For today, we are revisiting a throwback episode from June of 2019 where Shaun breaks down a Buzzfeed and Injustice Watch study called "Good Day for a Chokehold". The report gives us quantifiable proof that many American police are closet bigots by diving into the social media posts of thousands of officers. Shaun draws historical lines between past, present and future to break down exactly what we're up against.
It should come as a surprise to no one that the American legal system is deeply racist.
The bigotry is apparent on many levels. It is apparent in sanctioned police tactics. At the peak of stop-and-frisk in New York City, where officers were told to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious”, 87 percent of those stopped were Black or Latinx. Of those stopped, 89 percent were innocent. These stops regularly involved police brutality, inappropriate touching, sexual harassment and lasting emotional trauma for those stopped.
The bigotry is apparent in who police bring into custody alive and who they murder without any thought. When white supremacist Dylan Roof committed the largest hate crime against African Americans in modern times, killing nine people in a South Carolina church, he was taken into police custody without a scratch. When he told the arresting officers he was hungry, they stopped and got him food at Burger King.
When 12-year-old Tamir Rice played with a toy gun in a park, officers shot and killed him less than two seconds upon arrival. When Eric Garner sold loose cigarettes on the street, officers choked him until he died. When Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her bed, officers broke into her home and shot her multiple times before arresting her confused and distraught boyfriend for trying to protect her.
Dylan Roof was white. Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor were Black.
The legal system is racist. It was built to be racist, to support the white men that built it and oppress the Black and Brown people that continue to suffer under it. It is not broken, it is functioning the way it was always intended to, yet the argument always arises: what about the good cops? The officers that murdered Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Jordan Edwards, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Alton Sterling, Amadou Diallo and thousands of other innocent Black men, women and children, must be in the minority, right? Just a few bad apples.
According to a groundbreaking study done by The Plan View Project, bigotry is the standard amongst American police. The study aimed to bring to light the explicit bias of police officers in precincts across the country by investigating their public social media posts and comments. What they found was damning. These posts were made not just by low-level officers but corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and inspectors.
There are not a few bad apples in the American police force, there are rotten trees stemming from rotten roots that can only produce bad fruit.