Another horrific murder of a Black man at the hands of police, this time in Memphis, resonates back to places like Ferguson, Minneapolis and Aurora.
The cruel and inexplicable torture of Tyre Nichols by five officers of the Memphis Police Department reveals how onerous it will be for Aurora to root out its own tenacious police malfeasance and corruption.
Memphis, like so many police departments, had been scrutinized and criticized for systemic abuse of power and mistreatment of people, especially people of color.
Despite Memphis Police successfully building a police force boasting a Black police chief, and about as many Black as white officers, the department has continued to use abusive force on Blacks far more frequently than white people arrested, according to Memphis police statistics.
Boosting diversity alone on a police force is not the answer. The five officers who beat, tortured and murdered Nichols were themselves Black.
The ghastly murder highlights what experts and critics have tried to draw attention to for decades: a systemic police culture of brutality and impunity that has infected police and sheriff departments across the country, including Aurora.
Just months ago, an Aurora police officer pistol whipped a young Black man he confronted because, homeless, the man may have been trespassing on an apartment common area. With police body-cam video cameras rolling, the officer cruelly and viciously beat the young man with his police pistol, as his police partner stood by.
In the infamous case in the death of Elijah McClain, fellow officers also stood by and watched as McClain was first alarmed by an aggressive police officer who accosted him for no valid reason and then wrestled and choked him into submission and eventually unconsciousness.
Black and white people are afraid of police, and many times instinctually fight for their lives out of that fear, which police then chalk up to “resisting,” rationalizing lethal force for “resisting.”
Valid de-escalation training addresses this.
Not only did fellow Aurora officers stand by and watch in the McClain death, former canine officer Matt Green taunted the petrified and dying McClain as officers piled on top of him, and Green lobbed threats of having his police canine “dog bite” him.
Just last week, news leaked out that Aurora police have agreed to rehire Green and place him on patrol.
Police officials have unthinkingly brushed it off as standard police procedure.
The cruel, vapid move has sent panic and anger across the region. Imagine the fear of nearly every Black person in Aurora who encounters an Aurora police officer, afraid for their lives it may be Officer Green or any other of the Aurora cops who receive slaps on the hands or even promotions for a wide range of gaffes, misbehavior and outright crimes that would be career-ending acts in just about any profession, except for the police profession.
Just over a year ago, Aurora wasn’t just given the chance to clean up the department and enact meaningful reform based on accountability and transparency, it was ordered to do so by state officials and the courts.
Given the seemingly endless unnerving developments revealed about APD since a state court consent decree was unveiled, residents here are at the mercy of a city council complicit with anti-reform police unions officials and members. City management is unable to hold the line against those city lawmakers, and it’s Aurora residents, especially residents of color who must pay the price.
Those officers in Aurora whose professional, compassionate and difficult work is besmirched by bullies in the police force must stand up and speak out against a department and culture that is the antithesis of policing: to serve, protect and uphold the law.
Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo cannot credibly tout progress and some kind of newfound benevolence while ignoring the real-time news that officers face criminal charges for assaulting disabled women, are rehired after being rightfully castigated for abusing people, “unfired” despite violating police probation policies against arrests and alcohol violations, promoting officers who pass out drunk in their police cars and dismissing warranted sanctions against dubious police commanders and promoting them instead.
If the upcoming city council election does not rectify the continuing chaos that has enveloped the Aurora Police Department, residents here can only hope either the state or federal government will intervene and bring reform, accountability, transparency and an end to this debacle before other innocents are maimed, tortured or killed.
Memphis has made clear what Aurora makes obvious, the culture of police departments like Aurora cannot be easily changed or dismissed with meaningless promises and happy talk.
Only righteous change, training, transparency, honesty and accountability will right this pernicious wrong.
It’s indisputable that some police fall far short of the expectations of a public servant. In those cases, all of society should be outraged. Part of the problem is training, as you said. Part of it is recruitment and selection. Part of it is culture. The current consent decree currently governing the police addresses the first two, so let’s talk about culture.
Dave Perry, in your typically biased tirade, you pointed a finger at everyone EXCEPT the culture of aggression that infects the population of young black children. Strong young men raised in fatherless or parent-unavailable households. Who measure themselves by their macho, and who don’t know what being a man really is. (Why do you think “youth violence disruptor” boxing programs are popular, a sport where the game is to hit a person so hard, they are concussed?) Their role models are gang bangers, local drug dealers, street hustlers, and scammers.
