Op Ed by Shanique Byrd
As the community mourns the death of Daniel Prude, many questions still remain. Questions like, will the police officers involved be charged? Or will they simply get fired and go on with their lives? As calls for defunding the police grows dimmer, my questions to my readers would be, are you woke WOKE or half sleep and woke? Those questions may seem strange, but is it any stranger than white folks calling to defund the police?
The black community is facing its biggest challenge yet, and that is holding police accountable for their actions. We have been vocal for decades regarding the mistreatment of the black community by police. Now, we have concrete evidence in the form of body cam footage. But, instead of calling for stiffer punishment for police officers who betray their civic duties, white people (and some blacks) in their suburban homes, decided it was time to “defund the police”. What gives them the right to advocate for something that doesn’t directly affect them? I’m not saying white people aren’t affected by police brutality, I’m just saying it doesn’t impact their community like it does the black community. Plus, people (black or white) with money aren’t facing the same challenges as people who live within these problematic areas.
Which brings me to my next thought, could this all be a much more sinister act? Could the goal be to remove police in hopes of blacks killing themselves? Or maybe the idea that “blacks complain too much”, so let’s see how well they do without police? I understand that many are calling for reallocation, not abolishment. But, either way we are seeing the consequences already. Police across the country have been delaying response times within communities of color, some police departments are losing command staff and other police officers are retiring. The blowback is clear retaliation by police as we see an increase in shootings throughout the country.
We are watching in horror, day after day unarmed black men and women being executed by police. We should be demanding that these types of crimes be considered capital offenses. Not, some slap on the wrist by taking money away. That action alone proves defund the police is a “white” agenda. If black police officers were killing white people, they would advocate for longer prison sentences, just like they do drug crimes.
We don’t have to be a scholar to have the ability to read between the lines. Just think, the government forces us to pay taxes every day. So, we’ve learned how to work with what we are allowed to keep.
Bodycam footage and civilian cellphone videos hasn’t stopped these “bad boys” from their dirty ways. Do you think less money will? They will continue to employ the same types of people to do less work than they were doing before, if we don’t enforce tougher penalties for police officers who abuse their authority.
Promoting tougher sentences, would send the fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins of the white people advocating to defund, to a cell “fit” for a “thug”. Of course they aren’t “thugs” they just made a mistake. Do I have to keep reminding you that this game is chess not checkers?
Shanique Byrd is the founder of Tocsin Magazine, a social justice publication & trusted media source. The author of the children’s book, “The Salad Bowl,” the Rochester native is an alumni of Monroe Community College and a dedicated advocate for prison reform. Over the last 10 years, Ms. Byrd has interviewed countless entertainers, politicians, and business professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys responding to letters, emails, and phone calls from men and women currently serving time behind bars. Get more information about her at tocsinmag.com
(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)