To Protect and Serve

Kevin Lagarde

Imagine you receive a phone call from the police of your local town early morning around five am. They inform you that your 17-year-old child of color has been arrested and put in a holding cell awaiting your pickup. You rush to the police station only to discover an atrocity. Your child is badly beaten, abused, and broken. This is a true story of a girl named Yunek Moore.
Moore suffered physical damage from police officers that is compared to football players after years of being tackled. Not only was she physically damaged but also mentally. She gained a form of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the trauma and is terrified of the police and their unknown objectives.

Put yourself in her shoes. You are at a friend’s party and all of a sudden three officers bust into the house. They flash bright lights in your eyes. Confused and uncertain of who is blinding you, they ask for your identification. Before you can get any clarification you are pulled out of your chair and detained with unnecessary force as if you were to not resist. They drag you across the lawn to the police car and throw you in. The fear and pain are the only things in your mind.

You would think I’m crazy for saying she’s in a way lucky to experience her police brutality compared to others. But it’s true. Some colored people who have altercations with the police don’t live to see the results. They are killed in cold blood, usually shot in cold blood or beaten to death because of officers who need to show their superiority and abuse their power. This dates back to Rodney King who was beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers when he was already detained. This is the first of many police brutality on blacks caught on film. There are even videos of police shooting and killing black people for unnecessary reasons.

Another victim of a teenager my age was Laquan McDonald. He was shot and killed by Chicago police. This caused a city-wide protest of the police force because they are abusing their power and it’s just not fair. The list goes on and on of victims of color and their experiences.

The scary part about this is that anyone of these victims could be me. I am a person of color and there have been experiences in my life where the police have made me feel threatened just because of how I look and who I’m around. If I’m driving my car and I get pulled over the officer could kill me and I wouldn’t even know what hit me. It happened time and time again to those who didn’t deserve it. There is video footage of police having a black man detained and on the ground and still putting several bullets in him.

Thankfully, I live in L.A., where the brutalities and the killings aren’t as bad as they are in other states like Chicago. There’s data that shows Chicago Police are 14 times more likely to use force on Blacks than any other race. This statistic comes from the Chicago Police Department’s invisible institute analysis. Out of the 32% of black people in Chicago, 72% of them have been victims of use force. This is way higher than any other race in Chicago and even seven times higher than the white percentage of used force. This is just in one state. Now multiply all of those times each state and their number of cases and you can see how much of an impact it has on the black community. This explains why black communities typically hate the police and are terrified of them.

However, some could say that the victims of these different instances may have been resisting arrest or threatened the police which led to the consequence. Every situation is different for each person. I believe in some of the cases, black people may have been causing a problem, and the police were doing their job. But where is the line drawn? Police have certain customs and procedures of course, but if these black kids are being killed something isn’t right about them.

The first step is to try to subdue or detain without killing. Countless times caught on video and police reports show shots fired without any steps beforehand. Also, once an individual is detained, continuous beating and or unnecessary force is unjust. This also has led to the death of black individuals. A man was once apprehended but was still beaten, punched, and kicked which led to his death.

This treatment towards the African American community needs to end. Police are supposed to protect and serve. African Americans have so many challenges faced in front of them just for being black and the police are one of the main challengers. This unjust treatment has gone on for years ever since slavery ended. We need to rise as a community and address and stop this problem. Many people have before like the black panthers and such, but I am calling out to you to do something. Raise awareness of this cause. I don’t want to ever have to question again about my life ending when I get pulled over by the police, but I would rather stand for something than die for nothing.