The Amber Guyger trial should have put racism in law enforcement at the forefront of the discussion about police brutality and law enforcement reform. But it was quickly glossed over, again.
As a society, we constantly overlook the role racism plays in law enforcement. Particularly on the street level. In 2006, the FBI issued a warning to law enforcement about white supremacists infiltrating their agencies. Fast forward 13 years and read the content of Amber Guyger’s racist text messages. The Guyger case doesn’t just validate the FBI’s warnings. It also validates the idea that racists have infiltrated and are now deeply embedded within departments all over the country.
The smug reaction to the FBI’s warning led us to where we are today. While white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement is a part of this nation’s history. America’s complacency has allowed it to become much more pervasive than at any other time in modern history. From that point on, measures should have been put into place to vet potential officers for duty. Instead, the continued relaxation of requirements to become a cop has created a system of officers who are supposed to protect and serve; with limited understanding of the laws, codes, and departmental policies.
“… a collection of text messages between ex-police officer Amber Guyger and her fellow Dallas cops show that Guyger was either a typical, run-of-the-mill bigot, or she was working on a secret, undercover mission as a racist cop.” — Michael Harriot, The Root
Corruption in law enforcement goes hand-in-hand with racism. Bigoted points of view remain hidden via the silence of their colleagues (aka the Blue Code of Silence). Officers take that silence to a new level when they make concerted efforts to create a narrative that shields a criminal cop. As with Guyger, the first officers to arrive on the scene after she murdered Botham Jean took steps to protect her. Actions that speak to the efforts that are made to protect white officers. Meanwhile, the victim is referred to and treated as a suspect as he lay dying.