African-American Police Officer Posts of the Reality of Patrolling in the Inner City

Jay Stalien

by Diane Rufino, July 13, 2016

Benjamin Spock once wrote: “Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.”

Robert Kennedy once wrote: “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”

Let’s look at both these statements.

With respect to Dr. Spock, we can say that for the most part, his statement is true. But the reason might be that white middle-class white people obey laws, live in stable families, embrace decent values, and live in communities with others who share similar values.  Middle class white people have priorities that include education, employment, and church. They conduct themselves in a civilized manner and are respectful when they are in the presence of a police officer. I have never lived in an inner city, but from what I read and see on TV, and what I’ve seen in the public school system, it’s pretty clear that the people there don’t share the same core beliefs or values. Poverty is not an excuse to raise one’s children poorly.

With respect to Mr. Kennedy, his statement certainly sounds like it should be true.

Jay Salien, a police officer who works in Riviera Beach, Florida, assumed as much.  But Salien is no ordinary police officer.  He is an African-American police officer who patrols a predominantly black part of town. Now, Riviera Beach may sound like a resort area – a place people with money might go to retire or for a vacation. But the reality is something quite different. The town is known for its significant rate of black on black crime.

In the wake of the growing Black Lives Matter movement and the countering movement, the Blue Lives Matter movement (which is a result of the intentional, wanton violence against police by BLM supporters), Salien felt he couldn’t remain silent. As the BLM, and even our own president, allege that our nation’s police forces are filled with trigger-happy racist officers, Salien took to Facebook to post the brutal reality of what a police officer faces each day when he patrols a predominantly black community.

His entire post is shared below:

“I have come to realize something that is still hard for me to understand to this day. The following may be a shock to some coming from an African American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as Humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up. Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop. I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood. My own black people killing others over nothing. Crack heads and heroin addicts lined the lobby of my building as I shuffled around them to make my way to our 1-bedroom apartment with 6 of us living inside. I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was 2 African Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me. I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man. I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something. I remember the countless times I stood 2 inches from a young black man, around my age, laying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs. I remember them bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day. I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved ones taking their last breath. I never took it personally. I knew they were hurting. I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on, were bloody from the blood of another black victim…of black on black crime. I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:

Suspect- Black/ Male, Victim-Black /Male.

I remember the countless times I canvassed the area afterwards, and asked everyone “did you see who did it”, and the popular response from the very same family members was always, “Fuck the Police, I ain’t no snitch, Im gonna take care of this myself”. This happened every single time, every single homicide, black on black, and then my realization became clearer.

I woke up every morning, put my freshly pressed uniform on, shined my badge, functioned checked my weapon, kissed my wife and kid, and waited for my wife to say the same thing she always does before I leave, “Make sure you come back home to us”. I always replied, “I will”, but the truth was I was never sure if I would. I almost lost my life on this job, and every call, every stop, every moment that I had this uniform on, was another possibility for me to almost lose my life again. I was a target in the very community I swore to protect, the very community I wanted to help. As a matter of fact, they hated my very presence. They called me “Uncle Tom”, and “wanna be white boy”, and I couldn’t understand why. My own fellow black men and women attacking me, wishing for my death, wishing for the death of my family. I was so confused, so torn, I couldn’t understand why my own black people would turn against me, when every time they called …I was there. Every time someone died….I was there. Every time they were going through one of the worst moments in their lives…I was there. So why was I the enemy? I dove deep into that question…Why was I the enemy? Then my realization became clearer.

I spoke to members of the community and listened to some of the complaints as to why they hated cops. I then did research on the facts. I also presented facts to these members of the community, and listened to their complaints in response. This is what I learned:

COMPLAINT:  Police always targeting us, they always messing with the black man.

FACT:  A city where the majority of citizens are black (Baltimore for example) …will ALWAYS have a higher rate of black people getting arrested, it will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting stopped, and will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting killed, and the reason why is because a city with those characteristics will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks committing crime. The statistics will follow the same trend for Asians if you go to China, for Hispanics if you go to Puerto Rico, for whites if you go to Russia, and the list goes on. It’s called Demographics

COMPLAINT:  More black people get arrested than white boys.

