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Police: Who Protects Us From You?
Published:
4/16/2015 3:25:41 PM


Kurt Walker
 
By Kurt Walker


In June of 1989 hip-hop artist KRS-One released the album titled “Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop” that would be certified gold by September of the same year. One of the notable tracks featured on the album was titled “Who Protects Us from You?” depicting the deplorable mistreatment of citizens, by the police and law enforcement agencies by whom they were sworn to protect and serve.

Other artists of this era of hip-hop music such as Public Enemy, NWA, and several others would address the tactics of law enforcement and its often questionable ill regard and treatment of young men and women of color all across the country. But as the decades has passed, it seems as those title tracks are now more pertinent than ever to a new generation of youth who identify with movements such as Black Lives Matter.

On the early morning hours of February 28th of this year, I too, received some of the harshness and brash treatment of an officer of the City of Charleston Police Department. While walking along King Street with a friend, we began to engage a small group as they were attempting to pass us on the sidewalk as they were walking at a faster pace.

It was friendly and cordial conversation, as we were complimenting each other on our attire.

One of the young men had a very distinctive patterned leather jacket that caught my attention. However an officer who was observing us from a distance, misread the situation. As the group of us passed, we made eye contact and then he uttered,”you outta stop harassing people”. I was shocked and began to respond and then kept walking at the urging of my friend. As I processed the encounter as I was waiting in the restaurant, one of the young men, the one with the leather jacket entered and said, “ I can’t believe what I just witnessed”.

I though about returning to the scene but then realized that I had been to a bar, had a few drinks and didn’t want to give the officer the upper-hand by retaliating with any hint of alcohol on my breath. So after discussing it several days later among friends and associates I contemplating my course of action. Should I file a report or write about it as I am doing now or just let it go?

One of the individuals I spoke with was City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, who mentioned that he would discuss the matter with Chief Mullin of the city’s police department and it was a few days later that he told me that the Chief wanted me to discuss the matter with the Deputy Chief of the department. We discusses several options on how to handle the complaint and I opted with the one that would have him address the entire unit that patrolled the King Street entertainment district than singling out the officer in question.

From my perspective, more could be gained if all were made aware of the improper assumption made on the day in question that could have easily escalated had I not chose to fight the battle on another day. And I thought of all of the other young African-American men who don’t have access to the network that I enjoy or are often profiled by their garments who may be deemed questionable, but fall subject to the discretion and motives of officers who chose to profile them because of their urban attire, and I was targeted while wearing a two-piece suit, neck-tie and three-quarter length coat.

Fast forward to the events that led to the tragic demise of Walter L. Scott. I found myself front and center with his brother Anthony as I was a part of a small delegation of brothers of the local chapter of our fraternal organization, Omega Psi Phi, who went to meet with him to express our condolences and offer prayer and support to our brother as he mourned the loss of his brother by birth. As we all processed the events on that tragic day and those that would follow, the accidental shooting of an Oklahoma man as he was apprehended in the most despicable manner as he, like Eric Garner of New York, struggled to breath and was met with, “F*** your breath!” as officers pinned him to the asphalt. He would die shortly later.

The great strategic general Sun-Zhu stated in one of his military axioms that one must offer his opponent in battle a graceful exit in defeat. It seems as if we all could stand to reflect on the code of conduct on both sides of the issue when we reflect on the lines from the song that started this, “You were put here to protect us, but who protects us from you?” And the young man who had the leather jacket left me with the profound statement when he said, “I finally know what you guys go through”.

So as you re-read this, I will let you figure who was what, and let you come to your own conclusion.
 

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: George O'ficial Davis II Submitted: 4/19/2015
GREAT ARTICLE BROTHER KURT!!!!!!!


Submitted By: Andre Gaddy Submitted: 4/21/2015
Great article Gamecock.


Submitted By: Tracy Dixon Submitted: 4/22/2015
So glad you made the decision to share your thoughts in this way...there is power in your wirtten words!


 
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