Training doesn’t cure racism





Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau tells us “This is not who we are.” Then who are you?

Officers are caught being racist and all that happens to them is they get suspended with pay. They are not punished; they are rewarded with a paid vacation. Apparently this is who you are, departmental policy proves it.

After being racist, officers get paid time off to go fishing, to sit at home and watch TV. Tell us again who you are not.

The police chief said she “plans to examine the departments training.” Now this is a slap in the face to people of color, that it is lack of “training” that is causing officers to be racist, that they haven’t been properly trained to not be racist, as if all of us are walking around being racist and the cure is training.

You’re going to blame it on training? That’s nonsense. It’s no different than saying that police officers who raped a woman were not properly trained. We need to “examine the department’s training. We need to train our officers to not be rapist.”

Racism just keeps getting excused, excused, excused, as though the wrong is not racist behavior; the wrong exists in the improper training. What is our police chief trying to say? That officers are not aware that racism is wrong, and training them better would inform them that it is wrong? That officers use racial slurs because they’re not properly trained?

“Chief Harteu, what did I do wrong? They never told me during my training that I could not talk to Blacks that way.”

They’re still playing games downtown. They refuse to give Blacks the same level of humanity they give Whites.


Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.