FACT:  Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime. Data from the FBI shows that Nationwide, Blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367. Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined. Chicago’s death toll from 2001–November, 26 2015 stands at 7,401. The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001-2015: 3,506), total 8,321.

COMPLAINT:  Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.

FACT:  As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US Citizens killed by Police this year is, 238 White people killed, 123 Black people killed, 79 Hispanics, 69 other/or unknown race.

FACT:  Black people kill more other blacks than Police do, and there are only protest and outrage when a cop kills a black man. University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012. Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

COMPLAINT: Well we already doing a good job of killing ourselves, we don’t need the Police to do it. Besides they should know better.

The more I listened, the more I realized. The more I researched, the more I realized. I would ask questions, and would only get emotional responses & inferences based on no facts at all. The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of a black man at the hands of another black man….the more I realized.

I haven’t slept well in the past few nights. Heartbreak weighs me down, rage flows through my veins, and tears fills my eyes. I watched my fellow officers assassinated on live television, and the images of them laying on the ground are seared into my brain forever. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had been me, a black man, a black cop, on TV, assassinated, laying on the ground dead,..would my friends and family still think black lives mattered?

Would my life have mattered? Would they make t-shirts in remembrance of me? Would they go on tv and protest violence? Would they even make a Facebook post, or share a post in reference to my death?

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”. I realized that this country is full of ignorance, where an educated individual will watch the ratings-driven news media, and watch a couple YouTube video clips, and then come to the conclusion that they have all the knowledge they need to have in order to know what it feels like to have a bullet proof vest as part of your office equipment, “Stay Alive” as part of your daily to do list, and having insurance for your health insurance because of the high rate of death in your profession. They watch a couple videos and then they magically know in 2 minutes 35 seconds, how you are supposed to handle a violent encounter, which took you 6 months of Academy training, 2 – 3 months of field training, and countless years of blood, sweat, tears and broken bones experiencing violent encounters and fine tuning your execution of the Use of Force Continuum. I realized that there are even cops, COPS, duly sworn law enforcement officers, who are supposed to be decent investigators, who will publicly go on the media and call other white cops racist and KKK, based on a video clip that they watched thousands of miles away, which was filmed after the fact, based on a case where the details aren’t even known yet and the investigation hasn’t even begun. I realized that most in the African American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black on black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the 9 questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes. I realized that they value the life of a Sex Offender and Convicted Felon, [who was in the act of committing multiple felonies: felon in possession of a firearm-FELONY, brandishing and threatening a homeless man with a gun-Aggravated Assault in Florida: FELONY, who resisted officers who first tried to taze him, and WAS NOT RESTRAINED, who can be clearly seen in one of the videos raising his right shoulder, then shooting it down towards the right side of his body exactly where the firearm was located and recovered] more than the lives of the innocent cops who were assassinated in Dallas protecting the very people that hated them the most. I realized that they refuse to believe that most cops acknowledge that there are Bad cops who should have never been given a badge & gun, who are chicken shit and will shoot a cockroach if it crawls at them too fast, who never worked in the hood and may be intimidated. That most cops dread the thought of having to shoot someone, and never see the turmoil and mental anguish that a cop goes through after having to kill someone to save his own life. Instead they believe that we are all blood thirsty killers, because the media says so, even though the numbers prove otherwise. I realize that they truly feel as if the death of cops will help people realize the false narrative that Black Lives Matter, when all it will do is take their movement two steps backwards and label them domestic terrorist. I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism. Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed. Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100’s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet. I realized that some in the African American community’s idea of “Justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances are. I realized the African American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looks outside for solutions. I realized that a lot of people in the African American community lead with hate, instead of love. Division instead of Unity. Turmoil and rioting, instead of Peace. I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop, are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die,… and it is still hard for me to understand…. to this day.

