Dr. Samori Swygert: How Do We Fix Police Brutality?

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Bad_CopsBy: Dr. Samori Swygert

One of the benefits as taxpaying citizens is the provision of public safety.  Tax revenue finances the payroll of police departments.  Police officers take an oath to serve and protect the citizens.  The police have a fiduciary obligation to stop, and prevent crime.  The title of a police officer carries a form of valor and respect, because they place their lives at the frontline of defense against criminals that lack respect for the rules and regulations that govern the rights of law abiding citizens.

My concern is the abuse of the badge.  Cops are allocated privileges that the average citizen can’t exercise.  Certain police cases force me to contemplate the abuse of privilege, over-exercising of authority, and the corruption of duty.  I worry about the perversion of privilege with police officers, and the malfeasance behind the “Blue Wall of Silence”.  I’m a reasonable and rational person.  I’m aware that certain operations and investigative strategies may require nontraditional methods of catching criminals.

What happens when privilege and authority are compromised? How do officers operate under the influence of bias, racism, financial incentives, substance abuse, mental illness, and pure power rush?

I think of case studies like: Oscar Grant, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Ramarley Graham, Sammie Davis Jr (Macon, Georgia). Now handcuffed are men dying from alleged “self-inflicted gun shots” to the head (Chavis Carter).  This makes you ask, “Are cops stopping and frisking David Blaine?”

Scores of police are indicted annually on participating in drug conspiracies.   There was a NYPD officer (Gilberto Valle III) accessing a National Crime Center database, to track potential female victims to cook and eat in a cannibalistic plot!

The overkill of unarmed citizens with a barrage of bullets is an increasing trend.

The investigations are poor, and explanations are shoddy.  The loss of family members over a mistaken cell phone, or shouting match with police officers typically results in desk duty, and loss of gun privileges for a few months.

Where is the accountability?  It will require the bravery of cops to expose cover-ups and scandals, like Frank Serpico of the NYPD in 1971.

With Stop and Frisk, police are overexerting their authority on innocent citizens in most stops.  Many Black and Latino citizens are stopped and harassed for no reason.   Statistics for stops and arrests were conducted. Whites and Asians stopped by police compared to Blacks and Latino were staggering single digit percentages.  Failure to practice policy homogenously and uniformly across state demographics is discrimination.  This style of policing is unethical.

Unpredictable ramifications occur when racism is deputized by a badge.  April 15, 2011 a NYPD cop named Michael Daragjati in Staten Island, New York, falsely arrested Kenrick Gray because he didn’t like Mr. Gray’s response.  Mr. Gray spent 2 days in jail.  Officer Daragjati was already under investigation by the FEDS for a prior incident.  He was recorded bragging that he “fried another Nigger”.  This officer used his position of authority to manifest his own racial hatred and bias.   Officer Daragjati engaged Mr. Gray in plain clothes.  Why would citizens submit to the commands of a person they don’t know is an officer? Citizens nationwide are being victimized by this style of policing.  Many citizens have criminal records because of this.

A Chicago police officer Gildardo Sierra shot a man over 3 times in the back while on a parkway on June 7, 2011.  What underscores this case is this officer admitted to consuming several beers before starting his patrol shift.  This shooting was also this officer’s 3rd shooting and 2nd shooting death in a 6 month time frame. How do you admit to drinking several beers and performing a patrol?  First, driving under the influence is a crime.  Second, you shoot a man in the back over 3 times, and kill him while under the influence of alcohol, and get off!  The scales of justice need to be recalibrated, HELLO!!!!

The moment police remove the right to due process, and authority of the judicial system, the fragility of citizen’s lives dangle in the hands of officer’s mood swings.  The legal system was created for a specific reason.  The system allows discourse and mitigation in a controlled and legal atmosphere where people accused of violations can defend their positions without the threat of death.  Police officers should not play lawyer, judge, jury, and executioner.

Many officers get verbally, and physically aggressive if a citizen doesn’t respond in the exact verbiage the officer prefers.  Many cops precipitate altercations with condescending tonality and behavior that automatically belittles the very citizens that pay their salary.   The disrespect provokes a response, which usually results in calls for back up, guns being drawn, and arrests being made.

Many police videos reveal officers firing a barrage of bullets at unarmed citizens that were at nonthreatening distances, as if shooting a gun is their only alternative.

I think officers should undergo quarterly mental health screenings in a public hospital to avoid potential influence or corruption of results and diagnoses. This is important because they operate a lethal weapon.   Mental illness diagnoses and antipsychotic prescriptions should be furnished to the police department, so departments can conduct effective risk management strategies.   War veterans have developed PTSD and other mental illnesses from their experiences.

Many times courts behave as if officers are undisputedly right and flawless.

Officers should take Breathalyzers, mouth swabs, and blood samples pre and post duty to detect the consumption of alcohol and other drugs (if diabetics can take blood samples 3-5 times a day, why shouldn’t someone with a lethal weapon.  Laws should address multiple officers firing at once.  There are numerous cases of overkill and excessive force like Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, or Timothy Russell in East Cleveland.

I’m not trying to besmirch cops.  My objective is to generate constructive solutions from the readers in the comment section for improvement strategies to be implemented.  Tell us some practical techniques that can be implemented in policing.



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