Permission to protest?


For some reason, the privileged class clings to the belief that their approval pr permission is necessary for those being oppressed to protest. It is not necessary, and it never has been. Gandhi never asked Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s permission to protest the oppressive British occupation of India; Mandela never asked Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s permission to protest apartheid; and Dr. King never asked Bull Connor’s permission to protest Jim Crow laws. No one needs permission to fight for their human rights or equal treatment under the law. That is why the city of New York’s “request” to postpone police brutality protests while the city lays to rest and mourns the senseless murders of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos is so offensive. These officers lived their lives to serve and protect the citizens of New York City by upholding the laws of our nation, so what better way to honor their lives than to march against the rogue officers who dishonor the badge these men wore with pride.

Instead of offering a seat at the table of dialogue and negotiation, which could lead to substantive change, it seems as if exploiting the murders of officers Liu and Ramos as a way to disparage the protesters and their leaders is the goal of some NYPD supporters.When these morally blind, self-appointed supporters of the NYPD blame Al Sharpton and the Black community for creating an anti-police atmosphere, it is evidence to the depths of which those who desire to maintain the status quo will stoop. heir actions and rhetoric are akin to those members of the White Citizen’s Councils of the 1960s who were hell-bent on protecting the Southern way of life against those Black outside agitators. Well, history is very clear that those so-called Black outside agitators were the Americans with the correct moral compass and history will say the same about the men and women protesting police brutality.

The videotaped beating of Rodney King should have been a clarion call for police departments throughout America to rid themselves of abusive, overzealous and negligent policing, but in the eyes of many citizens, especially Black citizens, that did not happen. Abner Louima happened. Amadou Diallo happened. Timothy Thomas happened. Sean Bell happened. Eric Garner happened. The blood, pain and suffering of these men, these Black men, are viewed as a chapter in a centuries’ old narrative of police brutality against Black males. These protesters are determined to write a new chapter for future generations, but for that to occur they need help.

Are the acts of police brutality isolated incidents or are they indicative of a cowboy police culture that needs to be reined in? The only people who can answer that question seem to be quite adamant in their refusal to sit down for such a discussion. It seems as if the police departments are completely determined to take an adversarial position with anyone who dares to say or do anything but offer 100 percent unwavering support for all police officers and their actions of police officers.This mentality will only add fuel to the fire. It now falls upon the shoulders of the honorable men and women of all police departments to insist that these dialogues and negotiations take place. No protester is trying to oust good police officers or make their job more difficult. The criminals who are hiding behind a police badge are the ones that the protestors and all Americans want purged from police departments. Those criminals with badges are the ones who should be on the receiving end of your wrath not the protesters. Because as long as these criminals with badges are members of your police force, all police officers are tarnished.

Samuel E. Adams is a freelance writer and educator living in Chicago.

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