Police Racism: Fact or inner city demagoguery.

Essay by LarryUniversity, Master's May 2003

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Does police racism exist or is there something else at work hitherto unacknowledged by those who are affected the most, the black citizens of crime ridden inner cities?

In April of 2001, a riot broke out in the black neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio. The spark was the shooting by a white police officer, Stephen Roach, of an unarmed 19-year-old black male, Timothy Thompson, who was wanted on 14 warrants for traffic offenses and fleeing the police. After a chase through back allies on the night of April 7th, the youth was cornered by the white officer. When the young man reached to his waistband, the officer, thinking that a weapon was being drawn, drew and fired. The young man was killed and the officer was charged. The riot lasted three days, ending with numerous injuries and untold damage to business and property.

During the 80s through the mid 90s, Over-the-Rhine was so overrun with crime and drugs that the rallying cry was "More Police, Better Response Time, Stop the Slaughter!" There seemed to be a genuine concern from the black leadership that not enough was being done for the neighborhood to prevent the black-on-black crime, albeit concern tainted with accusations of white racism, " Give us the same response time the white neighborhoods get, the same protection!" Jessie Jackson even got into the act.

During a televised interview while running for the '88 presidential nomination, the Reverend Jackson was making a political plea for the stop to black-on-black crime. He stated, "If I were walking down a dark street and I heard footsteps behind me, I'd be more fearful if those foot steps were of a young black male than those of a young white one." The coming years would prove this to be a very profound...