Back in May, Maryland police were called to a McDonald’s in Silver Spring. Four men of color were waiting outside of the building for a friend to pick them up for work.
Evidently this bothered someone since police were called to break up their loitering.
People are pretty torn over whether or not calling police on men for just standing in a spot is awful, but that’s not where things stop here. Of the officers who arrived on scene (and there were a staggering number for the alleged crime of standing around) the video focuses on the white female officer who does most of the talking.
One of the four men began recording, which is recommended by many legal and activist groups. What he caught on camera has the internet shocked and divided.
As the officers and the group of men were talking, one of the men dropped the n-word in conversation. Evidently the white female officer thought this made it okay for her to use it, because she casually dropped it into the conversation.
One of the men objected, saying:
“I bet if she didn’t have that badge on, she wouldn’t call us no ni**as.”
The officer smugly replied:
“I would still say it because what I’m doing is repeating your words.”
All four men were cited for trespassing, with two also being cited for possession of cannabis. After the incident, one of them posted the video on social media, alerting his followers of the “racist police officer.”
Check it out – but be aware there is racially insensitive language.
View this post on Instagram
The video has people divided.
Some don’t see anything wrong with what the officer said.
Other people, however, found it entirely inappropriate.
Multiple complaints to her department prompted the release of an official statement about the incident:
“The Montgomery County Department of Police takes all allegations of racial discrimination seriously. We are committed to serving all members of the community in a fair, impartial, and non-discriminatory manner at all times.”
“All allegations of misconduct surrounding inappropriate actions or language by our employees are investigated by our Internal Affairs Division, at times in concert with other governmental agencies within Montgomery County.”
“The matter brought to our attention today is disturbing and contrary to our department’s values and our overarching mission to fairly and impartially serve our community.”
“The statements observed on the social media video clip are contrary to our extensive training curriculum that include implicit bias training and other training programs to ensure fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory policing in our community.”
Do you think the officer was out of line for using the word? Or are you okay with the context in which she dropped it?
Were the police called because of ingrained bias? The book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, available here, looks at the biases we may not even know we have.
“You don’t have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior.”
“This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward.”