(NNPA)—Police brutality in Prince George’s County, Md. is legendary. There have been scandals after scandals for at least the last 50 years. Much of it has spread across the border into Washington, D.C. It is bad and wide scale and it is also tinged with Black and Hispanic inclusion.
Most of the abuses are targeted to these two national minorities and for good reason. The applicable prosecutors and court systems protect and shield the dirty cops who perpetrate brutality. They will defend the actions of the cops no matter how heinous their actions are.
So last week, when the actions of the Prince George’s Police Department during a recent basketball game on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, were splashed on television it was no surprise to my family circle. There they were smashing the heads of a few college students who were doing nothing but mildly celebrating the victory of their school.
After the beatings they filed false police reports on the victims. This is so common to us. We know their M.O. (modus operandi) too well. We call it “Dirty Cops 101.” Tragically, it is supported by the judicial system and to the detriment of innocent citizens, usually young Black men.
My sons and their close friends have matriculated through the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. They are good, productive Black males and are destined for great careers. However, there have been challenges with the local police departments where their parents have had to get involved and save their futures through expensive legal representation against heinous criminal acts by policemen. Let me give you a few actual experiences of these students and what their parents had to go through to save them from the wicked, dirty cops.
A few of the guys are walking down the streets of Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) one Saturday night. They are approached by D.C. cops (Precinct 2) and asked, “What are you boys doing in Georgetown?” One replied we happen to live here. After a few minutes the cops return and state, “Your guy is a smart ass and now he must pay.”
They handcuffed him; picked him up and body slammed him into their squad car; picked him up again and body slammed him to the ground. They arrested him and sent him to the lockup for the weekend and not arraigned until noon Monday. He had a busted lip, scars on his face and neck, a broken watch and money missing from his wallet. What were the charges?
They formally claimed that he charged a parked car with his head and caused $400 in property damage. They actually did this! The sad thing is his parents had to hire a top law firm and pay over $25,000 to convince the D.C. courts to throw the case out. There was no action done about the false police report or beat down.
One Maryland student felt like having a hamburger. He sees an Athletic Department golf cart unattended. He jumps in and drives it to a fast food establishment. Gets his hamburger and heads back to campus. The cops were there waiting and arrested him. The formal charge is “grand theft auto”—a serious felony. So began that family’s trauma. About $70,000 in legal fees later the Prince George’s County State Attorney finally drops the case.
Another one of the guys is walking with about 20 others leaving a UM bar and walking towards the dormitories. He is holding hands with a White girl and that sent off alarms with the PG cops. They arrest both of them; throw them in a paddy wagon and lock them up at the local “tank” until Monday. The formal charges were “Disturbing the Peace.” I guest interracial hand holding is disturbing the peace for a racist. Here again, the parents had to hire proper legal representation in order to make this trumped up charge go away. The White girl had to go through therapy from this racist trauma and her folks spent big bucks also.
One of the guys was walking down Rhode Island Avenue in College Park and was given a “jay walking” ticket. About a year later he found that it was entered as a moving vehicle violation and two points were on his record. He had to jump through hoops to get it removed so that his auto insurance rate wouldn’t sky rocket.
All of the guys have at least one bad experience during their college days. Life isn’t easy for Black college males. The cops are predators looking for and stalking them. But this time they beat up White guys and the world now knows the deal. Hopefully, we can now remove all of these dirty cops.
(Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)