"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." - Benjamin Franklin
The police lie. That can be viewed as an inflammatory statement, but it's a bigger problem that it's true.
"It's because of the lack of black fathers" and "Where's the outrage over black-on-black crime?" are not the only scripts. There is also a whole set of scripts to blame the victim in every incident of police brutality.
"Why was he running?"
"You need to comply with police orders immediately!"
"The officer feared for his life."
Except we have video of Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott in the back, and then planting the weapon that he would say was stolen. We have video of how quickly Tamir Rice and John Crawford were shot, with no chance to understand and comply. And there are a lot more examples than Freddie Gray of why being taken into custody can be terrifying.
It appears to be part of a long tradition. As I was reading the screenplay for Call Northside 777, they were wrapping up the reparations hearings for torture victims of Richard Burge, former Chicago police commander. Part of that was learning about various black sites where detained people would disappear for a while, the most notorious being Homan Square.
That was a horrible story, but it stuck out because one of the key plot points in the movie was that one of the framed men was taken to multiple locations without being officially booked. At one of these locations the witness who falsely testified against him was able to see him for identification purposes. The events that movie was based on took place in Chicago in 1932.
Shortly after that I watched a documentary about the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia in 1985. There is footage of an unarmed man crawling out of the building, and police officers kicking and beating him, which they said was because he was armed and dangerous. Confronted with the lie, one of the men said that if you knew what kind of a guy this was, and responsible for the death of a really good man (though there are some ballistic details that would call that into question), you'd want to beat him too. Burge has said he can't believe the government is going to pay reparations to vermin. Well, some of the "vermin" are confessed criminals, but they only confessed because of the torture.
I hate writing this. I am thinking about various law enforcement officers that I care about, most of whom I believe to be good men, but their profession has a wide potential for corruption.
I remember discussing police work with one of them. This was a while back, but he was talking about how people see "The Shield" and think it's like that, but that was based on just one department that went bad.
I wish the Rampart scandal was the only incident of police corruption. Just recently I have been reading about Philadelphia, and Albuquerque (huge scandal that eventually went away with only the whistle-blowers punished) and Miami Gardens, and yes, in Chicago they were so skilled at torturing people that one of them went to work at Guantanamo. A Baltimore whistle-blower had to move to Florida.
Sometimes members of marginalized groups are pressured to speak out against other members of their group, like Muslims need to speak out against every act done by ISIS, even when done against other Muslims.
I guess the way you can tell that the police are not marginalized is that they do not get this pressure. They are more likely to circle the wagons in a show of support. They will gently talk down a fellow officer and then hug him while his wife bleeds to death in the car and their 7 year old daughter watches. They will make T-shirts and wristbands to show their support.
"I am Chris Humphries."
"I am Darren Wilson"
You are not thinking hard enough about the company you keep.
It is a horrible thing to not be able to trust the keepers of the public safety and peace, but that's where we are. Too many have shown themselves to be trigger-happy, especially with their romantic partners, especially with the mentally ill, especially with people of color, and especially if they're black.
We cannot automatically accept what they say about anything.