And then there are the young women who disrespect others, themselves, and their own bodies. They grow up thinking aggression — both physical and verbal — is the sign of a “strong, black woman.” I imagine you will call this “victim blaming” but it’s not. Because they are more than victims, they are offenders.
And they too often grow up to be adults who offend. And this is the world that police live in. Sometimes completely compliant, innocent people get caught up in the storm. The justice system, and the world, are not perfect. And the media will certainly highlight that. But nearly all police interactions are peaceful.
I am all for better de-escalation training and high expectations for officers. But we have to call it like it is: a pathological subset of the black culture sullies an entire population of people who look like them.
So, actions beget reactions. Physician, heal thyself.
you think you are an expert on Black culture/family, but you are just spewing stereotypes and nonsense.
Dispute any of it that you consider stereotypical. I’ll gladly substantiate it with facts. About the percentages of young black children raised by single parents. About their inordinately high violent crime. About their lack of compliance. Any of it.
If you’re raised by a single parent, you will become a criminal? Blacks are aggressive by nature? Wow, I thought the pseudo-science of eugenics was discredited in the ’30s, except when Hitler continued it to justify mass murder. Blaze, get help.
Wow, Gene, try thinking critically.
If you are left unsupervised in your formative years, lacking positive role models and modeled by thugs, the deck is stacked against you. I never said anything about “aggressive by nature” nor implied any of the sort. That you took that away says a lot more about your racism than mine.
I’m talking about nurture.
How about looking into past performance ratings of cops that are cited for problems? Are there
cops that were given acceptable, good, or even exemplary performance ratings, that had problems.
But way more importantly, what actions were taken when this was known? Or were these problems ignored? And then just possibly were these folks reinstated or promoted?
How about looking at that Dave? All you have to do is look at past disciplinary decisions to get that answer. Instead you sit on your lazy ass and comment on the decisions made.
And enough about the BS about more training. If you need training in being able to do your job and treating all with dignity and respect, then you should not be a cop. I support our police to the nnth degree. But I want bad cops banished forever. They hurt all of us and especially those great officers that have to suffer the fallout and do their job everyday.
Blaze, an “expert” on “black culture”. Personally, I don’t know any black people and could care less what their “culture” is. (Sounds like a BS sound bite from some pathetic phony news outlet) The boys and girls in blue are in for a surprise. Look to the boneheads that attacked the capital. There may have been a few black people there, but the majority were the police officers traditional buddy, moronic white guys. Did their “culture” lead them to a life of crime? Didn’t the trailer park provide enough enrichment or connection with our valued traditional values of respect and fair play? Didn’t their daddies love them? Blaze could get a job writing copy for an idiot in the House of Representatives that likes to get their mug on tv. Next, we’ll get some info on school systems that want to work on children’s gender confusion or trans guys at the public library.
I sense a clear pattern. A city struggles financially and as a result starts cutting corners and getting creative, dulling police discipline over time.
This was clearly the case in Ferguson where the DOJ found that city managers pushed the cops hard to write more citations as a strategy to fund city operations.
I suspect Memphis has similar financial troubles.
Here in Aurora there was clearly a financial aspect to some of the most contentious events involving police discipline— from not arresting and terminating an officer found drunk at the wheel to not having humane prisoner transport. The philosophy of “we make do” is now colliding with the AG”s consent decree.
Has anyone done a fiscal analysis of what compliance with the consent decree is really going to cost? To include all the costs incurred each time an officer is rightfully terminated for cause and his or her replacement is recruited and trained? I suspect not. It’s just easier to ignore and say “we make do.” And the cycle continues.
One root cause is inadequate City revenue due to a chronically depressed retail, dining and entertainment economy. The city depends primarily on sales tax for everything and few come to Aurora for fun or to dine. That’s NOT an issue within APD and falls squarely on City Council. Unfortunately this Mayor and Council have their heads stuck in the sand.
I see only emotional outbursts from Dave Perry and some of the comments here. How one can talk about honesty while throwing out exaggerations is beyond me. I guess one thing Perry says is true. After his constant exaggerations, black people will be terrified.
