When I was about 6 years old, my parents took me to La Curacao. There was a beautiful pregnant lady selling hotdogs and the aroma made my mouth water. My parents bribed me into behaving by promising to buy me one when we were done. I was on my best behavior and anxiously ran out of the store as soon as they paid. What I was greeted with instead was a scene that still makes my blood boil. Two of LA’s supposed finest tossing all the food into the street, kicking dents into the cart, and harassing this helpless woman trying to make an honest living. My father had to physically restrain me because instinctually I lunged at the police officers. It was my first conscious interaction with an officer of the law, and it was offensive on so many levels.
When I say “fuck the police,” it is not some trendy song from the 80s to me. It’s a true sentiment provoked and completely inspired by the Los Angeles Police Department, LA’s supposed finest.
My father struggled to reason with me, he didn’t excuse the officers, but he did try to explain that one, they were “not all like that,” and two, that they were just “doing their job.” But that didn’t cut it—at six years old I was eerily aware of the injustice before my eyes. At six years old I knew hunger. We lived in poverty and one thing was clear: food was not to be wasted. How were they doing their job? Wasn’t littering a crime too? Who were they protecting? Who were they serving?
I have had more run-ins with the cops than I care to share, but one thing is clear: when officers vow “To Protect and To Serve,” it is not me that they have in mind. For decades I have seen them run rampant drunk with power in impoverished communities, terrorizing the citizens, fueling race wars, and killing opportunistically. I live in South Central LA, an impoverished neighborhood inhabited mostly by people of color, black and brown folks to be specific. A few years ago, there was an abnormally high amount of burglaries, even for the hood. In talking with both our black and brown neighbors we discovered that the brown neighbors were being told that the robberies were committed by black folks trying to drive them out, and our black neighbors were being told that the robberies were committed by brown folks trying to drive them out—all without a shred of evidence.
In recent years with the help of social media, the world has started to get a glimpse of the cruelty these uniformed gangsters operate under. People of color are killed without regard or reason, and this legal mob continues to get away with it all. Consider that for every video, for every tear worthy unjust murder exposed, there’s countless more that happen in the absence of a lens. So, when I say “Fuck The Police,” yes I mean the good ones too, yes I mean your family member that is a cop, yes I mean every single one of them and their role in perpetuating a system that condones the oppression and killing of people of color without consequence.
A corrupt system built upon racism and oppression has no room for revision; it must be dismantled immediately. Simply because the KKK no longer openly lynches black people, it is not any less racist. In the same way, simply because Police Departments across the nation no longer call themselves Runaway Slave Patrol, do they rid themselves of the tradition of racism. The system is flawed beyond repair, and it is imperative that we stop referencing the law as our moral compass.