I have seen great police do great things and without them we would have serious serious problems in society. However, for every 10 good encounters I have had with police I had a few bad ones. We must reform but we must do so in a way that respects and supports our brave law enforcement while ensuring that we are drawing in minorities (hopefully soon to never worry about a person's race and religion in justice) in the future. We want to be a civilized, enlightened and fully developed society and that means making improvement where it is most helpful.
I can give you at least 4 encounters where I was asked about my religion and my perceived threat to society because of that name. Thus, I suspect I am one of those who have something to say about it. These were ignorant officers but they don't represent all officers. It didn't matter that I served my country, it didn't matter I was educated, it didn't matter that I was a full blooded American that did more for their country than many of them can even imagine or hope to rise to that standard. Yes...it was disgusting but it doesn't represent everyone!
We NEED police and we NEED them to reform. I have good memories of positive encounters with police. At the same time, I know of an officer who engaged in coordinated bullying and way overstepped his legal bounds that included restricting my right as a first responder to help a victim who was dying in a car. That poor girl slipped into a coma and that officer is still out working without much consequence. That officer asked if I had a gun, looks like he launched inappropriate investigations and supported criminal behavior based on his personal beliefs and the need to please his social connections.
So..its a mixed bag for me. Most of my interactions have been positive and at least one likely criminal (Depending on how you define the technicalities of law and whether or not people are willing to call criminal acts criminal). Yet I'm white and a esoteric Muslim and Catholic (Esoteric in the sense that I believe all religions lead to greater awareness of our world) My kids are Muslim Black and they were put in intentional harms way and their right to live without being bullied discounted and stepped on. Something they would have never done to their own kids.While the people who engaged in these behaviors were not held accountable from what I can tell I don't believe it was solely the fault of all the police. It was the fault of bad apples and a system that politicians were too afraid to ask for reform until it became popular to do so.
I firefight and I served my country many times over. I have served my country in real ways that have put me at personal risk and have been fighting for racial and religious rights most of my life. We are not talking about supporting a social movement to further a political career (Where were these people before?). I was in the mix when I was one of the only swimmers pulling against the swift current of discrimination. Trust me, its a lonely world following a moral compass. It wasn't popular for me...it was a call deep within to do what I felt was right but the rest of society shunned.
So...when someone calls the police a "cancer" I'm hurt that we haven't done more for soooo sooo long to reform our Justice System waaay waaaay before the video came out that broke the camels back of Millennial patience. Its hard to have a system where we ignored needed reforms and then when it becomes popular we blame all the police with one broad brushstroke. We can be compassionate and expect and demand reform in a wise way that leads to a better society and better policing.
So I am a defender of Black rights (and any other ethnic background) Religious Rights (Any religion), and Good Officers (Those that do what is right). I am also staunchly opposed to bad apples and a system that doesn't have enough feedback loops to correct itself. Lets throw out the bad apples and reform...its been time for decades. Let's also open the door to good officers, promote them, and encourage more inclusion behaviors in our policing community. We must move forward and make changes that will have the widest impact on our nation.
Can you love police, people of all backgrounds and still support reform that removes bad actors? I guess that depends on who you ask. I can point to great officers that we can trust and with my other hand I can point to officers that acted inappropriately and never had the personality to be officers in the first place. I can forgive and forget if people come to understand the error of their ways and try and follow a new more enlightened path. That would require deep self-reflection and a willingness to listen to what is right.
I guess I'm just at an age and place in my life that worrying about people's opinion or the consequences of doing what is right no longer seems like its important. If we don't have people willing to become the voice of reason then we are doomed as a society to repeat the same mistakes over and over. We can choose to be stronger or we can choose to silence truth and change. I may not be right about much but my heart and mind is open to new possibilities for national growth.