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June 15, 2020  

Society's Crisis Goes Deeper than Bad Police

Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, June 15, 2020

 

Growing up in the small West Virginian city of Parkersburg was like living in peaceful times where everyone knew their neighbors. The police did not wear bullet proof vests, carry semi-automatic weapons and taser guns, or bring in armored vehicles when there were social disturbances. There were no SWAT teams breaking doors nor racial profiling through Stop and Frisk policies.  People prided themselves in knowing there was a police officer living in their neighborhood. We all attended the same schools. The only segregated street historically for the Black community was called Sumner Street.

Yet all of that changed after the Second World War. In 1950, my best friend Tony Bartlett was an African American neighbor who lived down the street. If there was any racism, it was silent and hidden. However, I was just a kid, too young to appreciate the African American experience of systemic and repressive racism.

What I did know was that the police force could assure law and order without ever unholstering their guns.  My godfather was Russell Mawry who was the police chief. He said that for the majority of non violent crimes there was no need for heavy-handed tactics. Rather these were misdemeanors due to poor judgment by neighbors and could be handled peacefully.

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