While race surely played a role in the shooting of Michael Brown, the militarization and overreach of police officers should remain at the forefront of the post-Ferguson discussion. But this seemingly important issue ultimately gets lost amid the hyperbolic politicization of race by both sides. So when a former Philadelphia cop speaks out about today’s police state and how cops no longer protect the people, I tend to listen much more closely.
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis recently came to Ferguson in the wake of the grand jury verdict and gave a candid interview on the street. If that name sounds familiar, then your memory hasn’t been completely pepper-sprayed. Lewis was a major figure in the early days of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Lewis showed up in uniform and carried many signs imploring New York City cops to join the protests.
Lewis was eventually arrested for his participation in an OWS protest.
Flash forward to today and Lewis is even more disturbed by the increasing amount of unjust police actions he has seen and read about.
“It’s an oppressive organization now controlled by the one percent of corporate America. Corporate America is using police forces as their mercenaries.” (FreeThoughtProject)
And when it comes to the police increasingly using unnecessary force, Lewis was just as vociferous. Having witnessed first hand the result of the unholy alliance between corporations and the NYPD, Lewis also feels that the police have become a brute force unleashed on the common man.
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured. If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force.”
“Number one, I want to give the residents of Ferguson the knowledge that there are some police that do support them,” said Lewis. “I want to try and get a message to mainstream America that this system is corrupt, that police really are oppressing not only the black community, but also the whites,” he added. (FreeThoughtProject)
Regardless of your opinion on the overheated racial overtones that have imbued the shooting of Michael Brown and rippled across the country in the wake of the verdict, I think most of us can agree that many police officers are completely out of control.
Watch Former Captain Ray Lewis:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgweRroogKg?rel=0]