Brutality isn’t the only police problem

00-haroldalfordCitizens of the United States have had enough with incompetence by local police forces.

‘Incompetence’ is a kind word for racism and, above all, corruption.

I don’t believe one person doubts that there is an immediate problem, as we see time and time again on live news footage of the hatred being turned against our police forces.

The most unfortunate part is that not all policemen are racist or corrupt. However, the entire legions of our officers, keepers of safety, are taking the blame – and sometimes the bullets.

Major problem
A few years ago, PressTV did an assessment of the problem: “Police corruption is a major problem in the United States, where some police officers turn bad to make money from drug deals, or career advancement, while many more try to cover up their own acts of brutality, murder and torture.

Such is the case in the city of New Orleans…(where) five former police officers were sentenced to prison for the shooting of six unarmed civilians – two of whom died – in the days after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, (and) about 20 officers staged a cover-up.”

The trial was later overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct – yes, the prosecutors were corrupt, too.

“An attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department called it the most significant police misconduct since Rodney King, a Black man, was beaten by the Los Angeles police in the early 1990s,” Press TV stated. “And the corruption spreads across the nation, happening in big and small cities from police officers of all races. Many critics say there needs to be more transparency in law enforcement, while no police departments would comment on this story. U.S. police officers go by the motto ‘to serve and to protect,’ but where corruption exists, the widespread existence of a ‘blue code of silence’ among the police can prevent the corruption from coming to light.”

One of the most corrupt police departments is the Chicago PD (CPD). This city was home to Joseph Miedzianowski, who has been labeled by many as one of the most corrupt policemen in history.

Cop and kingpin
This guy was both a police officer and a drug kingpin. He was in charge of the Chicago gang unit. At the same time, he ran his own drug gang that would shake down rival gangs based on his knowledge through CPD. He did this for 22 years before justice caught up with him in 2001.

John Burge was another member of CPD. He oversaw the torture of hundreds of Black men resulting in false confessions between 1971-1992. He would get a thrill from burning innocent victims with radiators and cigarettes and shocking their testicles with electricity.

I had personal experiences with CPD in the late 1960s. I was attending the University of Wisconsin, playing Big 10 football and felt invincible. We would spend weekends in “Chi-town” with some of my buddies who grew up there. There were two incidents that stand out.

The first was a survey we were taking for one of the local politicians. They wanted the surveys done in the infamous Robert Taylor Projects. We feared nothing and pursued the task. As we were walking from one project to the other, some of Chicago’s ‘finest’ stopped us. They took our surveys and told us that they had to be approved by the precinct captain. I replied, “Where are we – in Moscow?”

My friends begged me to be quiet, as these guys were capable of anything. We stood there for 30 minutes until they returned and said, “The chief said it is OK. Go ahead and proceed.” I was terribly stunned as an American who was supposed to be enjoying liberty.

Gun while gardening
The next experience is even more sobering. I visited my first cousin, a Chicago policeman.  I saw “Bobby” (not his real name) working in his garden with a gun on his hip. I asked him why the gun while gardening. He said that his fellow officers had put out a “contract’ on him.

“Why?” I asked. He said that while his boss was on vacation, he collected the routine bribe money from local businesses. The boss returned and claimed he stole some of it. So the hit went out.

They hired some Blackstone Rangers (street gang) to take him out. He got the drop on them and shot and killed all three of them in self-defense. He got out of this mess by retiring and returning home down South.

He was one of the lucky ones. This is typical life of a big-city policeman.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®.

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