To suggest that all cops and all judges are racial bigots would obviously be ridiculous. But it would be equally ridiculous to suggest that there are no racial bigots within law enforcement or even the judiciary.
In fact, the DEA, the state police, and local law enforcement all serve as a magnet for racial bigots. There is a simple reason for that. The enforcement of drug laws attracts racial bigots. End the drug war and you get rid of that magnet.
We all know that there are racial bigots in American society. Some of them are very open about their bigotry. They make no bones about it. They don’t seem to care that people are aware of their bigotry.
Others though are more circumspect about their bigotry. They want to hide it from others. The reason? They are embarrassed about it. They care about what other people say. They know that in the times in which we live, they will quite likely be subjected to criticism, moral condemnation, social ostracism, or economic boycott. Being an openly self-proclaimed racial bigot is not a popular thing today in American society.
But if a bigot joins the DEA, the state police, or a local police department, everything changes. He knows that he still cannot openly express his bigotry but he also knows that now he can exercise his bigotry to his heart’s content and not be criticized, condemned, ostracized, or boycotted for it. On the contrary, he knows that now he will be honored, praised, awarded, and glorified for doing his part to “win the war on drugs” and “ridding” American society of drugs.
Enforcing the drug war
The bigoted cop can stop any black walking or driving down a street and subject him to a humiliating interrogation and pat-down search. Woe to the black who “mouths off” by objecting. He will be “roughed up” and then arrested for “resisting arrest.” If he later explains that he didn’t do anything wrong, at his trial prosecutors will ask the jury the standard question: Who are you going to believe — this upstanding police officer who keeps us all safe or this no-good defendant who has a motive to lie?
For some unlucky blacks, they will be shot or choked to death, which obviously saves the time and expense of a trial for “resisting arrest.” Or maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll just be shot with a taser.
In the event that blacks don’t cooperate by possessing or distributing drugs, racially bigoted cops might just plant the drugs on them or frame them by falsely alleging that they were caught violating the drug laws. Just ask the people of Tulia, Texas, about that phenomenon.
And then there are the cases where blacks traveling down the highway are caught with a large amount of cash. The cops just seize it, even though there are no drugs found. If they don’t like this highway robbery, they can sue to get their money back, assuming they have additional money to hire a lawyer.
What is important in all this is that it’s the drug war that gives racially bigoted law-enforcement agents a license to exercise their bigotry legally and get thanked, praised, glorified, and honored for it.
That’s not to say, of course, that the drug war isn’t enforced against people of all colors, creeds, and national origins. We all know that it is. It is simply to say that the drug war attracts racial bigots into law enforcement (and the judiciary) so that they can exercise their bigotry to their heart’s content and be thanked, honored, praised, and glorified for it rather than criticized, condemned, ostracized, and boycotted.
By ending the drug war, you end up removing the biggest opportunity for racial bigots to exercise their bigotry through law enforcement. Police departments would no longer serve as a magnet for racial bigots. The bigots already there would start to drift away. Sure, they could still exercise their bigotry in the enforcement of murder, rape, and robbery laws, but the opportunity to do that is extremely limited.
CNN’s David Simon interview
Don’t just take my word for the importance of ending the drug war in the context of police brutality against blacks and others. Watch this 16-minute interview by CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour of David Simon, the creator of the “The Wire,” a television series about policing in America. I cannot recommend this interview too highly.
Notice how Simon continues to emphasize his point that if you want to end police brutality and corruption, you have to end the drug war. But notice something equally important, something that characterizes many members of the mainstream press: Amanpour does not seize the opportunity to follow up on Simon’s point. She doesn’t ask Simon to explain the relationship between the drug war and police brutality. She doesn’t delve into why ending the drug war is the solution to police brutality. Throughout the interview, I got the feeling that Amanpour wanted Simon to simply address police brutality in the context of the continued existence of the drug war.
To Simon’s credit, he refused to go down that road, no doubt to Amanpour’s chagrin. He was masterfully steadfast in maintaining the central point — if you want to end police brutality and corruption, you have to end the drug war.
If only all Americans were to come to this realization, we could not only bring an end this Jim Crow program but also help restore some liberty and privacy to people of all races, colors, and national origins.