Good Cop, Bad Cop: The Good Doesn’t Outweigh the Bad

Derek+Chavin%2C+the+police+officer+who+pressed+his+knee+into+George+Floyd%27s+neck+for+8+minutes+and+46+seconds%2C+causing+his+death.

Derek Chavin, the police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, causing his death.

Tyra Hughes, Co Editor in Chief

No matter how many “good cops” are out there, if a police officer can hold his foot on the neck of an innocent black man for a interminable 8 minutes and 46 seconds while 3 other policemen stand there idly and watch him do it, “good cops” will never be enough outweigh the bad cops in this country. 

It is important to understand that when protesters flood the streets from city to city in honor of George Floyd, they not only are protesting the actions of Derek Chauvin, but they are also protesting the inaction of Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao. They protest in hopes of dismantling the system which was designed to oppress people like George Floyd, to suffocate people like Eric Garner, to shatter the dreams of people like Trayvon Martin. 

America’s police system was originally intended to oppress black lives in slavery and because that intention is continuously furthered by racist cops today — 155 years after slavery has been abolished — this system needs to be dismantled and reconstructed all together. 

According to The Insider, the role of police officers in the 21st century can very easily be traced back to the slave patrol officers in the South who recaptured runaway slaves and prevented slave rebellions. Slave patrols bore guns, ropes, and whips on horseback, just as “bad cops” bear bullets, chokeholds, and knees on the necks of black men. When freed slaves carried freedom papers, slave patrols could tear them up and lynch them anyway, just as police officers can murder black men even when they comply to police orders. 

In the 21st century many police officers like Derek Chauvin continue to withhold white supremacist values of their predecessors, and these cops are to blame for the senseless modern day lynchings of innocent black lives. 

The death of George Floyd reminds us all that although “not all cops are bad” there is an overwhelming amount of cops who are, not only because they cause the murders of black men, but also because they condone them. Being a bad cop doesn’t only amount to senselessly killing innocent people because of racial bias, it also means failing to intervene when another police officer is killing an unarmed black man. 

Our current police system enables an abuse of power in the hands of white police officers who continue to prolong the 400 year American agenda to oppress black lives, yet some people still defend it from a “not all cops are bad” stand point.

In an attempt to defend the policing system in America, people always bring up police propaganda of “good cops” who serve black communities with kindness and promote themselves as “good cops” on social media.  But why should they be praised for doing their jobs? Why should we praise “good” policemen for not being racist when that is exactly the character they should have if their job description is to serve and protect? 

We need to fix the entire law enforcement system to the point where there are no longer good cops or bad cops, but simply police officers who actually stand by their job description to “serve and protect”. 

When black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police and are disproportionately deemed as a threat to white America, it is ignorant to defend an unquestionably flawed system by pointing out non-racist, non-white supremacist police officers in this country. By the same token, excusing the corruption of racist police officers with the “not all cops are bad mentality” fails to hold white supremacy and the racial hierarchy in America accountable for causing police brutality.

Instead of attempting to defend a clearly broken and outdated system, people need to understand that the policing problem in America isn’t about only a handful of racist cops; it’s about a system that historically was created to oppress black lives.