It’s time to clean house in the Ferguson Police Department.
Cops should be turning in their guns and badges and clearing out today. They don’t respect black people – and they don’t respect the judicial process.
While a grand jury in St. Louis gathers evidence in the Michael Brown case, the deep racial divide between black residents and white police could not be more apparent: The U.S. Justice Department has recently ordered Ferguson Police officers to stop wearing “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets in vigorous support of the white officer who shot and killed Brown, an unarmed black teenager.
“These bracelets reinforce the very ‘us versus them’ mentality that many residents of Ferguson believe exists,” Christy Lopez, deputy chief of the special litigation section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote in a letter to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson last week.
It’s already a tense time in Ferguson. Black residents are anxiously waiting for the grand jury to make a decision about Wilson and they openly question why prosecutors initially said a decision was expected in October, but then extended the grand jury’s work until January, but now they say the deadline is back to the original timeline of October.
So what’s going on?
Here are the facts: Chief Jackson agreed to bar his officers from wearing the bracelets while in uniform and on duty. Ferguson police and the Justice Department have been investigating the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown. A grand jury is deliberating about whether to charge Wilson. Ferguson is a predominantly African American city but there are only three black police officers on the 53-person force.
And here’s the truth: Black folks have a right to be skeptical. White police officers in Ferguson have decided to rally around their fellow cop who shot Brown which completely decimates the credibility between white police and the black community while police, who took an oath to protect and serve, are patrolling the streets.
So who exactly are these cops protecting and serving? And when did it become acceptable – and legal – for police officers to form a support group for one of their own during an active shooting death investigation and a grand jury inquiry?
Chief Jackson should be reprimanded – or fired — to allowing it. He only took action against his officers because the Justice Department forced his hand. And that’s why Jackson’s long-delayed apology to the Brown family seems hollow and phony.
And here’s another very disturbing racially-charged development on Jackson’s watch: Lopez also urged Jackson to ensure that his officers wear their name tags in keeping with department policy. Black residents noticed that Ferguson police officers were patrolling without name tags — or with their names covered by black tape.
Really? It smacks of a criminal conspiracy in the making.
“Allowing officers to remain anonymous when they interact with the public contributes to mistrust and undermines accountability,” Lopez wrote to Jackson. “The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”
It also says to me that these police officers in Ferguson have absolutely no respect for the people they serve and they are showing complete disdain for the entire black community. For police officers to cover their name tags with black tape is tantamount to wearing a white hood: They can do their worst to black residents and not be identified.
That’s not law enforcement – it’s unapologetic vigilantly behavior and it should be illegal.
These cops are guilty of insubordination and they have no business on the Ferguson police force. If they don’t want residents to know who they are, then they should get out of law enforcement immediately.
And it’s not too late for Police Chief Tom Jackson to do the right thing: He should place his name plate, gun, and badge on his desk, offer his letter of resignation, and follow the other racially-misguided cops out of the building.
What do you think?