The tensions between law enforcement and people of color are definitely going to be present in 2015. Just because a new year has arisen and resolutions fill the air does not mean that society has fixed itself. The relationship between people of color and police brutality seems to be an issue that rises and sets like the sun. The the families of the victims, both citizens and police officers, will carry these tensions for the rest of their lives.
According to reports, there were fourteen major police brutality cases that gained national attention in 2014. Of those fourteen cases, only one police officer was indicted for the alleged murder of an unarmed man of color. Three of those case found the officers not guilty of murder of the unarmed black males. The remaining nine of those cases are still pending in the process of investigation. All fourteen of these black males were unarmed and were all killed by law enforcement.
The case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, was one specifically that led people of color to say that they have had enough. Brown was 18 years old when offer Darren Wilson, age 28, shot and killed Brown. Wilson was one of the three cases where the officer was not charged in the killing.
The citizens of Ferguson began marching, protesting, and some even looted the streets full of anger and sadness. Some people of color felt this ruling was unjust and that Wilson walks free because he is a white male, and because he is a man of law, that the law had his back.
On December 23rd I had an opportunity to sit with a few officers from the Sacramento Police Department. My view on law enforcement was completely altered due to the fact that I had forgot that law enforcement officer are people. Officers have lives, families, and friends just as I do. But, the part that bewildered me, they as officers are still community members as well.
Not all police officers are white either. Law enforcement has active officers everyday that include people of color. In 2014, 118 officers died while active in the line of duty. Officers that were killed by suspects. They too leave behind friends and families.
There are good cops and there bad cops. Guilty suspects exist just as the innocent do. No one is for certain who is who, but lives are being lost and both law enforcement and citizens are on the uprise in America. Consequently, tensions live on.