Less than a week after five Dallas law enforcement officers were killed by a lunatic gunman, the nation is again reeling from a deadly confrontation between cops and an ex-military extremist. This past Sunday, former Marine Gavin Long gunned down three officers in Baton Rouge, a city on edge after police shot Alton Sterling, a black man, on July 5.
I dread the day one of my cop friends is shot by a crazy shooter seeking revenge for the murder of an innocent black person.
Make no mistake, I love and respect good cops. Over the years, I've become friends with many officers who try hard to connect with the black communities they serve. But I have a problem with bad cops, just like I have issues with bad African-Americans who kill innocent kids in Miami's inner-city neighborhoods.
We will never get past this issue unless the police fraternity tears down the blue wall of silence. We need to have hard conversations about cops — regardless of their race or ethnicity — protecting bad apples. Sometimes, officers do nothing though they know colleagues abuse the badge and break the law.
Homicide investigators often plead with African-Americans to end the no-snitching culture. Yet no one tells cops to do the same. Departments and unions that stop protecting bad cops can send a message that no institution is above the law. A person can be charged as an accessory to murder for witnessing a homicide and not reporting it to law enforcement. Why can't the cop who stays silent about an unjustified killing be charged with the same crime?
Even prosecutors rarely bring charges against killer cops because laws are designed to protect law enforcement officials. They also fear pissing off police departments.
We are on the verge of a civil war. If we don't stop making excuses for the actions of bad people, all Americans will start shooting one another.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.