With 700,000 police officers on the street and a culture where it is considered fine to run and fight the police, there will be more examples like this fiasco in Memphis. The police, on the whole, do not condone what was done to George Floyd or to Tyre. To compare what was done to Elijah McClain is absurd. The officers were called about a suspicious person. They tried to stop Elijah so they could talk and he did not stop. A struggle ensued and Elijah exhibited great strength (not uncommon under stress). According to one officer, Elijah also reached for an officer’s gun in the struggle. The carotid control was applied (within policy and training) and the officers called for rescue to check Elijah even before he was handcuffed. The neck restraint has saved more lives than it has taken. I personally rendered a guy with knife unconscious rather than shooting him. There was no evil intent. After he was handcuffed, the officers placed Elijah on his side so he could breathe and not aspirate vomit if he did vomit. All within training and policy. There was never any reason for an officer to intervene. The fact that one canine officer made stupid and improper statements says very little other than a comment about his commonsense and judgment.
If you want to use the officer beating the suspect with his gun as an example, you have to ask a few pertinent questions. If a suspect was trying to take your gun, would you not hit him with it? It is in your hand and you have little else you can do. Would you not grab him by the throat to keep him at arms length and away from the gun he is trying to take? If you knew that statistics show that if he gets your gun, he is going to use it against you, wouldn’t you do anything to keep him from getting your gun? Use of force has to be judged by informed people, not the mob.
Blaze is talking about facts that exist. All of you who want to just fit everything into your cop hating narrative have to pretend those facts don’t exist. The black activists always say they want an honest conversation on race. For the activist black clergy, they have to ignore the facts about black culture. They have failed in their attempts to establish moral behavior in young blacks. The mass lootings are not being done by groups of whites. There is a reason the greatest cause of death for young black males is other young black males. A great many of the mass shootings around the country are young black males shooting at each other in a crowd. The media will never say that. They only comment on the people involved in mass shootings and their race when it fits the narrative. The danger to black males is other black males, due to the macho culture that has developed.The police are not killing all of the black rappers. The police will continue to fight with young black males who run and fight. If that is taboo, then forget any kind of enforcement. We can let the suspicious pedophile outside the school go. We can not stop the DUI driver out of fear that he will resist. We can forget all traffic laws because someone will resist when we find they have a warrant. Either accept that force is needed in a society of laws or accept that no laws will be enforced.
Now, one thing is true, it takes years to build a professional culture in a police department. As use of force instructors, my friends and I tried to develop an expectation of the type of force that was acceptable. It did not involve punching or kicking anyone, except where absolutely necessary. The carotid control (chokehold to you) had strict guidelines to be used when you have a violently resisting suspect with a danger to yourself or others and where lesser means had been tried or were inadequate. It takes years of proper, adequate, consistent, and regular training to get a police force to a professional level. Therein lies the problem. All it takes to destroy a proper police culture is one chief who puts his tough talking buddy in charge of the academy, and it is all thrown out the window. Picture that every five years, a police department gets a new smooth talking politician chief with different ideas and no real knowledge. Picture too, that the chief is used to playing favorites without regard for the public welfare. Picture too, that the chief got away with excessive force during his career when his chief just winked at it. Again, that old playing favorites. Police training is totally inadequate and often improper. It relies upon the direction of chiefs who know nothing about use of force training and often have ridiculous ideas.
Police departments are mostly run by political smooth talking chiefs that get you and the city government to like them. City leaders like “yes men” with spotless records. The “yes men/women” generally did not learn the basics of the job and have no real ideas on fighting crime. They got to the top by keeping their mouths shut and currying favor. So, you are getting the least knowledgeable and weakest leaders. They never said anything when excessive force was used around them and they never stood up when things were wrong in the department. You should be looking for people who did stand up and tried to do the right thing. That means they angered the chief and hurt their own careers.
I expect that we will continue to have problems in law enforcement. The culture where no one is accountable for their actions and it is okay to fight the police will continue to feed itself. Articles like Dave Perry’s will continue to fan the flames of misinformation and hate. We will continue to pick politician chiefs who simply tell you what you want to hear while showing no strong leadership to their officers. Real consistent training will not occur under these political chiefs. Congress will continue to make noises like they are doing something. The implied immunity that you hear so much about is another example of a half truth. Implied immunity is not some automatic protection for the police. It is decided by the courts on a case by case basis. It is only allowed in about one third of the cases.
