Most often, eavesdropping is looked down upon. But sometimes, listening in on conversations that weren’t intended for your ears gives the opportunity to get the real story on how you are perceived by others. In September, some members of the NYPD gave Facebook users the unique experience of hearing some of the officer’s most personal and racist thoughts about the city’s annual West Indian Day Parade, one of the biggest events for African-American and West Indian New Yorkers that takes place in Brooklyn.
Following this year’s parade that was both marred by violence and capped with viral videos of officers having a good time alongside carnival revelers, a few officers took to Facebook and made a public group called, “No More West Indian Day Detail,” where they chronicled their discontent at having to secure the parade and wrote racist comments on the group’s wall, calling parade-goes “savages” and “animals.”
According to the New York Times, who obtained a copy of the page which has since been deleted, the comments ran the gamut of racism and ignorance, with one poster suggesting that the city should allow the parade to be held for just one more year, at which point police should drop a bomb on the crowd and “wipe them all out.”
The group came to light after an attorney defending a man fighting a gun possession charge found the page and presented several of the comments in the man’s defense. He was later acquitted of the charges.
Sadly enough, the comments aren’t that surprising. The most telling and disturbing part of the whole ordeal is that the officers who created the page did so publicly and the membership of the group swelled to some 1,200 members before deletion. Further, of those whose real names appeared attached to comments, all have since very nonchalantly brushed off any responsibility for their words, with one officer stating “That wasn’t me. I leave my phone around sometimes …”
Such a tired and limp excuse is not sufficient from someone who has been entrusted to maintain peace and order in our streets. The NYPD says that the incident is being investigated by internal affairs, however, given the officer’s cavalier attitudes about the situation, it is unlikely the department will do what should be done: fire the participating officers. Hopefully, local activists and community organizations will lobby to have the officers removed. Because it's impossible to believe that someone who sees you as a savage will do anything to protect you from harm.
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