic?" Serrano said in a conversation that he simultaneously recorded on a hidden audio tape. “I have no problem telling you this,” his superior replied. “Male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem to tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21."

It's on tape.

Notice the explicit advice being dispensed to police officers, white, brown, black and otherwise, by their police superiors. This isn't subtext, although the subtext and institutional racist culture is there as well. This is upfront, direct and explicit orders to treat blacks as if they have no rights, including the right to live.

In a related story, the city of Cleveland finally released a 30 minute surveillance video, after initially refusing to release it, of the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland on November 22, 2014. Tamir was playing in a children's playground with a toy pistol and was shot within two seconds of white officer Timothy Loehmann of the Cleveland Police Department pulling up to the playground. In the video, Tamir's 14-year-old sister can be seen attempting to run to her brother's assistance after he was shot, only to be stopped, thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and then put into the police cruiser, all while her brother was bleeding from an abdomen wound on the ground. Tamir died the next day in the hospital. As in Michael Brown's case, where no one was allowed by the St. Louis police to go to his aid as he lay bleeding to death for nearly five hours on the ground where Officer Darren Wilson shot him, Tamir's sister was handcuffed and assaulted by her brother's killers and prevented from helping to save her 12-year-old brother's life.