How Eugene Goodman Restored Some Faith in the Future of Policing

I hate police.

I hate the institution of policing as it stands in America. It has become a money drain, hoarding billions of dollars from city budgets while social services desperately in need of those funds deteriorate. Public schools struggle to provide books and meals for their students. Accessible mental health services are few and far between. Homeless shelters are overcrowded and many far below an acceptable standard of living.

All the while, police departments stock up on weapons to arm under trained, under qualified police who go on to abuse the power they’ve been granted.

I hate police. I’ve got every right to.

Yet, I also understand that behind every badge is a person .

Not always a good person, just like with any profession, but I know police officers who are good humans, who have been kind to my family. I know officers who entered the force with the hopes of changing the system from within, defying the odds and fulfilling their duty to protect and serve their community.

I also know that because of the ways in which the criminal justice system was created, to be a good police officer is an unattainable goal. The entire system has to be dismantled and rebuilt in order to create something equitable. Even then, my faith in any form of law enforcement that does not result in gross brutality and abuse of power is minimal.

Then I read about men like Eugene Goodman, a Black police officer who damn near single handedly kept the domestic terrorists at the U.S. Capitol building from entering the unsecured Senate chambers.

Facing a group of all-white conservative men, he alone blocked their entrance to the chambers without even pulling his gun. As the group grew more violent and struggled to push past, he led them on a chase away from the senators they were after.

It’s like something out of a movie.

One man, a Black man, risked his life to defend the democracy of his country, even though that country has never defended him.

It gave me hope.

If we can dismantle this policing system, one that disproportionately oppresses anyone who is not wealthy and white, there are brave people like Eugene Goodman who can fill the role of law enforcement officers.

If we build a good system, good people will thrive within it.

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