With the murder of Tyre Nichols by five police officers in Memphis, it would seem that we all, unfortunately, are trying to understand how black men are constantly being murdered by the police? The glaring difference in this particular case is that these officers were also black. In my opinion, this points to the real problem, which is the overall attitude and mindset that permeates law enforcement throughout this country. Obviously, racism is a huge problem within law enforcement, and it’s easy to cite race when it’s white officers perpetrating against black individuals. However, as we see in this particular incident, these heinous abuses are not only limited to the simple matter of race. At the end of the day, whether black, white, latino, asian, etc., blue will always choose blue. It’s time to stop with the argument that this is only representative of a small minority of so-called bad officers. The fact of the matter is that the bad cops couldn’t exist and conduct themselves as they do, without the so-called good cops turning a blind eye or abetting these attitudes and behaviors through their silence. Law Enforcement in The United States is biased, flawed and broken. It calls for trust from the community, while simultaneously abusing and terrorizing that same community. Officers are very rarely held to the same accountability as ordinary citizens. They are more of a gang, shielded by a badge. The time is long overdue to completely revamp our ideas and attitudes of what exactly law enforcement should actually be.

One prudent suggestion is to drastically overhaul hiring practices. In the U.S., there are around 18,000 police agencies, yet there are no national standards on training or procedures. In many departments, a high school diploma or G.E.D. is all that is required. Compare that to almost every other developed country in the world where a university degree is required. U.S. academies also spend far more time on firearms training than on de-escalation of a situation. Everything is based on force here. 

Another disturbing statistic is that approximately 1,000 people a year are killed by the police in the United States; mostly by gunshot. Yet, while the majority of the world’s law enforcement carry firearms, no developed country uses them against it’s citizens as often as officers in the U.S.; disproportionately against blacks, may I add. Officers in the U.S., on average, spend around 21 weeks training before they are qualified to go on patrol. This is far less than other developed countries where the average is 71 weeks.

Perhaps it would be wise to rethink our hiring practices and training techniques, here in the United States. As citizens, this continued abuse by the police should not be tolerated. We, as a society, must demand better. The police should be held to higher standards. Unfortunately, as history keeps repeating, we see that they are held to little, if any.