We were shocked when we saw the brutal images of Rodney King being beaten by LAPD officers. We were even more shocked when those same officers were acquitted of any crimes in connection with that beating.
Nevertheless, that shock continues to echo across America from police brutality cases and it is time for Americans to say “enough is enough” and began to fight back to protect our communities from those being paid to protect us.
Recently in Houston, a 16-year-old robbery suspect, Chad Holley, was shown on tape being physically assaulted by members of the Houston police department despite allegedly laying on the ground and having his hands behind him and not showing any resistance to those officers.
More video footage has also surfaced in Houston from other alleged police brutality cases, including the alleged assault of 26-year-old Henry Madge. Furthermore, two Rutgers University students, Kareem Najjar and Jake Kostman, accused local police of busting into their home and abusing them while they were still asleep.
In the African American community we have always been taught to remain compliant when confronted by police officers and we should be compliant to avoid incidents like the aforementioned police brutality cases. However, there is no law in America that says we have to be silent and accept substandard treatment from those who cannot handle the power they have been given.
In Houston, many in the minority and majority communities criticize civil right activist Quanell X for being addicted to the spotlight and out for his own benefit and not the benefit of the community. Nevertheless, Quanell X along with city leaders like Rev. D.Z. Cofield, Rev. James Dixon and City Councilperson Jolanda Jones seem like the only leaders not afraid to put their neck on the line for the benefit of the community.
“There is a problem with police brutality and use of excessive force that will no longer be tolerated,” explained Cofield, who is president of the Houston chapter of the NAACP.
In low-income Houston neighborhoods like Acres Homes, residents complain that officers do not even respond to their complaints about crime, but expect those same residents to be silent when it comes to police brutality cases.
This mentality is not just germane to the city of Houston, but to all places where the voiceless are intimidated and threatened to maintain the status quo.
Throughout my short life I have encountered good and bad police officers, like I have encountered good and bad people from all other walks of life as well. However, it is unfortunate that the good cops are stereotyped because of the actions of rogue cops. Nevertheless, those good cops are partly responsible because just like citizens have to be courageous in order to stop corruption, those good officers have to be just as courageous if they are to change the negative culture in many police departments.
During the Civil Rights Movement, laws only began to change when our people began fighting back for their God-given rights. In 2011, police brutality cases will not cease until we cease being silent. And just maybe if we raise our voices in unison, those same officers that shocked us with those recent police brutality cases will be just as shocked that we are not going to take it any longer.