LAW ENFORCEMENT’S ROLE IN SLAVERY

LAW ENFORCEMENTS ROLE IN SLAVERY

It was blustery cold outside; 17 degrees I think. But I was present, in the church’s basement, when New York City’s top cop, Commissioner Bill Bratton was brave to admit to a mostly black audience in Jamaica, queens, at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York for a Black History month event, February 2015, that police played a part in some of the darkest moments in black history. The worst parts of black history were possible due to the racist culture and nature of the police. Slavery, The United States original and greatest sin (colonizing Indians on reservations came later), sat on a foundation that was codified by laws—LAWS !!! And then enforced by the police, slave catcher, etc. He went on to discuss how Peter Stuyvesant, a Dutch settler used black slave labor to build New Amsterdam (now called Manhattan), then he build a police force. He acknowledged the distrust seeded historically by the role of police in enforcing laws that were the foundation of slavery and Jim Crow discrimination. And he talked about the risk that attitudes born of policing neighborhoods where most crimes are committed by blacks can unconsciously harden into bias against all blacks. And ever since then, the stories of police and black citizens have been intertwined, again and again…and it was always bloody, most times, ending in death. I started to cry. A stranger—parishioner patted my shoulder to calm me down!!!!
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