Police brutality is more than a single rotten apple spoiling the barrel

The shock of seeing police being violent suprised me when I first got involved in student politics.

I never knew of police brutality before then, which unfortunately speaks volumes of my racial identity.

After a protest where the police took off their name badges and identity numbers, I saw myself on the evening news frantically waving my finger at a riot clad police officer, telling him off for not wearing an ID badge.

It’s a big deal for me to ask a waitperson to bring some sugar to the table, so this was somewhat out of character.

It made me think.

The rage that started to pervade within me when I saw police being rough and violent with my friends and other protesters was huge. I was so angry.

What would it be like to be born into a world when you repeatedly see this happening from childhood?

That immense fury I felt over several incidences of unjust behaviour from police is a ridiculously pale comparison to the repeated experiences of police brutality and oppression felt across the world.

Especially deaths in custody and the killing of unarmed kids.

In my home state, a 22 year old woman, who was in prison for unpaid court fines, died whilst in custody. At the same time, a man safely walked away after his foot became stuck in between a city train and the platform.

Guess what got the most news coverage?

Guess who was white?

It’s not just a rough personality or mentally unstable individual within the police force that results in repeated situations of police brutality within specific communities. It is systemic.

Since it is systemic,  the whole of society needs to take responsibility for police brutality.

Aamer was one of the students I stood beside at many student protests and I think he clearly sums up the concept of systemic oppression and the pervasive nature of ignorance, which is most definitely linked to the ugly beast of police brutality.

It’s never just one rotten apple that spoils the barrel. The barrel itself needs to be examined.

Dungeon Prompts: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/08/21/dungeon-prompts-police-brutality/#more-6554

17 thoughts on “Police brutality is more than a single rotten apple spoiling the barrel

  1. Good post, police brutality is truly a horrible thing to experience, especially when folks will say “If you were not doing wrong then you would not have given the police a reason to be violent.” In the land where power rules, and those that possess it have the liberty to utilize it however they desire, yes it it is truly foolish to disrespect them in any way. Yet we supposedly live in a society that holds certain ethical ideals as sacred, that nobody has the privilege to do certain things to others no matter how much power they may possess. If I as an individual struck another with intent to hurt them, and coerce them to do my will, then I would be violating the law. If I locked somebody in a room, I would be violating the law. The police have to do these things, for unfortunately they do have to deal with some meanevilnastybad people and protect us from these predators, yet there are defined limits, and what actions they take must be held up to the scrutiny of the law. When they decide to violate this law and are not held to the same standards that they enforce, then in reality all they are is another oppressor with a kinder, more gentle machine gun hand.


    1. I agree about the importance of having defined limits and holding the actions of individuals up to the scrutiny of the law… ironically, that’s what we expect the police to do within society.

      At that protest I was at, I remember one of the younger police officers who was not wearing a badge. A small group of us were loudly chanting “where’s your name badge, you’re breaking the law.”

      He was next to an older officer and he just kept looking at this officer with this expression of concern like, “Why don’t I have my name badge on? I am breaking the law!!” You could see that he was having an internal conflict about what he was doing.

      The older officer would just sort of nod reassuringly to him and they’d continue.

      The culture of that particular group of police had started to teach that young officer about the perceived malleability of the defined limits of the law. This is perhaps not a unique situation and this sort of group behaviour probably has a role on how quickly the ‘theory’ and limits of the law can be lost in the everyday practices of policing.

      Thanks for commenting- it’s got me thinking!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the reasons that there is a perceived malleability of the defined limits of the law is the separation from the other, a refusal to accept that simple pan-cultural ideal of doing unto others as you would have done unto you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly and shamefully your words ring all too true. Racism is more embedded in the cultures of the erstwhile slaving nations than most of us care to acknowledge. It is the kind of attitude that allows rich world corporations to lay waste the developing world so they can grab natural resources without paying dues that they could well afford to pay. It is the kind of attitude that makes young black people the target of police stop and search campaigns. It is the kind of attitude that is so sure that some people are superior to others. You would have hoped that we would have educated ourselves out of such notions. But no. Aamer Rahman lays it all out so plainly, and truly is no laughing matter.


    1. Thanks for your comment Tish. I think you are spot on- racism has just become so embedded in many cultures that it is existence increasingly gets ignored. The attitude behind the exploitation of poorer nations by corporations is absolutely linked to this trend, I agree.

      And yeah, Aamer is a comedian, but most of what he says isn’t really that funny… that could be the worst thing you could say about a comedian, although I think that he’d get the point!!


  3. In Miami the shot first and ask questions later. Actually no questions are asked. 7 young black men , unrelated incidences, executed on the street under most questionable probable cause still “under investigation” (allegedly) two and a half years. I suppose an umbrella or broom looks just like an AK47.


    1. That’s soul destroying… just so horrible and heartbreaking to read. I’m really sorry for all their family and friends. Nothing will bring them back.

      There don’t seem to be many stories about young unarmed white women being killed by police. Maybe it is the preconceived ideas about the person who is holding the umbrella or broom that creates the perception of an AK47 or some sort of danger?

      It really is so sad.


  4. As a species, we may well be remembered for our inability to respect each other and allowing guns to rule us rather than the reverse. Thanks for re blogging!


  5. So true. The gun seems to be the ultimate symbol of our disrespect towards each other… it’s such a crazy situation. You have to wonder how did the world get to this point?!?

    Thanks for your thoughts.


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