In the past two weeks, Black America has been in an uproar about the recent killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling who was tackled to the ground and shot several times by two white Baton Rouge police officers and 32-year-old Philando Castile who was shot and killed by a Minnesota officer while reaching for his wallet to show his identification.
Since the killings, Black Lives Matter protests have poured into cities across the U.S. to mourn the loss of two men, march for peace, seek answers and most importantly justice.
The Los Angeles Sentinel reached out to Retired LAPD Sergeant, author of “Creation of a Manifesto, Black and Blue” and member of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability (NCLEOJ) Cheryl Dorsey to shed light on the tragedy.
Dorsey has been using her voice and various national news platforms such as CNN and HLNTV to speak truth to power based on her lived experiences as a Black woman, mother and veteran LAPD Sgt.
“Litigation will help curb these senseless killings and abuse under the color of authority,” said Dorsey.
Sgt. Dorsey also recommends and encourages the family of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling to demand reform so that other families do not have to go through the similar circumstances.
“Encourage everyone you know to contact members of the judiciary committee and demand legislation to reduce the protections afforded police officers who hide behind the Police Officers Bill of Rights to ensure tax payers to shoulder burden of civil suit settlements alone,” said Dorsey.
Demanding reform is one of the many steps families and community members have to take in seeking change. Aside from seeking policy reform, it is our duty to discuss the do’s and don’ts in dealing with officers. This step is vital, it could determine whether or not they live or die.
When Dorsey was raising her four boys, she also told them how they need to respond to officers if they are pulled over by the police.
“I always say comply. Live and survive that police encounter and create a paper trail to document errant officer’s behavior,” Dorsey said. “Department of Justice requires a pattern of practice to sustain a civil rights law suit. Create that pattern by notifying everyone in the officer’s chain of command and any civilian review board of activities which may violate policy and/or law.”
After reform and conversation is trust and of course R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This will stem from police departments like LAPD rebuilding their relationship with the community.
“I sadly have no hope at this time since LAPD Chief Beck, on the heels of the police commission and his own admission that poor tactics led to the deadly force incident involving Redel Jones (a Black woman).
What can police departments do to decrease the number of corrupt officers in their departments?
“Admit there is a problem with the system/process,” said Dorsey. “Include more Blacks in the recruitment/ hiring process. Recent LAPD academy graduated 2 Black officers out of a class of approximately 20-25. Re-curing psychological evaluations of all officers and accountability (administrative discipline, criminal filing) when policies are violated.”