LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department
Updated: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Police union takes on councilwoman over column


It has been some time since I've read a correspondence from an elected official that casts such a generalization and stereotype on a group of people in our community. Worse yet, the recent opinion piece by Louisville Metro Council member Attica Scott categorizes this group as licensed killers who should be distrusted and treated with malice.

The group Councilwoman Scott is referring to, of course, is police officers. Just because a person is unarmed does not necessary mean that person is not a threat to a police officer or citizen or that the use of deadly force against that person isn't justified. If you will remember, Vincent Stopher was "unarmed" before he murdered Deputy Gregory Hans. I challenge the councilwoman to produce statistics that show the number of times anyone (black, white, young or old) has been pulled over "for no reason" in Louisville and unjustifiably shot and killed by a police officer.

It is sad that there are people like Councilwoman Scott who have an irrational fear of police officers and who pass this fear on to their young, impressionable children. I saw nothing in her letter pointing to all the times she or her family members have been stopped by a police officer "for no reason" and subsequently brutalized, jailed or killed. These documented instances surely would have served to back up her assertions that police officers in Louisville are nothing more than licensed killers seeking out and executing our black citizenry.

Instead she prefers to vaguely spew hatred toward the men and women that honorably serve this community every day. That is disgusting. I'm trying to be respectful but respect is not earned by publicly making ignorant and malicious accusations such as "We are tired of paying you to kill our children" or "Police officers have always had a license to kill unarmed black teens." What insulting, untrue and vile things for Councilwoman Scott to say. Does she not realize that her teenage son has a much, much higher chance of being killed by another black youth than he does of being killed by a Louisville Metro Police officer or any other law enforcement officer?

The councilwoman needs to have "the talk," no doubt. But she needs to have it with the politicians, community organizers and others in Louisville and around the nation who thrive off of racial divide. What may come as a surprise to some readers, until they really think about it, is that black citizens and police officers have more in common than you might think. We are both often not thought of as individuals but instead are grouped together as "the police" or "the black community."

When a police officer is accused of misconduct every man or woman with a badge becomes a villain. When one black person commits a crime suddenly being black equals being a criminal. These stereotypes are placed on us by some in the community (like Councilwoman Scott) but not, by and large, by each other. I don't know any police officer that thinks all blacks are bad people who should be unjustifiably scrutinized, brutalized or killed by police officers. Until I read Ms. Scott's letter I didn't personally know any black person who thinks all police officers are bad people with a license to kill black youth at will.

In fact, I found just the opposite when I patrolled Beecher Terrace for six years. Yes, we are part of a larger group identified by our job or our skin color, but association with a larger group doesn't take away the fact that we are all individual human beings. It is much easier to dehumanize us though, and to use us as pawns.

If politicians can play police officers and black citizens against each other, then sides must be drawn. Politicians can them pander to one "side" or the other to garner the almighty vote. That is the real truth of the matter. Councilwoman Scott's anti-law enforcement fear mongering, race baiting and hate-filled rhetoric is duly noted. I applaud the voters in District 1 who had the common sense to realize that she doesn't deserve to represent them.