Police Strike Again: Sandra Bland

I am no longer surprised when issues such as these come to light. It’ a sad thing, considering nobody should be so desensitized to the death of human. but society has shown us again and again just how little they care for black lives. In this instance, I speak of Sandra Bland, a 28 year old graduate of Prairie View A&M who had recently accepted a job there. According to the news, Sandra was pulled over for improper signalling and was found three days later in her jail cell hanging with the use of a trash bag.

How does someone go into jail for a traffic stop and kill themselves the Monday right before she was going to call her family and soon leave the jail? It makes no sense, but, of course that is what is being accepted by the media and the masses.

There was this book I read at the beginning of the summer by a former cop by the name of Lt. Scott Silverini, PhD called Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad. In his book, he discusses the secrets of the police force that people aren’t as willing to accept. He Says that turning into a cop provides you with a Cop Code, and your way of thinking turns to an us versus them concept. He states that “the process of occupational socialization and segregation as ushering officers into a state of ‘becoming blue,’ or the enculturation of expectant behavior and and actions. The process of becoming blue is defined as becoming informally indoctrinated into the fraternity of law enforcement’s restricted-access society separating idealistic SOG (specialized operations group) operations enmeshed in  destructive cycle of sub-cultural self-allegiance.” In more simple terms, joining the cop force brings you into the frat-like environment of cops that obliges you to allegiance to the force. Which explains why we most likely will not get much cooperation from police forces in this country,

The hanging of African Americans and other people of color was a practice what we see as racism-white supremacy today. In his book, Lt. Silverini also says that “the earliest police forces understood their primary responsibilities were to use the physical violence necessary to stop rioters or worker rebellions.” Rioters and workers then and today were most often lower- or working-class people of color who had gotten tired of the oppression they faced at the hand of whiteness. This has not gone away today, despite protests from ignorant people that it has.

The reason they pulled over Sandra Bland was a reason I know that I and many others have done before as well. “Improper Signalling.” In the case of Sandra Bland, this was partially the reason for her death. She and many other people of color have been charged with this benign offense at the hand of the corrupt police force. These officers know what they are doing, and are rather open at the targeting of people to make their quotas. Silverini also says “the most common issues of illicit police behavior [occur] during traffic stops for minor violations. This unsupervised police action allows the most freedom to exercise discretion and results in numerous allegations by motorists that officers abused their authority.” These unsupervised actions have allowed in the past for the corruption of the police force to take place in the form of accepting bribes, sex, and other things. In this racist-white supremacist world, it also allows for these cops, often white, to exert their power over people of color.

The police will most likely hide the truth of what happened to Sandra Bland from the media, as is the norm from the police. Silverini discusses in detail the codes and lines that protect the police force as a whole, which allows them to continue this system of corruption. “The code of silence not only protects cohorts and prevents researchers from gaining an outside perspective, but also shields the abnormal behavior each officer may choose to engage in without ever worrying about questions from the officer.” This cop code, it hides the truth, blankets it with a sort of Greek mythology-like Mist, that keeps the mass calm and docile. The use of phones and recording, which Sandra discussed publicly before her death, takes some of that Mist away and gives us a clearer form of the truth.

Sandra Bland died like many others before her, in police custody, and the country has given their approval for the death of black and brown bodies over before. As a community, we know that none of us are safe, and we need to be aware and take care of each other, as this could just as easily have been someone you know. The media may already be attempting to vilify Sandra Bland, but we must take it upon ourselves to look for ourselves, and stop taking the police for their word.

Rest in Power, Sandra Bland

-JW

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