The black community is responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of violent crime in our nation’s communities – mostly in their own communities.  The senseless violence boggles the mind of men and women in uniform who devote their lives and sacrifice their safety for the protection of others. There has to be some accountability and culpability for the racial divide that is currently plaguing us by the black community instead of the usual blame game – “racism.”  Government policies MUST encourage a strong sense of family and actually achieve this goal.  Right now, its policies encourage the destruction of the family and encourage out-of-wedlock births.  Government MUST tear down its “wall of separation” from religion which it keeps “high and impregnable” and embrace policies that encourage and achieve a greater influence of religious teachings in citizen’s lives – particularly our youth.  They need this guidance so badly. Government policies MUST encourage parents to take responsibility for the upbringing of their children and stop leaving it to schools, the police, prisons, etc. There is nothing more tragic than a mother who cries over the body of her slain son, killed while going for a gun when stopped by police when she herself didn’t raise him properly, didn’t check on the friends he was hanging out, didn’t follow up on what he was doing at night, or know that he even carried a gun.”

Solutions are needed.  Serious dialogue is needed, and not just the usual allegation of “racism.”  But while the tension between the Black Lives Matter movement and the police in general seems to be escalating (BLM is now calling for a “Day of Rage” to be celebrated by a wave of protests all over the country), the last thing the BLM seems to be interested in is an honest dialogue or solutions.  I read somewhere that one of their so-called solutions is a collection of states just for blacks.

Last night, I watched a Bill O’Reilly episode, which I very rarely do. O’Reilly asked democrat commentator, Kirsten Powers, if she believes the Black Lives Matter movement is seriously looking for solutions or just acting out in rage. She responded that she believes they are interested in solutions and are essentially a peaceful group.  O’Reilly then showed her a clip of what happened when one of Fox News reporters went into a black community to ask why they hate police. It was not a civilized response. [Seehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7uc6YznICU.  Advance to 19:30 min for the interview segment]

I wondered then, where is this Black Lives Matter is headed. What do they want?  What can the American reasonably believe might be the outcome.  Will our nation’s communities be safer and will the rioting and violence stop?  Will the random and wanton violence against police officers stop?  And then I heard President Obama’s remarks at the Dallas Memorial Service yesterday, July 12.

As long as our President proclaims to our nation and even to the world that we are a racist nation and that our police forces are populated by officers who can’t help but be consumed by racist thoughts, why would the Black Lives Matter ever think it has to make any concessions at all.  Obama’s remarks give the black community every reason to be absolved of the behavior they exhibit in their communities and in inner cities. It was unfortunate that he publicly justified the slaughter of the five Dallas police officers because of “righteous rage” in the black community that has remained (or more correctly, has escalated) since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. In his remarks, he went out of his way to convince America – and we all know the Black Lives Matter is hanging on his every word – that racism still exists; that for the past 50 years, the country is still the same as it was back in the early 1960’s.  “If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our heads, felt it in our own hearts. We know that. None of us is innocent. No institution is immune. And that includes our police departments.”  The one thing that is most evident from what he said is that HE, the person who holds the office of President and who represents every single American, is the one who is racist. He admits that he can’t help thinking that way. He can’t help having “righteous rage” and resentment against white America. And in his remarks at the Memorial Service, he attempted to force his own personal demons on the rest of this country. It’s a sad day when a President of the United States reminds his countrymen that they are inherently evil and unjust.

What can we expect as an outcome when the President supports a violent movement?   What can we expect as an outcome when the President gives legitimacy to a movement which justifies its violence, its rioting, and its civil disobedience on “rage.”

I know what movement I would suggest for the suckers who are collectively called “US taxpayers” !!

 

Obama - Dallas service

References:

Jay Salien, facebook post – https://www.facebook.com/jay.stalien/posts/911372818974402

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7uc6YznICU   (Bill O’Reilly, Fox News clip; See 19:30 min for the reaction of the black community when

A Deliberate and Tragic Act of Racism

Dallas Shooting - victims

by Diane Rufino, July 9, 2016

In a deliberate and calculated act of racism, a black man ambushed and gunned down five Dallas police officers and injured seven more.  I watched on TV how the police community and concerned citizens responded. They honored each officer in a moving tribute that highlighted their life stories, the families they leave behind, their service to our country, and their acts of kindness in their communities. They came together to offer assistance to the families of the fallen officers, establishing funds to pay their mortgages and to send their children to college. They reminded everyone of the dangerous job that police officers willingly accept – serving and protecting their communities – and now, since the start of Black Lives Matter movement (“What do we want?  Dead cops.  When do we want them?  NOW!”), being innocent targets simply for wearing their uniform.  Did the community call for violence against the Black Lives Matter movement and its leaders?  Has it encouraged police officers to take aggressive and retaliatory action in their patrolling of their areas?  Has it suggested that police officers withdraw from black communities and let their violence consume them?

