A Few “Bad Apples…”

If I hear that phrase uttered one more time, I will not need a haircut after three months of a stay-at-home order, I will pull out what hair I have left myself. Bad Apples are what you find in inner-city fresh produce deserts. Bad Apples are used to make cider. Bad Apples, when I was a kid, were the apples your grandmother cut the bad part away and fed you what was left as a snack. We have gone past Bad Apples spoiling the barrel, black and brown communities are living in ripening orchards of police sponsored murder and needless brutality.

Whenever these conversations are debated someone says, ‘but there are some good cops.’ The general public is willing to concede there are good cops but “good cops” seem unwilling to help us, or themselves.  They refuse to display their goodness and weed out the bad cops. Some even turn a blind eye to murder.

Sandra Bland moved to Texas in 2015 to take what had been described by her family as her dream job at Prairie View A&M University, and pursue an advanced degree. She was stopped for an illegal lane change by officer Brian Encinia, she challenged the officer. Her defiance, especially coming from a black person and a woman infuriated officer Encinia. This escalation led to her arrest, in lieu of a ticket, and three days later this bright, beautiful, energetic woman died in police custody of an asserted suicide. Mr. Encinia was charged with perjury for lying about his reasons for stopping and arresting Ms. Bland. The charges were eventually dropped in concert with Encinia agreeing to leave law enforcement, permanently. Not one officer at the station could attest to her treatment, death, or complicity of anyone charged with her safety, the orchard continues its ripening.

I could fill pages of text with the unwarranted and unpunished deaths of black and brown men and women at the hands of police, and the best eyewitnesses are usually the good cops who develop poor eyesight or amnesia. It is not surprising that this happens when signals from the top tell them a good cop is quiet and blinded by the sheen of his or her badge. “When you see thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in; rough. I said, ‘please don’t be too nice,’ President Trump told an assembled group of uniformed officers, in 2017. Even sadder than his statements were the numbers of nodding and giggling officers behind him. The President essentially gave them permission to make the arrest and then become judge, juror, and executioner.  

Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Oklahoma police using excerpts from a Harvard study said on a conservative radio program, “all of their research says we’re shooting African Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed.” Left out of Mr. Yates’ equation is that pesky presumption of innocence built into American law. Shoot first, we will sort out their guilt or innocence later is the implication. Couple that with Trump adviser Larry Kudlow blanketly denying the obvious existence of systemic racism,  “I don’t believe there is systemic racism in the U.S.,” Kudlow said. The orchard is smelling rancid.

Ohio Republican State Senator and physician Steve Huffman suggested that people of color are causing their own problems with COVID-19 by not washing as well. “My point is, I understand African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic conditions and it makes them more susceptible to death from COVID. But why it doesn't make them more susceptible to just get COVID? Could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups or wear a mask or do not socially distance themselves? That could be the explanation of the higher incidence?” said Huffman.  If you plant seeds in bad soil, water with contaminants, the orchard yield will rot at its’ core.  



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