Staff Editorial: on combating racially motivated police brutality

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, a young man on his way home, was shot dead. This tragic incident was a result of a system that lacks checks on police, leading to abuse of power and police brutality. According to the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, in 2013, 3,814 unique reports of police misconduct were tracked in the U.S.

Racially motivated brutality especially has been historically invisible to the eyes of the public due to fear of repercussion when filing a complaint against the police. Although more than 60 unarmed civilians have been killed by the Dallas police since 2002, not one complaint has been filed, according to Mothers Against Police Brutality. And in the rare instances these crimes are reported and covered by the media, they often fade from the public mind within a week.

We see and we forget.

But not anymore. 

Racially motivated police brutality is a part of a long history of institutionalized abuse of black bodies. The prevailing perception in police culture that black lives are disposable has allowed for generations of lives to be stolen. This is not an issue that is up for debate. It is about those who are meant to ‘protect and serve’ violating the right of the people to exist freely in America.

According to the News & Record, Greensboro has recently created a new independent police review board to ensure that all allegations of police misconduct and abuse of power are properly addressed, as well as remodeled the citizens’ police review board after complaints that the board served more as a lackey for the police department.

Although this is a step in the right direction, a change in policy is not enough. We firmly believe that to achieve any great change in our community, we need to actively fight discrimination, as well as confront our own biases. When you see a black youth, do not make assumptions based on archaic stereotypes. When someone makes a harsh comment about a person of color—without knowing the person in the first place—stop them. And when an innocent person dies because of the melanin in their skin, fight for them. 

Guilford, don’t forget Ferguson.