Images of Black Men Called Factor In Recent NYPD Police Shooting


As reported on in Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, police shooting is the talk of New York.  In New York, “A plainclothes policeman who drew his gun while chasing someone he had found rummaging through his car was shot and killed by a fellow officer who was driving by and saw the pursuit, the police commissioner said,” as Jennifer Peltz wrote for the Associated Press. The plainclothes officer was black, the shooter white.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Sweeten of suburban Philadelphia faked a kidnapping of herself and her 9-year-old daughter, police said, then fled to Disney World in the midst of serious financial troubles. She said the kidnappers were black men.

Amid the justifiable outrage, some see further evidence of the negative image of black men at work.

One is Eric Adams, a 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department and the co-founder of 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care. He appeared on National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” on Monday.

“Here’s the point here that I think we’re missing,” he said in the discussion of the New York “friendly fire” shooting.

“The incidents like this, clock time are seconds. Clock time — when you look at the clock on the wall it happens in seconds. But mind time is a lifetime. The mind processes information not in seconds but nanoseconds or even probably smaller denominations. So when I approach someone, I’m bringing with me everything in my life, everything that I’ve been taught, all of my personal experiences. We’re not training to that, we’re training to the clock seconds and not the mind time, which is a vast number of time. And so it’s more than just the shootings that is impacting race, it is also — you sit in your radio car every day, 125th Street, which is a predominantly black area —

“All day long you’re hearing those who committed crimes, male black, male black, male Hispanic, male black, male black. By the time you get out of that car to take action on that three-second incident you have already spent the entire year, the entire day, the entire lifetime of what your opinion is of a criminal, male black. Now you see him with a gun. That gun pushes you into all that lifetime experience that you’ve taken action, not on that three seconds but your lifetime experience, and we’re not training to that.

“. . . police did not create the racial stereotypes that exist in society, but we have to police in it.”

Adams called for bringing in scholars, criminologists, sociologists and psychologists to say, “here’s the parameters that we have to police in, here’s what our police officers are taking in their thoughts.” How do we train police in that environment? And he didn’t say it, but of course we should ask what role the media play in creating that lifetime of black-male images.

In the New York Daily News, columnist Errol Louis added this:

“An onslaught of gangsta rap and other cultural garbage bolsters the bias. We pay a heavy price by letting racist imagery, words and accusations slosh around society unchecked and unchallenged. In the tense, split-second needed to separate a cop from a crook on a dark street, those myths may have cost a good man his life.”

2 thoughts on “Images of Black Men Called Factor In Recent NYPD Police Shooting”

  1. What if find to be very interesting is the fact that I have never heard of a white officer every being shot by friendly fire in NY or anywhere else. The fact that, an officer (black or white) sitting in a squad car all day hearing the words black male in regards to committing a crime is not a good enough excuse for me…. The problem is not knowing the people in the enviornment that you police…. If the officers were out of the squad cars (out from behind a desk doing paperwork, that’s work that clerks should be used for) & walking the streets like they use to do, maybe there would be less crime in the community. I would venture to guess that 80% or better of any community is composed of law abiding citizens, & would welcome this type of presents with open arms. I know that I would.

  2. The problem is crime and all types of negatives are associated with black period, black man or black woman even black child. So the bottom line is you see a black man running, you see a crime that has been committed.

    And we surely don’t help the situation condoning so much violence in our culture. I have never seen a community of people who have such a bottom feeding mentality. Rappers worshipping strippers and lifting them up as the type of woman to pursue, calling themselves pimps like its a good thing, talking about how many ho’s you slept with when we make up 70% of the new HIV cases, always talking about wetting somebody’s shirt up and buying they moma that black dress. And then when other people from other communities take that as the way we are, we get an attitude about it.

    We are still slaves. Free slaves, but slaves nontheless.

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