The officers in Memphis are being charged with murder. They were way out of line. There is no need for new laws. Colorado legislators already came up with poorly worded guidelines in the police reform bill. They have already driven thousands of officers out of the job. Bodycams are a positive step in the right direction. Most of the rest of the police reform bill make it dangerous to pursue a career in law enforcement. The mob mentality and popular narrative has seeped into the prosecutors and the courts. The Supreme Court came up with guidelines for the police long ago. The use of force should be judged from the viewpoint of a “reasonable” officer at the scene, not from 20/20 hindsight. No reasonable officer can defend what happened in Memphis.
Lastly, I will say that my point about police leadership is exemplified by the fact that no Colorado chiefs or sheriffs are standing up and talking about the flaws in the police reform bill. Imagine if you were an an officer and knew that your bosses lack the integrity to stand up for what is right. Of course, if they are honest and resist current attempts to push the flawed narratives that are prevalent, Dave Perry will simply label them as being resistant to change and progress.
One very simple question I have for you, as you are a former cop. Do you think it would have been a good idea for one of the other cops to go talk to the 7-11 clerk, employees, or witnesses to ask was there a person in here with a mask and did he threaten, harass, or in anyway try to harm anyone?
Remember, Elijah was not running or threatening anyone. The patrol car could have still been following him while others were getting statements from7-11. Just asking. And it seems they could have stopped him anytime, if there was corroboration of a problem. I believe the on scene cops called for back up right? Elijah reaching for the cop’s gun? Give me a break. You seem to keep bringing up Elijah McClain. Here’s the deal I wasn’t there and neither were you. So, your speculation is as good or as faulty as mine, despite your long and illustrious career.
Given time there is almost always a better way to do things. Yes, it would have been better to have observed Elijah for a time to decide if he was really suspicious and there was good reason to stop him. However, if Elijah had simply stopped when the officer tried to get him to stop, the situation would not have escalated.
I have watched the video many times. You can hear the concerns expressed by the officers during the struggle. You can see that they have taken action based upon their training. I have been there so many times that I understand many of the dynamics and the training that the public doesn’t understand. I keep bringing up Elijah because Dave Perry keeps making wild claims about how he was treated. I cannot let exaggerations like that a go unchallenged while he uses it to pump up the narrative. Elijah’s death was a tragedy, without doubt. It doesn’t mean it was criminal.
I would say Don continues to dig himself a hole as the saying goes, but as he has never done any real work in his life, I think that would be a stretch.
I am beginning to wonder if you are accusing others of your own work ethic.
As usual, you would be incorrect.
To say a retired policeman has never done any real work in his life seems to me to be a major insult to all police, a show of your lack of understanding of America and Aurora and should be a self plea for mental assistance. I’d advise you change your fake name.
Advise from a phony conservative like yourself should always be ignored. My comment is a fact. Not an insult.
That would be “advice” you simpleton.
Thanks! I went to Aurora Public School and “graduated”. Spell check is my friend.
I’m not sure if that’s an excuse or a boast. I’m equally unclear whether you graduated or not. Finally, that period belongs inside the closing quotation mark. The more you know.
Thanks for the tip. I was supplied with a diploma. Very surprised since I rarely
showed up. That was 51 years ago and perhaps they still move the annoying or simply stupid students from one grade level to the next. It isn’t likely things have improved.
Don, Please take this as constructive criticism:
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address ran only 270 words and changed the world.
LOL, Mr. Brown, please reread your screeds.
Sorry, I realize that my rants are wordy. It is only out of a desire to give people some understanding of things that the police are not allowed to talk about. In today’s environment, lies are allowed to be propagated while the police have no chance to put some truth to things. I am tired of the one sided attack on all police.
One other point on the pistol whipping. Perry keeps saying that he was just a poor homeless man who was pistol whipped because he was possibly trespassing. He was instead a person wanted on a felony warrant (strangulation) as were his two friends who ran away. The three were involved in drug use on the property. The person who got pistol whipped resisted arrest and then tried to take the officer’s gun before he was hit. Let us come a little close to facts, Perry.
Are you justifying a pistol whipping? We all saw the video.