Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Open Letter to the Female African American Police Officers of the NOPD

Today I witnessed, intervened, stopped, and then called in, an incident of an African American woman being beaten by an African American man. I drove up to the scene witnessing the woman being repeatedly and brutally punched in the head and face. She was pinned in the back of the SUV, whilst the man, repeatedly beat her in the head. The back of the SUV was open and I witnessed the assault. The beating only ended by my beeping the horn and parking behind the vehicle, continuing to beep. The man stopped beating the woman and came after me, threatening me, then ran back to the vehicle preventing the woman from escaping when I asked her if she wanted to come with me in my vehicle. She said yes, but could not escape, he locked the door as I was talking to her and got in the vehicle and began driving away. He backed up to continue his threats to me and I asked through the window if she wanted me to call the police and she said yes. When the man heard this he began to drive away, I heard her cry out to me "please call the police".

The purpose of this letter is to address the difference between a "fight" and a "beating - assault." When I described the event to the first officer who took the call, an African American Officer and a woman, she remarked about it being a "fight". I corrected her that it was not a "fight". I received a call back from another African American Officer - also female, who also said to me when I described what happened, "it was a fight."

My sisters, a man beating a woman repeatedly and brutally in the head as she is penned into a vehicle and unable to escape is NOT a fight. A woman pleading to escape a violent incident is not a woman in a fight. Too many times in my brief time here in New Orleans living in the African American community have I seen my sisters beaten and abused. And I find the tolerance of abuse and assault far too high. I was shocked not only by the brutality of the beating I witnessed today, but again twice more when WOMEN officers both labelled the assault as a "fight".

Until the cycle of abuse/assault is identified and labelled for what it is first in the home, then in the neighborhood and communities, I fear that female officers such as the ones I engaged with today, will continue to have a high tolerance for what constitutes abuse and assault on African American women.

I pray the SUV was found and the man arrested. I pray that the woman is able to leave the situation she has found herself in with this man. I pray for a greater and more compassionate understanding between African American women when it comes to violence and abuse. I pray for the children who are continually exposed to abusive and violent situations from both their male and female parents. I pray for an end to the familial and generational tolerance of abuse and violence. And most of all, I pray that there might be more sensitivity then I experienced today on the part of those who are in positions of protecting the community. And lastly, I pray for a lower tolerance level when it come to abuse and violence in the African American family.