Wednesday , May 22 2024
As a good faith gesture of conciliation to the black community, police departments around the nation should create South African style reconciliation commissions and grant amnesty to members of their departments who confess to wrongdoing that has resulted in the death or conviction of an innocent black man.

Black Lives Matter: A Proposed Amnesty Program for Dirty Cops

handgunAmerica dealt death to black people from our very first introduction. Millions of us died in the Middle Passage during the trans-Atlantic slave trade period. Once we were on land, we were murdered at will and treated most sadistically. While we were slave property it was more economically sound not to kill us if that could be avoided; a near-death lashing often sufficed. But after emancipation murdering black people became the popular method to instill fear and control.

Emancipation was followed by nearly a century of lynchings. Black men were lynched for as little as not saying “mister” to a white man or as accidental an occurrence as bumping into a white female will running to catch a train. Lynchings and Jim Crow waned in the 1960s; every white American no longer had the fortitude to murder a black person outright, so what to do? The solution for how to continue to kill black people randomly and without recourse came easily during the course of political campaigns. Politicians spoke coded dog-whistles to the white country convincing them that they were in danger from the imagined lawlessness of black people and that if they were elected they would sic the police on the black community. Law and order, they called it.

Throughout the country black people were for the most part penned up in urban ghettoes, perfect for the establishment of a dual system of policing: serve and protect in the white community, harass, contain, jail and eliminate in the ghetto. After six decades the racist attitude of the general white population has been institutionalized in the nation’s police departments, and supported by the nation’s judicial system.

There have been many egregious killings of black people by American policemen since white society silently implies sanctioning this slow black genocide to the police. Over the years white society has found resourceful means to clear policemen of wrongdoing, which have emboldened their recklessness; they choke black men to death on camera, shoot black boys in an instant, empty their pistols in the backs of fleeing black men – it doesn’t matter, the system’s got their backs.

Black America has grown wary of seeing their sons, fathers, brothers, and husbands die innocently at the hands of racist white policemen. Recently there have been grumblings from black people ready to arm themselves to protect themselves from the rash of mad-dog police killings. Although it’s surprising that after many black murders by white policemen that have gone unpunished, only few in the black community have begun to talk of self-protection. But we have suffered enough.

An armed black resistance to racist white policemen would lead to many easily predictable disasters and escalating violence, but for those talking self-defense the end is near, they can’t sit still and watch genocide come. Politicians and top police brass around the country, it seems, would want to avoid the dangers of such a situation.

So I offer an out.

Except for the mostly delusional white people who watch a certain cable news station, most white people are wary too of the killing of innocent black people that takes place in their names and with their tacit approval. They would also like an out.

As a good faith gesture of conciliation to the black community, police departments around the nation should create South African style reconciliation commissions and grant amnesty to members of their departments who confess to wrongdoing that has resulted in the death or conviction of an innocent black man. The chief components of the program would be, first, to encourage police officers to come forward to confess trumped-up, planted and fabricated evidence they have used to convict otherwise innocent black men. Officers who have helped to cover up wrongdoing by fellow officers should be encouraged to come clean. These officers would in turn receive amnesty for their actions and even be allowed to keep their jobs. They should also be made to spend time in the classrooms with new cadets giving lectures designed to break the blue wall of silence and to prevent it from being forwarded down to new recruits.

Such a program would generate enough lawsuits to bankrupt cities and towns and hamlets so a reasonable (bad word) scale of monetary compensation should be drawn up that a wronged prisoner would have to agree to receive in place of a lawsuit. This is a far-fetched idea, I know, but it is the kind of bold action that’s needed to create (most people would say restore) confidence in policemen in the black community.

The program could last five years. Any cop found to have a dirty undisclosed background after the end of the program would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Black lives matter.

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About Horace Mungin

Horace Mungin is a writer and poet. He has published many books. See more at

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One comment

  1. Dr Joseph S. Maresca

    Police across the country would be helped by better training, wearing cameras and more use of community policing as is done in places like New York City.The idea behind community policing is to have people familiar with neighborhood issues on routine patrol to anticipate crime and actually witness the actions of the police. Mayor Dinkins accelerated this program in the early ’90s with good overall results.

    The other remedy is to bring individual cases to the Civil and Criminal Courts to discourage future unjustified police incidents and compensate people fairly. Citizens who have been victims of police over-reactions need monetary compensation for their pain,suffering and feeling of insecurity. Traditionally, the burden of proof has been on the plaintiff(s) to convince the court that the case has merit. Once the meritoriousness of a case has been established, a jury will decide on the appropriate monetary damages usually limited by statute, by an Appellate Court in the individual circuit or by the United States Supreme Court.

    The idea for a formal reconciliation council to arbitrate conflicts between the police and the community has merit in areas where there are substantial and continuing difficulties between the police and individual community members.