Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You wanna go to jail, or you wanna go home?

Denzel Washington won an Oscar playing the character of the badass crooked cop "Lonzo" in the movie Training Day. Everybody remembers the now infamous line "King Kong ain't got shit on me!" But the line that sticks out for me is in fact the title of this post. To me, that line embodies and epitomizes the power possessed by the police in our communities. But you know what they say: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. That said, check out what's going on in smalltown America:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former Montgomery police officer is suing the town and his former police chief, claiming shifts he had requested were given to other officers because he refused his superior's orders to harass the city's black residents.

According to the lawsuit filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, Gary Perdue says shifts he wanted were either given to other officers or eliminated, starting last November.

The shifts were given to officers with less seniority and "with a more aggressive approach against the African American citizenry of the City of Montgomery," according to the lawsuit.

Perdue, who has also served as the chief of police in nearby Smithers, names the city of Montgomery and former police chief Pete Lopez as defendants.

Now, I don't know what you think, but I can't help but to think that Gary Perdue may be a disgruntled ex-cop possibly looking to get back at his former boss. That said, what better way than to slap the good and tried race card on the table. See how powerful race matters are in this country?

But then again, Gary Perdue may have actually been one of the good guys who decided to do the right thing and not bust a few Negroes in the head. If so, I have to question why he never stepped forward while still working as a police officer in that jurisdiction and blow the whistle. Was he afraid to go against the brotherhood that is the Blue Wall of Silence within the police culture? Or was it that he had no allies with whom he could trust to hand a letter to president Obama like Sgt. Leon Lashley did last week? Or is Perdue an opportunist who with great timing is taking advantage of a situation:

Perdue's lawyer is Mike Clifford, who has filed at least four other lawsuits against Montgomery police since October. The others also named former Montgomery police officer Matthew Leavitt as a defender.

Last month, former Montgomery officer Matthew Leavitt pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor civil-rights violations in federal court. Leavitt pleaded to beating Twan Reynolds with a slapjack, or small club, and illegally charging his wife, Lauren Reynolds, with driving under the influence.

Leavitt admitted to hitting Twan Reynolds, who is black, in the head with the slapjack. He was also accused of licking the neck of Lauren Reynolds, who is white, and saying, "Little whore, you like it like that."

Sounds like ex-police officer Matthew Leavitt has seen the movies Training Day and Crash one too many times. Lord knows how many times he's gotten away with violating the civil rights of others as a police officer. Thankfully for the sake of America he doesn't wear a badge anymore.

I don't know what exactly to make of this ex-police officer coming forward and filing suit. Lets just say recent incidents in the news, have had a way of influencing my trust of the police. However, a part of me wants to think that this is true. Yes, just like a part of me thinks that cops have quotas to fill as far as issuing traffic tickets each month? You know, I think it's kind of odd that their presence on our streets are heaviest towards the end of each month?

Maybe I'm just buggin', and maybe it's just a Memphis thing. At any rate, if this above story is indeed true, it serves to shine a spotlight on what's going on in our communities all across the country and not just in little old Montgomery West Virginia. Surely given the option of going to jail or going home by a power drunk cop leaves us in a rather precarious position. Hopefully police officers don't think they too can win an Oscar for their real life performances.

(source: wvgazette.com)


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