It seems that when it comes to categorizing police, it breaks down like this: a bad cop will violate your civil rights and be a dick about it, whereas a good cop will also violate your civil rights but be polite about it. Redditt Hudson, an African-American former cop for the St. Louis Police, just so happens to fall in the human being category.
In a wonderfully-written op-ed, Hudson opened up about the woeful amount of violence and racism that permeated his former police unit. Hudson, who now works for the NAACP and chairs the board of the Ethics Project (not the typical former police career objectives), touched on being a kid and hating the way cops treated him and his friends. Hudson acknowledged that not all cops “were bad” and that his father’s best friend was a cop.
Wanting to break the ugly stereotypes and actually do some good for his community, Hudson chose to be a cop in 1994. But eventually he started to witness the very same nasty discrimination he saw as a kid, as well as a lot of unnecessary violence. Fir example, Hudson speaks of one particularly unsettling incident in which an officer violently grabbed a kid on crutches out of his home, threw him against his house, and then cuffed him. This was after the kid refused to let the officer in regarding a tip the officer got on a robbery. Obviously the kid was a minor and doesn’t legally have the right to let the cop in since only the person whose name is on the house deed can.
Here’s Hudson’s letter via The Washington Post:
In 1994, I joined the St. Louis Police Department. I quickly realized how naive I’d been. I was floored by the dysfunctional culture I encountered.
I won’t say all, but many of my peers were deeply racist.
One example: A couple of officers ran a Web site called St. Louis Coptalk, where officers could post about their experience and opinions. At some point during my career, it became so full of racist rants that the site administrator temporarily shut it down. Cops routinely called anyone of color a “thug,” whether they were the victim or just a bystander.
This attitude corrodes the way policing is done.As a cop, it shouldn’t surprise you that people will curse at you, or be disappointed by your arrival. That’s part of the job. But too many times, officers saw young black and brown men as targets. They would respond with force to even minor offenses. And because cops are rarely held accountable for their actions, they didn’t think too hard about the consequences.