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Est. April 5, 2002
July 04, 2019 - Issue 796

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In Plain View:
White Supremacy Shines Brightly
Police Department


"The 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."

St. 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.

The 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.

Before 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.

For 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.

Said 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.”

Because 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 fired.

Most 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.

That 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.

Sgt. 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.

The 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.

We 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 sign up.

In 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.

St. 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 compromised.

Gardner 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 supremacist establishment.

What 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.

The 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. Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle.  Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog jamalarogers.comContact Ms. Rogers and BC.
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is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers