On a warm summer day a man used a tool to unscrew the locks on my grandmother’s side door with the intent of robbing her.
He also had a gun. So who knows what else he might have done if he gained entrance to the bottom floor of our two family flat. She was alone that day, but she learned of the culprit because of the eagle eye of my childhood pet, Charlie the parrot.
Charlie screamed loudly in panic and would not stop. My grandmother peaked through the curtains to see what upset Charlie. Fear gripped her when she saw the man trying to break into the house with a gun dangling out of his pocket. She immediately called the police who scared the man off and later captured him.
This is why I run a fowl of people who screamed Defund the Police. I never stood with them. And I probably never will.
I think of my poor grandmother who was convinced the would be robber would return to finish the job. I think of Mrs. Wilson who police cruised slowly by her home to make sure everything was OK.
I think of Officer Norwood and other Detroit Police officers I’ve met as a volunteer for Detroit PAL while teaching metro youth about radio and journalism.
Do I believe that some members of the police take an easy way out and kill unarmed black males when they could spare their lives? Yes, it happens. And I don’t like it. When my children wanted to go to a Black Lives Matter protest I supported them. I was happy to see that they cared enough.
I simply told them to wear a mask. And if there was violence, (thankfully there was none) for them to get the heck out of Dodge and return home. They would need the police to stop me from tearing up their asses if I saw them looting a store or dashing into a looted store.
The summer looting was unnecessary and embarrassing. And it bridged a gap between peaceful protesters and the people they needed to convince that this was a necessary and important issue.
I agree with people who want to defund the police when they say every police call is not a police matter. They want to shift funds from the police department to mental health agencies. I say this is America. You can do both. You can increase funds for mental health and maintain police funding if politicians believed it to be important enough.
Unfortunately, they don’t.
Retrain the police? Sure.
Reshuffle the police? I can live with that.
Didn’t the United States government use a form of defunding the police when there wasn’t enough protection at the United States capitol to keep enraged Donald Trump supporters at bay? You see how that worked out. They needed real police, not Barney Fife.
Let me give you another real life story. During my youth I walked from work past a mental health facility downtown. Politicians decreased funding and closed the facility. Less than two days later one of the patients jumped to his death off a pedestrian bridge onto oncoming traffic on the Lodge freeway.
Then it became a police matter.
The man that tried to rob my grandmother bragged a few days earlier that he’d been casing the homes of the elderly and planned to clean up on them and buy new clothes and a stereo system. So people knew who he was.
But when police asked for help from the community people remain closed lipped. They don’t snitch. Even when I asked they would not tell me. So I shamed them.
So you would rather protect a thug who wants to rob a woman who reached into her coin purse to give you her last quarters so you could get something to eat. You do not want to protect a woman who endorsed you for a job?
Nope, I was told. We don’t snitch.
People who I considered friends let me down that day.
The Detroit Police Department and Charlie the parrot did not.
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