Why Minorities Don’t Trust The Cops

I don’t know what happened with Michael Brown’s shooting. There are dueling narratives, now complicated further by a possible audio recording of the shooting. But as this blog has documented, and as been documented more thoroughly by other media outlets, there is legit reason to question the law enforcement narrative. Minorities have legit reasons to distrust law enforcement. Which brings me to the story of police officer Matthew Pappert:

A police officer just 15 miles away from the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Mo. allegedly said he thinks the protesters should have been “put down like rabid dogs.”

Officer Matthew Pappert is a police officer with the Glendale Police Department. He has been an officer since 2008. Pappert received the 2009 City of Glendale Community Service Award and the 2013 Kirkwood American Legion Post and Kirkwood Optimist Club Public Safety Award.

Let me emphasize this: a police officer, decorated for his public service, views citizens as “rabid dogs” that should be “put down.” And he frets “the job of law enforcement” will be made “harder” due to whatever repercussions transpire from this situation.

By “harder” does Officer Pappert means law enforcement won’t be able to use the flimsy excuse of “resisting arrest” in order to physically assault citizens? Or does he mean cops can’t conduct searches simply because an error-prone drug dog allegedly “alerts” to the presence of drugs? Or does he mean cops would now be required to record their encounters with the public? Or all of the above?

Such measures goes against the “tough on crime” narrative that gets politicians elected and gets DAs high-profile convictions, so don’t expect reform without a fight. But if policies like these are implemented, then GOOD. It’s long overdue.

Even if policies are implemented, what about the mindset? I don’t for a single moment believe Officer Pappert’s views are isolated, and I don’t believe those sentiments are expressed only in online forums. They carry over into the workplace and influence how cops with Officer Pappert’s point-of-view deal with the public. That’s why all the policy reforms will be irrelevant if they aren’t accompanied by accountability. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

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