In the Black community, excessive and deadly force used by some police departments is not much of a secret. However, with the use of cameras and social media, more of the American population is becoming privy to the unfair treatment that Black people have received from police officers.
In certain cities, the issue of police brutality is deeply rooted in the fabric of the community. Dallas has been heavily covered in the news lately due to the devastating ambush that killed five police officers. However, Dallas happens to be a city with a major police brutality problem.
Take for instance the story of Collette Flanagan. In the fall of 2013, Flanagan’s son, Clinton Allen, was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer. The 25-year-old was shot seven times by Officer Clark Staller.
After the unfortunate killing of her son, Flanagan did a quick Google search to see if there were any similar stories out there. She simply typed, “black man shot by Dallas police” and was shocked when more stories appeared than she was expecting.
This inspired Flanagan to start Mother’s Against Police Brutality, a social justice group whose mission is to reform deadly force used by the Dallas Police Department.
Although the city of Dallas does have an issue with the excessive force used by officers, it has a bigger issue with the lack of officers held accountable for the killing of an unarmed Black male.
Not since 1973 has there been a ruling that the deadly force used by an officer was “unjustified.” And the last time that was ruled, a 12-year-old boy in handcuffs was shot in the head.
Flanagan and her group claim that between 1995 and 2015, 95% of all citizen complaints against police officers were dismissed. How can that be true?
Well, it may have something to do with Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Although Brown captured the hearts of many when he professionally dealt with the tragic police shooting in Dallas, he has introduced controversial initiatives in the past.
Brown created a policy that allowed any officer involved in a shooting to remain quiet for 72 hours. This meant if an officer shot and killed someone, they would have three days to form and perfect a narrative before even being questioned.
Obviously, this is a problem because it’s showing a bias towards law enforcement even if they did something very wrong.
The problem with Dallas goes much deeper than the policies of Brown, however. It’s rigged procedures that make it harder for mothers like Flanagan to get the justice they deeply deserve. Change will not come overnight, but the more discussions and protests that occur in cities such as Dallas, the larger the spotlight will be cast on their departments. Activists in Dallas have had a difficult time making progress and have often felt ignored by the public and the media. Yet all major movements take time and this is just unfortunately going to take more time and patience than most us of would like.
(Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)