Earlier, this week, I watched as the local police made two separate stops of men walking in the neighborhood. First, the officers blocked traffic by pulling the cruiser to a slant. 10th street in Long Beach is a busy thoroughfare but kinda small so oncoming traffic has to swerve around the cruiser. This is dangerous and annoying. This is a vulger display of power that serves no purpose other than to demoralize the community. You know, show em who's in charge! Now, both officers had the young fella empty his pockets onto the hood of their vehicle and have him lean over the hood. It was at least 93 degrees and humid and this young man is searched while his hands are cooking on the hood of a hot police cruiser.
While, this may be standard procedure, I would think it would be tantamount to torture. His hands are burning and the officers are aware the engine is hot! The stop ended with the young fella being released and he cursed the cops as he walked away, black bandanna around his head, shirtless and muscular. He could not have been more than sixteen years old as he walked away with his girlfriend and little sister. He may have appeared to be a gangbanger but so what! A ticket wasn't issued, he wasn't arrested and the neighborhood is full of people dressed in the same style.
The next dude was Hispainic, his bicycle was laid on someone's lawn curb, the police, again blocked the street but sat him on the curb as they searched his contents and ran his id. There were two officers in each case and neither time did an officer move the vehicles out of the way after the person was detained making it easier for oncoming motorists. He wasn't arrested either.
Both young fellas walked away angry with the police. It seems to me that the Police, in spite of all the studies and urban rebellions, AKA Riots seldom implement community policing which has been recommended too many times to mention. Young cops leave the academy and patrol the ghettos growing older and hardhearted. Young fellas grow up watching those same cops grow old and a perfect hatred forms between the two.
We need changes, we need for our local police to live locally. They need to live in the cities they patrol not in some faraway suburb. The Police should implement foot patrols, forcing direct contact with the citizens of the neighborhood. They should know the residents, the business owners, the homeless and the yes, the hustlers. They should be involved with the neighborhood. They should greet the citizens, displaying common courtesies and building relationships. This would combat the hatred which is passed on generationally between everyone. This would help police combat crime as well by being able to spot potential problems and defuse tensions early in the neighborhood.
The current policy has not worked! The community does not help the police. The Police often behave as if they are an enemy occupying army, maddogging people as they pass. This is not hypebole because it happens to me all the time.
US versus Them must end! The Police must become responsive to the community and they must be held accountable. One way for that to happen is by foot patrols and true community involvement by the police. Police should be trained in great customer service, we pay for these services. I for one don't want to pay for my oppression and for someone to abuse me! Police Action Leagues should mentor and sponser kids and community organizations.
And when abuse does occur the police and the local justice system need to take that seriously. Bad cops hide behind their Unions, the blue wall of silence and the public's fear of crime. Community Oversight is important as well. Police officers too should know that crime will not be tolerated!
We can do better, we can break the cycle of hate!
Chime in and let's do something to change our community for the better.
Be Mindful! Be Prayerful! Be Careful!