One racist cop sets the tone for others


If the bystanders video, which includes an audio track of the Terrance Franklin killing is authentic, then the police’s version of what happened should sound something like “Franklin charged the officers in the basement and then used one of the officer’s guns to shoot two other officers in the legs, causing two other officers to shoot him to death…Oh yes, I forgot, during this encounter, one of our officers called him a freaking damn” add the “n” word.

Chief Harteau, just last month after two racist incidents by off-duty police officers, said, “There will be no tolerance for this. If an officer knows of racism within the force and does nothing, that officer is also part of the problem.”

There were five officers in that basement, the other four all have kept quiet about the racism. That is a total of five officers the chief can add to her list as being part of the problem.

The officer that used the n-word was making a power play, not just upon Franklin, but upon everyone in that basement. He is dehumanizing Franklin, trying to strip him of his humanity, to make it easier to violate him, to kill him. And his racism is also an attempt to intimidate, challenge, and take control of the other officers in the basement. He is saying “You’re either with me and my racist approach or you’re against me.”

The racist cop’s approach is what takes control; the other cops are afraid to challenge it. The racist cop sets the tone; the rest of the cops follow. The racist cop is now in charge, he has struck fear into everyone in the basement. It is all a power/control move on his part, from his lack of self-esteem and self-worth.

Without challenging the racism, the other cops do, in effect, give away their power. They end up serving the racism. The pressure then becomes very strong upon the other four cops in the basement to be racist.

The pressure to dehumanize Franklin and violate him becomes very strong. It morphs into a mob-assault mentality within the officers. The non-racist officers give in to the fear and pressure put on them from the racist cop. The fact hat they are not going public about it proves this. His words were to try and scare and provoke Franklin.

The White man has been doing this to the Black man for a long time, trying to cut deep at the core of his manhood, get him to react, so he then can be cut down. His words are an act of violence, a form of aggression.

Even with this evidence, I’m pretty sure the spineless Grand Jury would still rubber stamp their approval of another killing of a Black man by the police. Chief Harteau, after hearing about the video, said “she stands by the Grand Jury’s decision.” And she really thinks she’s in charge. Racism is running the show!


Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.