Jamala Rogers

Since the Ferguson Uprising in response to the murder of Mike Brown, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been exposed from the inside and out. The exposes have affirmed for some citizens, and bolstered beliefs in others, that the department is racist, incompetent and corrupt and undeserving of public trust.

There have been a couple of areas that used to have people wondering. Now we understand, thanks to the investigative work of the Plain View Project, which looked at the department’s social media rants against black folks, women, Muslims and the LGBTQ community.

For example, let’s look at a persistent complaint by many in the black community related to what often happens when they call police. The police come very late or not at all.

Said one Facebook post by one of St. Louis’ finest: “They said  F***k the police,’ so I said ‘F**k your 911 call. I’ll get to your dying home boy when I finish my coffee.” Should I add—and donuts?

Because a few people expressed their First Amendment rights, must a whole community be penalized by retaliatory refusal by police to respond to calls? The cops who had their hateful tirades revealed hid behind that very amendment when it came to justifying why they should not be fired.

Most urban police departments are having difficult recruiting and retaining officers of color. St. Louis is no exception. This should come as no surprise that the profession has been stained by its own wicked behavior and practices towards the racially, culturally and gender-bending diverse communities it is paid to serve and protect.

That behavior is not just reserved for us in the ‘hood. It’s also directed at fellow cops who aren’t white, straight and heterosexual.

Sgt. Heather Taylor is the president of the St. Louis Ethical Society of Police. She’s outspoken and a fierce advocate of the black officers she represents.

The Plain View Project highlighted another troubling post. Some of Taylor’s fellow officers were in solidarity with the sick hope that she “bleeds out on a call.” So much for back up from your brethren.

And then there’s Milton Green, an African-American officer shot by a white fellow cop when Green tried to save some blue lives in a 2015 shoot-out in front of his house. Even when told Green was an off-duty officer, he was still shot and now is permanently disabled.

The shoddy treatment Green and his family received from the police department is appalling. Two years later, the City of St. Louis has not provided Green with his pension, forcing him to file a lawsuit.

We should clearly understand why a potential recruit would not choose this kind of employer and this hostile work environment. This is not a profession where black and brown people are beating down doors to sign up.

What the Plain View Project uncovered is not new. These incidents and statements are rampant inside our police department. They explain the brutal and often lethal interaction between the departments and the communities they occupy. They explain why communities are looking for alternatives to the current policing methods.

It’s all in plain view. Now we understand.

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