Life preservation should be the first intention of any police officer on any scene, particularly patrolling neighborhoods.
It should be inside the police officer’s training to first deescalate situations, and certainly not exacerbate them. One officer carries more than enough “human-killing” equipment and needs to be trained thoroughly on how not to use them along with the operational skills they learn.
As we’ve learned throughout our training for different jobs and careers, people will meet the expectation you set. Coming to a scene fully cloaked in armor with deadly tools (even when they are necessary tools for the job) leaves expecting the officer may have to do some harm in order to get the “job” accomplished.
With this intimidating appearance, there must be softness on. If we are to understand the fear that the Stand Your Ground Law has used to allow the killing of Black males in their normal dress and beingness, then surely we can understand the intimidation one could feel when a uniformed law enforcer with a preconceived notion of wrong doing is addressing you. I’m not saying you should kill an officer because you experience fear of them. Only that ridiculous law would state something so detrimental to our humanity. Let us remember, it’s ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that we can thank for that.
Let’s get logical about something in the Black community. There are no positions within our communities that we can’t fill. Our accountability is lacking in the face of our anger. There is a large amount of young African Diaspora in America choosing not to go to college. They are often made to feel less for this decision as they walk in the world and take up jobs to fulfill their duties as young men and women in our society. These are often the young men walking to the store at anytime of the day or night. These are the men riding busses well into the night, moving back and forth from jobs where they are treated like high-class slaves. I hear their conversations on the bus about how their “boss got them **** up.”
When you don’t feel you’re a benefit to your community, it does something to you. When you don’t feel valued, it does something to you. Perhaps if this group of Diaspora decided to join the police forces in their communities, we would see a change in the way police interact with the humans they “serve.” This isn’t about trying to infiltrate a sect either. It’s about building our communities the way we want them.
There are many young people I know that want to do something beneficial but can’t exactly find their fit in the community. This is one way. No department should pull officers from other communities to police local ones. When you know the humans you are policing, the interactions are more respectable and predictable.
Human, this is what we share and this is where we should start with our interactions with each other. The police officer’s job is literally to look at the stereotypes and use them to gain an idea of what could occur in a situation. Meaning if you are Black, in a rough area and happen to like hoodies, no matter your intentions , education level, accomplishments, goals or dedication to humanity; they are trained to look at you like at least a problem and at best a trouble maker.
What does one do when they are met with this vibration before first acknowledgement? “Get your a** on the sidewalk!” as in the case with Mike Brown, is not a proper way for a human to address another human. We put the burden on the civilian to submit to the ideals of the officer in uniform in order to show respect and survive the situation? The difference between the police officer and the civilian is not that the officer is correct in their behavior but that the officer is the one who is trained…but what is the officer trained to do? Has he/she been trained in how to be human? Have they been trained in meditation so they know how to center themselves in tense situations? Have they been encouraged to use their intuition alongside the preconceived notions they are taught? Are they taught the intricacies of human life and development so that when they pull that gun to shoot it, they are well aware of what they are taking away? Are they taught to go to the heart first for information or are they just taught to shoot their victims there?
As the older folks say, “Times are changing.” In order to keep up with these times we must use what we have and know to be true throughout religions, cultures and history. Love works. No longer can we settle for the way things were. We must elevate our thinking to align with our own accountability. Who are we waiting on for justice? Who are we asking for freedom? Blame we can, yet nothing is accomplished with it. They know. Whoever is to blame, they know what they did and they know what they are doing.
So the energy is ripe now to make the necessary changes within ourselves so that we are no longer predictable and can no longer be manipulated. No more can we hand over our “saving” to someone other than ourselves. If laws need to be changed, we should be driving that change. If positions need to be filled, we should be filling those positions. It is in us to protect and serve each other.
Nothing’s wrong with making a living wage and wearing a uniform while it’s being done. It’s respected to go to the military for similar reasons only it’s bedazzled with foreign threat. That sense of real accomplishment can be had at the end of the day when it’s been spent helping and protecting one’s own community. Literally, we can choose to be the change in this situation.
The time is now.
Kukata Kali is an Urban Shaman and Vibration Specialist in St. Louis.