Commentary: Will police departments accept the liability of bad cops?

Commentary: Will police departments accept the liability of bad cops?
September 23
12:13 2020

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

The police shooting Black men and Black women has become commonplace. There is no end to these tragedies in sight. Our America has become a shooting gallery with those of us who pay a skin tax as the targets.

Is there no safe place for Black people to be? Back in the day, our homes were our castles. They were places where we had fun, lots to eat and were safe. We took all three of these for granted.

Not today, especially if you are Black like me. Sadly, but true, the police will shoot us inside of our homes, too.

Breonna Taylor, an African American woman, was shot and killed inside of her home by the Louisville Metro Police Department. She was shot eight times by law enforcement.

This criminal act by the police occurred on March 13. Attorney Benjamin Crump filed a lawsuit on April 27. The lawsuit accuses the police of wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence. The city of Louisville has reached a 12 million-dollar settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor. In addition, the city council has passed legislation to ban no-knock warrants.

The no-knock warrant was used when the three police officers killed Breonna Taylor.

The city council also passed legislation that mandates the police to wear body cameras when serving search warrants and to turn on the camera five minutes before beginning the operation. The mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, said he would sign the legislation.

The no-knock law ban is named Breonna’s Law.

Attorney Crump said, “She was in her home doing absolutely nothing wrong.” Unfortunately, we as African Americans can be doing everything right and still get killed. Just ask the family of Botham Jean.

Laws are needed to stop the widespread killing of us. However, this statement carries no weight when the laws are not enforced or on the books. It can be debated that police are going around unchecked and uncontrolled. This must stop! Banning chokeholds and outlawing no-knock warrants may be a start to a problem that has festered like an open wound for far too long.

In the minds of many, mine included, the police and/or legislators are instituting new laws after Black people have been killed. This reactionary type of policing is not going to work in the long run. Using a band-aid when surgery is required is not the answer.

Laws are made by human beings. When they are outdated or are causing death and collateral damage, it is time to change them. Breonna Taylor’s killing and George Floyd’s killing forced laws to change.

The question is, why does another Black person have to be killed for a law to be changed?

One of my good friends is a police officer and we were talking about what is happening in police departments across America. As a Black police officer, he thinks like any organization, there are some rotten apples within police departments. He says they just have not been exposed yet.

I believe his assessment is correct. Eventually, they will be identified and fired.

A pressing question at the inquiry desk is how long can police departments take this ongoing criticism and heat? Bad police are giving entire police departments a bad reputation.

For example, I would strongly suggest that the overwhelming majority of the police officers in Minneapolis and Louisville are good, hardworking men and women. They are serving their communities well and doing what is right.

Police departments must find a way to push bad cops out of their departments. Right now, they are getting too much negative attention because of a few bad seeds.

Breaking News: Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18. She was 87 years old and will be greatly missed.

James B. Ewers Jr. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at

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