Chauvin is the manifestation of a problem WE CAN FIX. Bump fists and keep it moving.
Derek Chauvin is not the problem. Derek Chauvin is how the problem presents.
I celebrate that Chauvin got his just due. But what mutes my celebration is the knowing what we will do with that as a nation: see convicting the manifestation (Chauvin) of the problem as evidence we have made progress on the problem (American policing). A conviction is progress, yes, but in that “one large step for mankind” way, no matter how hard we try to repackage what is also “one small step for man.”
It is huge progress for the American id, and baby steps for the Black American, in precisely that same way electing Barack Obama was: “Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls.” Feeling the Great Collapse, are we? OK; then settle down.
And, look: we CAN ride the wave into something bigger for America and, within it, Black America. We can, and we must. We can solve the problem of our police culture. We can dispense with theory and cut to the truth — it is not “police can’t,” it is “their departments refuse.”
And we have the power to change that, right here and right now, in our very own hands. It takes the cold, hard truth, common sense and unwavering determination. What is does not take is re-inventing the wheel. Have a look:
“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there.” ~Testimony of Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo.
Every officer in every department across the United States is trained. Your training holds no special place, and has no “deal-breaking” value. TRAINING IS NOT THE JOB.
THE JOB IS OVERSIGHT. For first-line supervisors like sergeants, that is quite literally their only job — to oversee the application of training. Who is overseeing them, on a loop and up the chain?
THE JOB IS DOCUMENTATION. Supervision must be documented. If there has been no documented supervision of a problem and its course correction, there has been no supervision.
THE JOB IS ACTION. You need only look at an employee’s file to assess supervisor oversight, and then take action. No unions, no collective bargaining agreements, just paperwork and consequences.
And, THE JOB IS NOT BEING DONE. As far back as I can recall, not once has a supervisor been fired for failed oversight potentially leading to egregious misconduct.
THAT is your job — your one and only job. When your supervisors fail, why aren’t you firing them? Fire enough and the rest will do their jobs. That is the only way to change your culture. That is why your community hired you. And this is how that gets done.
Be well, Chief,
Applaud the Chauvin conviction, then get to work. When leaders up and down the chain fail to do the one job for which they have been hired, they must be cut from the force with intent. The culture will only evolve when the culture appreciates that mediocrity comes with a pink slip.
We can do this, but the whole of us must rise up as one and swing. Here is how; it is a choice; and, the choice is yours.
Celebrate for today, for tomorrow we work. Do the work that positions black and brown Americans to survive police encounters the same way non-black and -brown Americans do.
To change the police culture, you must change the culture makers. CULTURE=CULTURE MAKERS.
≅PART I. OUR RELATIONSHIP IS WITH THE DEPARTMENT.
≅PART II. THE DEPARTMENT MUST (AND CAN) CORRAL THE POLICE.
≅PART III. A DEPARTMENT DOING ITS JOB NEUTRALIZES THE UNION.
≅PART IV. YOUR SERGEANT, LIEUTENANT, CAPTAIN, MAJOR, & DEPUTY NON-ACCOUNTABILITY IS KILLING A PEOPLE.
≅PART V. FIX THEM OR WE FIRE THEM AND YOU.
He who suffers the consequences is motivated to drive the change. CONSEQUENCES=CHANGE.
↞LAST ∺ ∺∺∺∺WE ARE LOOKING THE WRONG WAY∺∺∺∺∺ NEXT↠
Be the force motivating the driver,
Before you engage me or others, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Catherine Pugh is an Attorney at Law and former Adjunct Professor at the Temple University, Japan. She developed and taught Race and the Law for its undergraduate program, and Evidence, Criminal Law, and Criminal and Civil Procedure for its law program. She has worked for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, and was a Public Defender for the State of Maryland. View her Race and Profiling Lecture Series appearance here. The view expressed here are personal. Nothing in this or any Medium writing is a legal recommendation, legal advice, or a legal opinion.
To my sweetest of loves: I am the wall for them; you are the wall for me. And nothing — nothing — has ever gotten past you. You are my everything. #CubanKitchen.
“It takes the wisdom of the elders . . .” Thank you for teaching us, loving us, leading us all: Mary Stovall Davis Budd, Andrea Tucker, Lorenzo Pugh, Dorris Pugh, Jacqueline Wallace, Roger Wallace, Kenneth Davis, Sandra Davis, and Karen Davis.
Keywords: racism, police misconduct, police accountability, police reform, society, culture, leadership.