I am outraged that a Capitol Police Officer had his skull crushed by members of an insurrectionist mob, while elsewhere in the capitol building, some of his fellow officers were taking selfies with the mob.
Do you get it yet, my fellow cops? Do you see why there can be no tolerance for extremists in our ranks? This is what turning a blind eye to bigotry, racism, and most recently, white supremacy and Trumpism gets you.
Yes, I’m fully outraged because we have seen this coming for a long time. We’ve seen the dark underbelly of law enforcement play out in a never-ending cascade of extrajudicial killing and excessive force since the shameful days of slave catchers as the first law enforcement in this nation. The line runs straight from slave codes to Jim Crow laws to stop and frisk to zero tolerance or whatever the new catch phrase euphemism will be for our broken system.
The same ugly disregard for human life exposed by Stacy Koons and the rest of the officers who mercilessly beat Rodney King (because they could) also gave us the Chicago “black sites” used to torture suspects, and a long line of black bodies through the decades. We know the names of the most recent because of cell phone videos, capturing the horrors of too many senseless murders.
The FBI identified white nationalist extremism in the ranks of law enforcement as a dangerous threat in a 2006 DOJ report. Over the past few years we’ve seen numerous examples of cops on white nationalist message boards, spewing hate on Facebook or Twitter, sharing extremist propaganda, promoting racist ideology, all with near impunity.
I’ve seen uniformed cops wearing MAGA hats, flashing white power signs. I’ve seen comments on police message boards and supposedly respectable police sites insinuating that Barack Obama should be hung, Michele Obama depicted as an ape, that Hillary Clinton be shot, laughing and sharing all kinds of racist, misogynistic, homophobic, vile comments and pictures. As the hatred grew, they added things like ALL Democrats are the enemy.
Police officers have felt free to rant on these sites mostly because they allow “anonymous” posts. Sheriff’s deputies and police officers in LA proudly sport tattoos identifying themselves as police gang members. Cops making their hatred and bigotry clear. Very few are ever held accountable.
Weeks ago many members of law enforcement made a big show of moving to the new social media site Parler, to join with the rest of the conspiracy theorists and cultists, making clear their allegiance is to Trump, (not the nation) and because they are angry that fact-checkers are finally flagging the most egregious lies on FB and twitter. Think about that. People who have guns and badges, sworn to uphold the law—ostensibly with truth—are incensed that lies are being flagged. It’s incredible.
For weeks, anti-American insurrectionists have made their plans known. They came to DC to SAVE TRUMP–not America. Rioters pulled down the American flag at the US capital and tried to put up a Trump flag in its place. POTUS incited the crowd all week, even hours before the violence. He continually used inflammatory language. The posts and language in the chat rooms have grown more violent. Yet, he told the crowd to march to the Capitol.
The crowd did move to the capitol. Many were self-proclaimed “proud boys” and members of militia groups, with openly white nationalist ideologies. These are the terrorists that some cops joined to storm our Capitol. At the grounds of the capitol, some police on duty let the crowds in. They stepped aside to allow anarchists into the United States Capitol that they were supposed to defend. Other capitol officers took selfies with the anarchists. And somewhere, in the melee, one of those anarchists used a fire extinguisher to murder one of their fellow cops. I hope his fellow officers can live with themselves. I pray for his family.
So, when people shake their heads today and wonder why the security of the US capitol failed, I will know in my heart that a large part of the failure can be traced to the radicalization of too many cops. And the failure of police and civilian leadership in this country to do anything about it.
There is a cancer in law enforcement, hiding in plain sight. You know who the racists and radicals are in your agency. We’ve all known and told ourselves they are harmless while they go deeper into the anger and grievance. This is how radicalization grows and spreads.
Good cops: Hear me. You are complicit if you do not identify these people who shame our profession. Yesterday was a brutal wake up call. Do not to fall into any both sides trap, that avoids taking a long hard look at ourselves- police. Because there is not an equivalent to BLM, when police are the ones paid to protect.
I’m not defending any rioters, trust me. I’m saying that I doubt you will find cops or former cops among looters in Kenosha, Louisville, or Baltimore, but there were cops who took part in Wednesday’s mob. The fact is, you cannot be on the side of a violent mob and also say you live up to your oath.
I’ve long said it’s time for law enforcement to set the bar much higher: Few are called, fewer make it. Your badge makes you different. You swore and oath to the constitution not any one politician. It’s time for us to stop pretending this isn’t a problem for policing, just like our nation. We have to acknowledge the very real problem within our ranks, because these are the very same folks engaging in misconduct, abusing their power, and tarnishing your badge. Good cops cannot be silent any longer.
Radicalized cops joined in the siege of the United States Capitol. If this does not outrage you, then you should really get out of our profession.
The reckoning has arrived.