Virginia Councilwoman Angelia Williams Graves Links KKK To Cops
October 19, 2016 (Fault Lines) — According to the Washington Post, Norfolk Virginia Councilwoman Angelia Williams Graves told a crowd of 200 or so attendees at an NAACP luncheon early this month that “Yesterday’s Ku Klux Klan members are today’s Police Officers.” Graves stated that:
Modern racists have taken off their white hats and white-sheeted robes and put on police uniforms. Some of them have put on shirts and ties as policymakers and some of them have put on robes as judges.
The local chapter of the NAACP tried to put a bit of distance between themselves and Graves, saying:
We certainly apologize to any person in attendance who were [sic] offended by her message. The NAACP is an organization aimed at bringing people together and not dividing them and continues to be committed to equal protection and justice for all.
When an elected official sounds like she’s painting all cops with the same brush, the local police union is sure to chime-in. Quickly. Keith Winingear, President of the Norfolk Fraternal Order of Police said:
It’s disheartening when you don’t have your elected city officials standing behind law enforcement. There’s good and bad policemen just like there’s good and bad doctors. There’s a greater percentage of law enforcement — a far greater percentage of officers who do good.
The “vast majority” argument is used extensively by law enforcement, but saying it over and over again doesn’t make it true. This week, Terrence M. Cunningham, the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said that in order to regain the trust of minorities police must begin:
(T)o acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color
He went on to point out that many local state and federal laws were racially biased and made police:
(T)he face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens, ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans.
This, of course, aroused the ire of William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations:
Such appeasement of the violent anti-police movement is just one more nail in the coffin of American law enforcement. The people who support American police officers aren’t looking for an apology. And for the people who hate the police, it won’t make any difference.
Johnson conveniently ignores the fact that the “violent anti-police movement” he mentions, consisting of unrelated individuals, some with known mental health issues, has produced far fewer need for coffins this year; more than 700 fewer than police officers in this country.
Cunningham’s words seem to echo what Councilwoman Graves was attempting to say, although less eloquently. While it’s encouraging that a high-ranking and respected police official would make such an admission, this may be his last public address as he is stepping down this week. This brings to mind another great farewell speech in which President Eisenhower warned us all about the “Military Industrial Complex.
We all know how well that went.
Given that the police and those who speak for them are willing to dig-up any dirt they can on a recently-deceased victim of a police shooting, including how many times he or she had detention in high school or any sort of arrest or altercation going back to birth if they can find it, then it’s not unfair or “violent” to look at whether or not the Ku Klux Klan or other racist groups are infiltrating law enforcement, the legislature or even the judiciary.
Many might be surprised to know that the great Supreme Court Justice and former senator, Hugo Black, was once a member of the KKK. His record on the Supreme Court certainly would not lead you to think so; he admitted he was and said he regretted the decision to join. Over the years, many politicians were rumored to be members.
For elected and appointed government officials like prosecutors and judges today, membership in such an organization would be hard to conceal. In electoral contests, the other side digs for dirt. Vetting for appointed officials like judges is equally rigorous.
The Ku Klux Klan is widely perceived to have lost its influence in the years after the turbulence of the civil rights movement. However, as the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, there are hundreds of white supremacist hate groups in the United States, even a few black supremacist groups. Anyone who actually leaves their home on a regular basis knows that racism isn’t just a Black, White or Hispanic problem. Racism is everywhere.
If you are a real hater and the fact that the system is gamed in favor of caucasians is not enough for you, then law enforcement is an ideal profession where traditionally people have been able to wrap that hate up in the color of law to use against their victims. In 2006 the FBI released a seven-page warning about what they called “Ghost Skins.” This is apparently Neo-Nazis attempting to infiltrate American law enforcement through quietly assimilating and not drawing attention to themselves. One begins thinking about the irony of the FBI, with its stellar record of racism, sounding such a warning until you read this passage:
The primary threat from infiltration or recruitment arises from the areas of intelligence collection and exploitation, which can lead to investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources and personnel.
No mention of the primary threat to the lives of people who get on the wrong side of these infiltrators weapons. When you look at the FBI “What We Investigate” page, it’s there in glaring print:
Since its earliest days, the FBI has helped protect the civil rights of the American people.
This willingness to blatantly ignore history shows how institutionalized racism is. A far better declassified warning from the FBI would be:
We don’t need any “Ghost Skins” or other infiltrators; We got this.
Looking at the list of things the FBI investigates under the heading of “Civil Rights,” try to think of how many times these investigations such as color of law violations have actually resulted in any significant punishment for those investigated: too few.
Over the last few years, a number of cops have been exposed as either Ku Klux Klan or some other white supremacist groups; a couple of cops in Florida; a couple in Texas. Most of the cases one can find are a bit inconclusive as to whether the officer was actually affiliated with a hate group. The notorious Lynwood Vikings of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department come to mind, but they did have an Asian member which doesn’t jibe well with the label “Neo-Nazi.” The occasional tattoo is seen on a cop drawing much speculation but not enough evidence to prove affiliation with an organization.
Most people come to racist beliefs in much the same way. It’s taught from a very early age. If someone teaches you that a person with different skin color is inferior and reinforces that belief all your life, and the institutions around you do nothing to dispute it, you would be hard put to see it any other way. This is the real infiltration of law enforcement. It’s the ones who quietly harbor their hate and dish it out on their victims under color of law that are the real threat.
As long as the institutions support the lack of accountability that allows racism to flourish this will continue. Councilwoman Graves has it wrong. Modern racists don’t wear white robes or hoods.