Talking Good Cops and Bad Cops

Rapper David Banner and former Orange, New Jersey mayor Eldrige Hawkins, Jr. debate on police responsibility and the reality of good and bad cops. 

ESSENCE.COM Apr, 30, 2015
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[MUSIC] Welcome back to Essence Debates Now. Often, art imitates life and joining me on the discussion of the ongoing tension between the police force and the citizens they serve are former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Jr. and rapper David A banner who is on Skype. Mayor Eldridge, I want to get your thoughts and opinions on the scene that you just saw from Scandal. Well, I, I think that, that scene is, indicative of how some law enforcement officers feel about the resentment that they get from the communities in which they serve Sometimes you might have select individuals that are doing the wrong thing. But, I think in large part most of law enforcement is doing the right thing yet the community tends to paint all of law enforcement with a, with a, with a ugly brush if you will and lashing out at them when the overwhelming majority of them are doing the right thing. So I think that speaks to some of that resentment of, of getting pushback from the same people who are trying to help and serve. And what do you recommend the community do? Do you think there's a different way that we should interact or engage what our officers [INAUDIBLE]? Well, actually I think from the administrative side, having been mayor, one of the things we worked on was engaging the community through, specifically community policing block watch groups, interacting with them so that the officers knew the kids on the streets- Mm-hm. So that perhaps that personal relationship Might allow them an opportunity to diffuse the situation rather than escalating, the up the force or the, the level of force they could utilize. So that's, that's one way, but I think that also we have to realize that people when they're in the street they have to follow the instructions of the officers. So many times we see situations spiral out of control because the individual that is dealing with the police officer feels they're being wronged. Okay, it's not for me to say right now whether they are being wronged or they're not. But on that street they need to follow the orders of the officer. If the officer is doing something wrong then after that. Mm-hm. They can go to internal affairs, they can file litigation, but again too often we see incidents in the street where that, that resistance, that failure to comply Causes some things to spiral out of control>>Now I have to flip that question back what about police going to communicate with those communities?>>Well I think that there's a role for that too, there has to be in-house training, and again building those relationships, working with community leaders. Whether that's ministers, whether that's parents, TAs, getting police as much as possible in a non-confrontational setting to interact with the people of that community. And also having a force that is, in many ways, reflective of the community it's serving. Diversity is key. If you have a blended community, you should have a blended police force. Thank you. And we'll also have David Banner, who is now joining us on Skype. Mr. Banner, thank you so much for s, for joining us today. What are your thoughts on the, clip that we just watched as well as, Elderly's response? Well I didn't see the clip but I heard the clip. Okay. This is what I'll say. The problem is this: it's, everybody's making excuses for cops, nobody's making a cop be a cop. That is your job. Our, our tax money is going to that. It's like In the situation in Baltimore, everybody is trying to find reasons why the cops are right. You are under a oath, you are under a oath to do the right thing. And, and it, it just amazes me how people tell black, especially black men, always stay in line, stay in line. The truth is Is before I was a rapper, I remember how the cops acted. And I heard this comment about all cops are not wrong. I admit that. But one thing that my neighbor, who was a cop, said, he said something I'll never forget. Ever cop knows who the bad cops are. So you know the people who are in the force who are doing the wrong thing who have a long history of not being fair to black men and women and children, because just a year ago, I tweeted for ten hours straight Situations where cops had hurt or killed black men women or children for 10 hours straight. So you have these so called good cops who know who the bad cops are. Just like this situation in Baltimore. They know who these cops were are. So why are these cops not brought to justice if you such a good cop. If you really care about innocent lives, that shouldn't matter whether a black person killed a black person, whether a white person killed a white a black person or whether it was a cop. It's justice and it should not be blind. So, I think what we should start doing. Start recognizing those people who are being paid To up, up, to uphold the law. And, and, and we always try to, to, to draw a parallel between what blacks are doing to blacks. If, if, if, if I slap you in your face right now, and tell you, well, your brother slapped you, so it, so it should be okay. It shouldn't really matter. See, what, what, what, what the problem is, is most of these public officials don't wanna deal with their dirty laundry. This has been a problem all the time. And I'm very proud of these children. I'm very proud of these children who are in St. Louis, and who are in Baltimore, who are doing the jobs that our parents were supposed to do. We were doing this in the 60s. We are still fighting the same problems our parents were fighting in the 60s. And if we really did our job the right way these kids wouldn't have to be out here on these streets. [UNKNOWN] would like the opportunity to respond onto David's comment>>Absolutely he raises some key issues and and believe me I understand where he's coming from because long before I was a cop, I was black. Im still black, so I understand what that feels like, the uncomfortableness Of being pulled over. What, what, that, those emotions are. But I also understand what it feels like to be a police officer in uniform. Mm-hm. Have to make snap decisions in an instant. Wondering whether or not if it doesn't go right, how that's gonna pan out in the news and the media. When your well intentioned in trying to do the right thing. Welcome back to Essence Debates Now.