Rogue officers part of a larger system

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Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


I am not sure there really is a “national debate over whether the violence carried out on people of color by police is the result of systemic racism or rogue officers.”

Either way, though, we are left with the fact that a disproportionate number of these crimes — not only the highly-visible assaults and murders that happen to get caught on video — are perpetrated against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.

Yes, it is clear that there are “rotten apples” in the police (and many other occupations — although most of those people are not given the authority and weapons to do so much harm). The presence of these rotten apples in no way eliminates the problem of deep systemic problems.

Why do police departments and police unions and many police officers defend the rotten apples and make sure they are not prosecuted or even disciplined for their criminal acts? By doing this, aren’t they all violating their oath of office and making a mockery of the term “law enforcement” officer?

What I see is rogue officers that are part of a larger system (not just the police) in which racism, white patriarchy, and the use of violence are embedded and normalized. Even people who aren’t racist & people opposed to violence are caught up in the system and may not see it for what it is.

P.S. — We don’t really know the reasons, but I suspect that all the ERT officers in Buffalo resigned from the squad because they were outraged that 2 officers were suspended and charged for their criminal acts.


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