No.

The other side, however, responds with violence and aggression. They are completely predictable. When a member of the black community dies at the hands of police custody, which includes being stopped, subdued, transported, arrested, or incarcerated, the response is rioting, destruction, and violence.  They demand justice which always means that they want the other side to pay for what has been done, regardless of what transpired. At the center of almost all of the unfortunate incidents – and they are all unfortunate – we find a black man who had a gun and wouldn’t surrender it, who had broken the law, who threatened the officer with harm, or who was resisting the police (even though the police had probable cause to stop him).  Simply cooperating with the police would have prevented each of the deaths.

The responses from each side are strikingly different and they speak volumes.

Instead of the accusations against police and the insinuations of blatant racism, why aren’t we asking the more important questions:  Why are young black men walking around carrying guns?  Why are they breaking the law?  Where are their parents to teach them right from wrong?  Where are their parents to keep an eye on them and to know what they are up to?  And most importantly, why aren’t they teaching their children that when they are stopped by police, they must politely cooperate.  I believe that officers respond to guns, not race.

In his song “American Skin,” Bruce Springsteen writes:

“Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, “On these streets, Charles
You’ve got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite
And that you’ll never ever run away
Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

The song was inspired by an incident involving the New York City Police Department and a West African immigrant named Amadou Diallo in February 1999. Diallo exactly fit the profile of a rapist who committed several crimes in the Bronx area, and when police caught up with him in a stairwell, they instructed Diallo to show his hands.  Instead, he reached into his pockets. Police assumed he was going for a gun, but it turns out he was only reaching for his wallet.  But it was too late. Police shot him dead.  While the song is an indictment of the rush to judgement on the part of police, Springsteen acknowledges that “these streets” are not safe.  Police patrol areas that are not safe.  At the heart of the problem in this country at this present time is the fact that are our streets not safe.  And yes, certain areas (and I don’t need to spell it out) are much less safe than others. We have to be honest in solving that problem first and not be afraid to be politically incorrect, because yes, too many young black lives are being lost.  Let’s address that root cause first, and the other issues will fall away.

Sometimes when I watch the news, I can’t help but think that we are back in the tumultuous civil rights era.  But we not in the 1960’s.  It’s fifty years down the road.  That equates to 2-3 generations. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to the concerns of the black community when it comes to their history with police, but I’m tired of the dialogue that is so intentionally and overwhelmingly politically-sensationalized and one-sided. Government – all 4 branches (legislative, executive, judicial, and the media) – has got to stop with the political correctness and stop pandering to violence, and start acting responsibly.  We have a code of conduct in this country that transcends race, religion, and ethnicity and it’s called civility and the Rule of Law. We conduct ourselves within the boundaries of the law, we respect each other’s lives, liberty, and property, we respect each other as individuals, and we contribute in a positive way to our communities. We don’t harass one another, we don’t harm one another, we don’t intimidate one another, and we don’t make others feel unsafe.  Everywhere I go, I see signs reading “coexist.”  I imagine it stands for an organization or movement urging social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.  For my entire life, I have been taught this. Growing up in northern New Jersey, I never once thought that a person of a different color was any different than me or should be treated any differently. It just never entered my mind. Since the days when the country righted wrongs and passed the Civil Rights Acts, we have been reminded at every instance to live a colorblind life.  Our schools have taught it, our human resource departments give training sessions on it, our government has put laws and policies in place to ensure it, and courts have come up with remedies to mandate it. Yet when we watch the news, read the newspaper, and listen to our president and US Justice Department speak, you would think that racism is widespread in this country and most notably, is rampant and endemic in our police forces.

