The recent killing of Jerame Reid indicates exactly why the gulf in this country about police brutality is so massive, and what people simply fail to get about the issue.
Before Days shot Reid, Days was repeatedly swearing. “Show me your hands, show me your fucking hands! Don’t move, don’t fucking move!”
Police apologists have come out defending Days, saying that Reid’s attempt to get out of the car (which he announced that he was doing with his hands up to lie face down) could have been a prelude to grabbing the gun. Except Days had his partner present.
In any instance, I am reminded of a great old episode of CSI, where Grissom points out that everyone was identifying with the perpetrators (a mob that had killed a man) instead of with the victim.
Imagine being Reid. You’ve been pulled over for running a red light. You reach for the glove compartment. An officer then begins to swear at you and pull out a gun, saying there’s a gun in the glove compartment. You repeatedly tell the officer that you’re not reaching for a gun. You’re scared, you want this to be over.
Now, whether or not there was a gun, whether or not Reid was a criminal, is all immaterial. Reid had done time and there probably was a gun. (None of the reporting I am seeing confirms one way or the other).
But what cause did the officer have to swear repeatedly? To act aggressive?
Officers are professionals. It’s the job of a customer service representative to give you your product or service with a smile. It’s the job of officers to serve the public.
When we forget that, we take another step towards losing our most cherished civil liberties.