Louis and Missouri will rank at or near the top when it comes to
negative indicators—especially when it comes to dealing with
Black folks. The recent investigative work of the Plain View Project
(PVP) looked at Facebook posts of eight police jurisdictions of
varying size and geographic areas. There, under the glaring
spotlight, was the shining racism of the St. Louis Police Department.
Plain View Project used an algorithm to search through thousands of
social media rants by past and current police officers. The hatred
and bigotry against Black folks, women, Muslims and the LGBTQ
community were unapologetic.
and since the murder of Mike Brown and the Ferguson Uprising, the St.
Louis Police Department has been exposed from the inside and out. The
exposes have affirmed for some citizens, and bolstered beliefs in
others, that the department is racist, incompetent, corrupt and
undeserving of public trust.
example, let’s look at a persistent complaint by many in the
Black community related to what often happens when they call police.
The police come very late or not at all.
a Facebook post by one of St. Louis’ finest, “They said
F***k the police,’ so I said ‘F**k your 911 call. I’ll
get to your dying home boy when I finish my coffee.”
a few people expressed their First Amendment, must a whole community
be penalized by the retaliatory refusal of police to respond to
calls? The cops who had their hateful tirades revealed hid behind
that very amendment when it came to justifying why they should not be
urban police departments are having difficult recruiting and
retaining officers of color. St. Louis is no exception. This should
come as no surprise that the profession has been stained by its own
wicked behavior and practices towards the racially, culturally and
gender-bending diverse communities it is paid to serve and protect.
behavior is not just reserved for us in the hood. It’s also
directed at fellow cops who aren’t white, straight,
heterosexual and forward-thinking.
Heather Taylor is the president of the St. Louis Police Ethical
Society. She’s outspoken and a fierce advocate of the Black
officers she represents and the community she serves.
Plain View Project highlighted another troubling post. Some of
Taylor’s fellow officers were in solidarity with the sick hope
that she “bleeds out on a call.” So much for back up from
your boys in blue.
should clearly understand why a potential recruit would not choose
this kind of employer and this hostile work environment. This is not
a profession that Black and Brown people are beating down doors to
Philadelphia, also part of the Facebook sting, it came as no surprise
that almost one third of the cops involved had been subjects of civil
rights and police brutality lawsuits.
Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner has responded to the revelations by PVP.
Gardner is banning nearly two dozen of the cops and adding them to
her “list.” The exclusion list is reserved for officers
who aren’t allowed to present evidence or testimony in criminal
cases based upon their corrupt and unethical practices. This brings
the total to almost 60 cops who cannot bring cases to the
prosecutor’s office because their integrity has been
became the city’s first African American prosecutor in 2016.
She ran on a progressive platform to clean up the office, to take
seriously equal justice under the law. Gardner has made it clear that
police are not above the law. Her reform efforts have been praised by
the Black community and wholly condemned by the racist police union.
She has been the target of unrelenting attacks by the white
the Plain View Project uncovered is not new or shocking. These posts
reflect a deeper pathology of the mainly white cops who terrorize
communities of color. What may have shocked some is that the same
bigotry is also directed to fellow officers based upon the race,
religion, gender and sexual orientation.
social media posts were just a tiny portal into police culture. It
gave insights into the brutal and often lethal interaction between
the departments and the communities they occupy. They also are a
sound justification as to why our communities should be looking for
alternatives to the current policing methods.