I have a good friend in town who happens to be a white police officer.  As he faithfully posts reports of all those officers across the country who have been killed or injured by those supporting the Black Lives Matters movement, he clearly fears for his safety and the safety of his officers. Nevertheless, he is the epitome of public service.  He says this fear will never prevent him from doing his job nor, as far as he believes, will prevent the others from doing the same.  My friend is assigned to what is called the West quadrant, which is the “black section” of town. The West quadrant is racked with violent crime – murders, random shootings, stabbings, drug crimes, and domestic assaults. Someone asked him if, in light of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, he wouldn’t be better off transferring to a different quadrant and perhaps having black officers cover the West quadrant.  His response was quick. He said he would never request a transfer and has every intention of remaining there. When asked why, he answered: “Because I am needed there.”  He said he didn’t enlist to protect just quiet, safe neighborhoods; he enlisted to keep everyone safe.

I believe most officers feel this way.  And sadly, the Black Lives Matter movement has been responsible for the senseless murders of exactly these types of officers.

In my adult life, I’ve seen only three acts of blatant, intentional racism.  In 2010, Black Panther leader King Samir Shabazz intimidated white voters at a polling location in Philadelphia and publicly advocated the killing of white babies. Last year, Dylann Roof, a young white man, opened fire in a black Methodist church in Charleston, killing nine. And then two days ago, July 7, a black man, Micah Johnson, set out with the express intention of killing as many white police officers as he could at a Black Lives Matter protest that was planned in Dallas.  He also supported or belonged to the New Black Panther movement which advocates violence against whites.  Ironically, all these events occurred during the time when our President was jumping to conclusions and crying racism at every instance a black man was mistreated or harmed by police. It began almost immediately after he assumed office.  In July 2009, when a black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was stopped by a white police officer for suspicious activity, President Obama jumped on the opportunity to lecture the country about racism.

In that incident, police received a call of a possible burglary; the woman was concerned that a man (no mention of race) appeared to be trying to break into a house in a respected Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood. A white officer, Sgt. Jams Crowley, was dispatched to the house and found Gates who had already opened the door.  Gates told the police it was his house and Crowley asked to see identification. Gates refused and instead, flew into a verbal rage and accused the officer of racial profiling. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. President Obama learned of the incident and before knowing the facts of the case, he felt he needed to make a public statement regarding Gates’ treatment.  To a country that had no idea of the incident, Obama said that Sgt. Crowley acted “stupidly.”  He went further and said this was an example of how vulnerable poor people and minorities are “to capricious forces like a rogue policeman.”  He continued: “This man clearly was a rogue policeman.”  Without knowing the facts, President Obama slandered Crowley’s good name to an entire country. As it turns out, Crowley was – is – a decorated officer, an expert on racial profiling, and an instructor on that subject for many years at the Lowell Police Academy.  The police commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department commented that his department was deeply maligned by Obama’s statement.

To an audience that is always on the look-out for instances of racism, Obama’s comments were just what they wanted to hear. Victimhood is a powerful aphrodisiac. Victimhood is a powerful position. Victimhood is big business.  The Gates incident was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2012, Trayvon Martin’s death ignited intense racial tension. When George Zimmerman was acquitted of his death, race riots occurred in Los Angeles, a place that knows them all too well (except when OJ Simpson was acquitted). With each incident, tensions grew stronger, culminating in a march in New York City in 2014, headed by race hustler Al Sharpton. The “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators called for the death of police officers, shouting: “What do we want? – Dead cops. When do we want them?  – Now!”  Not long after that, a black man stalked and killed two innocent white police officers in NYC in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner (which was a sad, tragic event, but clearly without any racial animus). Since 2014, it has been open season for killing police officers and the numbers have been adding up.

I blame the Obama administration for amplifying the voice of the Black Lives Matter movement and for eight long years, helping to fuel charges of racism in this country. The administration, at every chance, legitimized their claims and encouraged their militant responses. The administration is guilty of criminal solicitation – creating the atmosphere in this country that sadly led to this tragic shooting.

RACISM - ruins lives

[I use the terms “white” and “black” not in any derogatory way but merely as an emphasis to the racial divide that has overtaken our country, particularly with respect to law enforcement].