It has been about two and a half years since the death of Eric Gardner. I will never forget the gruesome footage of the police ganging up on Gardner, and eventually putting him into an illegal chokehold to ensure that the public is safe from those who sell untaxed cigarettes. To say that police relations among the black community have been shaky is an understatement as everyday the tension increases.
The purpose of law enforcement is supposed to be to serve and protect. Many are starting to see through this veil, and recognize the extensive history of police brutality. The NYPD in particular has an infamous history of police brutality, and it is because of this that everyone should be wary when dealing with police. When discussing the police I am not targeting specific individuals, but the institution as a whole. The institution of policing has been used to target minorities since its establishment. The police were to protect private property, and before the end of the civil war black slaves were private property. Slaves did not have free will, were property, and the police ensured that the private property remained in the hands of its owner.
The current war on drugs has started a new era of mass incarceration, specifically targeting black and Latino communities. From planting crack into black neighborhoods and making its sentencing 100x heavier than cocaine (used predominately by white wealthier people), to giving drug related crimes life in prison. There is the counter argument that police officers are saving their life when killing unarmed civilians. That was not an issue when Dylan Roof killed 9 churchgoers at a historically black church. The cops apprehended him without harming him, and subsequently bought him Burger King. Blacks and Latinos are automatically criminalized, and it is time that us New Yorkers bring attention to this and demand change.