New York, NY — Dozens of active and retired police officers turned out for a rally in New York on Saturday to make a powerful statement. The officers expressed their support for Colin Kaepernick and his stance against the rampant racism and brutality among police departments from coast to coast.
Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, made his opinions well known last year when he began to take a knee during the national anthem. His freedom of speech and brave activism was hailed as heroic by some but hated by others.
Yes, Kaepernick chose not to stand for the national anthem. So what?
Americans were more outraged over a single NFL player’s personal decision than the oppressive and often criminal government who rules over them.
It is no secret that the war on drugs hits minorities, black people in particular, harder than their white counterparts. These forced confrontations in futile attempts to control what people choose to put in their own bodies all too often become harassing and violent.
Hundreds of thousands of otherwise entirely innocent people find themselves being shaken down, stopped and frisked, harassed, searched, and publicly humiliated as police search for arbitrary substances. The problem is very real and it needs to change. For trying to be a catalyst for the change, Kaepernick was all but tarred and feathered in the mainstream media.
However, some good cops in New York appear to be woke, and have refused to get on the bandwagon of shaming someone for standing up for what’s right.
Sgt. Edwin Raymond, the event’s organizer explained to the New York Daily News, “What Colin Kaepernick did is try to bring awareness that this nation, unfortunately, has ignored for far too long […] And that’s the issue of racism in America and policing in America. We decided to gather here today because of the way he’s being railroaded for speaking the obvious truth.”
In 2015, as the NY Times reported, Raymond joined 11 other officers in filing a class-action lawsuit against the Police Department for policing practices they said discriminated against minority communities.
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“As members of law enforcement, we can confirm that the issues he is saying exist in policing, and throughout the criminal justice system, indeed exist,” Sergeant Raymond said of Kaepernick.
As the country publicly denounced Kaepernick’s stance on police brutality as “anti-cop,” those of us in the police accountability movement know it is a much bigger issue and is not based on simply hating the police. Kaepernick, just like we do here at TFTP, stands against corruption and violence in a system that unfairly punishes the poor and minorities. Only cops who uphold this corruption should have taken offense. Raymond points out this matter quite succinctly.
“They said he disrespected law enforcement,” Sergeant Raymond said. “Well, I’m law enforcement, and he didn’t disrespect me.”
Perhaps the most famous whistleblower cop of all time, Frank Serpico also showed up in support of Kaepernick. Serpico told that crowd, “I am here to support anyone who has the courage to stand up against injustice and oppression anywhere in this country and the world.”
Sadly, however, Raymond’s sentiment and the other NYPD officers who showed up to support Kaepernick seems to be held by only a handful of cops.
Case in point, last year, the police union vowed to stop providing police services unless Kaepernick was silenced.
In a scathing letter, addressed to Jed York, the 49ers CEO last year, the Santa Clara Police Officer’s Association essentially issued an ultimatum demanding the team silence Kaepernick or lose their police service.
“If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate workplace behavior, it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities,” the letter read.
For bravely crossing the blue line and having the courage to speak out against the corruption within, we applaud the men and women of the NYPD who showed up to Saturday’s rally. We hope that their courage serves as an example to other departments who could truly incite radical and peaceful change by simply speaking out.
Only when good people refuse to enforce bad laws will anything ever change.