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My Father’s a Police Officer, I’m in Prison: Let’s Talk Law Enforcement

The following is a guest post from Deshawn Gall, a prisoner at United States Penitentiary Tucson.

For twenty-five years my father Theotis Porter, who recently passed away, was a Cleveland Heights Police Officer. After his twenty-five years of service he retired due to health complications. As a child I witnessed him in action. I even have memories of riding through the streets of Cleveland in his cruiser that he kept parked out front of the house. The older I became, the more I grew infatuated with law enforcement. I felt my father was a hero, some sort of superhero who rescued the citizens of Cleveland and dedicated his life to keep the streets safe.

As a police officer, what does it mean to serve and protect?

My father would say he woke up every morning to do a service for the people of his community and to keep them safe and to defend them. He told me that everyday he went to work there was a good chance he would not make it home because the streets are dangerous. But serving and protecting his community is what he signed up for. His decisions had consequences, and he was willing to die in the line of duty because police work is a dirty job. Somebody has to clean the streets up.

The tragedies in Dallas, Тексас, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were heinous, senseless and downright cruel. These recent events made me think: would my father have been a target? I ask this question because he was African-American. Would he have been shot in cold blood because of his job title or the color of his skin? Се прашувам. Or would he have been spared because his pigmentation differed from the police officers involved in the long list of deaths of African-Americans in cold blood? Се прашувам.

When we look at the killings of African-Americans by law enforcement and vice versa, we must first realize that there are two sides to the problem. Nobody is completely innocent. We can go back and forth and debate who did what and why, but this ultimately does not bring closure to this ever-growing issue.

Мајкл Браун, Ерик Гарнер, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Philando Кастилја, Alton Стерлинг, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, и многу други, died by the hands of officers whose job is to serve and protect. Да, black lives matter.

The mass killing that involved decorated police officers in Dallas, Тексас, and the killing of police officers in baton Rouge, Louisiana, were completely unnecessary. And when we take a closer look at the problem, all lives matter.

What has begun to unfold is cause and effect. African-American males are being killed at an alarming rate and because of the judicial system there seems to be no repercussions for the police officers who kill in cold blood.

Nobody deserves to have their life stripped from them, especially by those whose job it is to serve and protect. The question now is how to do we fix this? For starters both parties – whether Asian, Puerto Rican, Мексиканскиот, Кавкаски, машки или женски – must take responsibility for their actions, no matter how big or small their role. No matter what ethnicity you are, when you get pulled over or when the police are called and they arrive, remember that police officers have a duty to uphold and protocol to abide by. To give the officer a hard time or make gestures that may appear threatening to an officer, can and will escalate the encounter.

Things can easily go from bad to worst in a matter of seconds.

Law enforcement must also take a clear look at their actions. All encounters with civilians are different. Law enforcement must understand that just as much as their life may be in danger, the life of a civilian is also at stake. Law enforcement’s actions alone can determine the fate of the people they are sworn to serve and protect. Not everyone is out to hurt law enforcement. Law enforcement’s decisions have dire consequences. На крајот на денот, police officers signed up to be police officers. Maybe not all of it, but a decent portion of it.

Let’s address the elephant in the room- расизмот. Many people say racism is alive and well. I believe it never went anywhere. I also think that the real issue has absolutely nothing to do with race. I think it is deeper than the pigment of one’s skin. Racism is a learned behavior that with time and the right vision can be ameliorated. Let me be completely honest, color has nothing to do with police murdering African-American men or the attacks on police.

The issue is simple: African-Americans are witnessing, at times, completely innocent African-Americans being killed, either on television or social media. More and more, police officers are murdering “црна” мажи, and in our eyes these same police officers face no charges. And if they do, the charges are minimal. Just watching these injustices are enough to open a can of worms. And what happens next? You turn on CNN or MSNBC or your local news and there’s yet another and another and another police officer killing someone. People are angry. “Црнците” are angry. What can you tell them? It will be okay. It’s not as bad as it looks. He did this and that’s why the cops shot him, or he reached and that’s why he was killed. The answer becomes who cares what they did. they did not deserve to die like that.

In the murders of Eric Garner and Alton Sterling it is said they had frequent encounters with law enforcement and were well-known by police. Sounds like racial profiling. This alone and these tragedies led to a tipping point to the start of an epidemic. Cameron Sterling said it best, “Let’s protest and do it peacefully.” But we’ve done that and still the same result. We have to change the message and its sender. Reach out to the African-American rappers, actors, athletes, radio hosts, and comedians and let’s fix this.

Доста е.

Law enforcement has to fully consider and digest the monstrosity of the issues we face in our communities and their responsibilities in that context. The shoot-to-kill mentality is absurd and outrageously wrong. Police procedures and training have to be dramatically revised. Where it starts, it ends- with the ones who swore to serve and protect.

The utterly odious and wicked murders of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge must not go further than where it has. African Americans have to find it in their souls to breed peace and tranquility within urban communities that are angered with the broken justice system. The vicious uncalled for retaliation on police is not the answer to the problem.

What kind of world do we live in where we are all not equal and some lives are valued more than others?

What did the civil right pioneers fight for if what they built is easily destroyed? What happened to unity? What did Rosa Parks sit for? Why did Martin Luther King Jr. fight for desegregation? These civil rights leaders were sick and tired of discrimination, inequity and the injustices faced by African Americans on a daily basis. We cannot tarnish the gold standard they fought tooth and nail for.

Change the message and its sender.

How do we accomplish this feat? By enlisting the youth and the proper entertainers and celebrities to produce a mass overflow of emissaries to deliver the message and change the culture.

Law enforcement and innocent civilians, no matter of race, have to come together and aid one another.

A police officer has to look at the man and woman with a child in the backseat of their car and see that man, woman and child as their son, ќерка, niece, nephew, or grandchild. Think first, with compassion. All situations are different. А “црна” man has to look at the officer who is doing his or her job to the best of their ability as his brother, сестра, чичко, aunt, татко, мајка, or relative.

We all must understand law enforcement’s duty to serve and protect.

Law enforcement must act ethically, within proper protocol, and uphold a professional code of conduct. All law enforcement officers are not the same. There are bad apples who swore to serve and protect for the wrong reasons. The unfortunate issue that both sides will encounter is that you never know what is on an individual’s mind on a given day. It’s a five-star guessing game that has no winners.

We must grab hold of the problems between police and communities by the roots and rip them from the earth before they continue to spread and infect the rich soil of humanity that we cherish dearly.

Racism and racial profiling has to perish for eternity.

The world must see no color, just family. Let us love one another and look back on this time in history as a stepping stone in the right direction, rather than logging on to Facebook or Twitter and saying, what now? Who’s next?

Let us serve and protect the universe, together.

Triple R- Real Recognize Real

Sincerely D-Gall


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