Marcina Cole: More Police Is Not the Answer

On May 18, Ypsilanti City Council voted to go over budget and hire 3 armed YPD officers and 1 YPD records clerk. The vote was split 4-3, with those opposed expressing concerns about adding to the budget deficit and lack of time for public input, including via the council’s own Police Oversight Commission. On June 1, members of the public spoke and council members defended their votes. The council can still remove the officers from the budget through amendment and can still make time for a public dialogue. In the next few weeks, we will publish here a series of posts to encourage that dialogue.

As a community we need to address what’s going on with Black people. We cannot dismiss the fact that with gun violence and with police, the end result is death. We cannot rely on people outside of our community to end this. Don’t forget about what’s going on in your community that’s taking your mother, your father, your brother, and your sister away. Because a bullet doesn’t have eyes. I lost my brother to gun violence, and it tore my family apart. My mother’s younger brother was violently murdered. Two of my cousins were murdered by gun violence back-to-back. Then my nephew, who had a barber shop and beauty salon in Highland Park, was shot on the street. I had three rallies to Stop the Gun Violence, and Black people rarely showed up. The police drove by and mocked me. Why do you have to wait until it takes one of your loved ones before you do something? We’ve got COVID-19, the government against us, poor housing, lack of adequate jobs, serious illnesses affecting us without the same care as a white person. My son is dead, murdered by Beaumont in Royal Oak.

We need to take care of ourselves. Having additional police is not the answer. The answer is that Black people need to come together as one and stop killing each other, and save lives. We’re dealing with climate change, the air we breathe, the water in our communities is all jacked up. It’s too much. We don’t need to worry about somebody gunning us down because we looked at them wrong. There’s got to be some accountability of the parents, letting their kids run around the streets. Stop ignoring the violence. Adequate jobs, respect, loving ourselves, and loving each other. This disrespect has got to go. Domestic violence in our community—these things have to stop. We can’t always blame it on the white man—we already know that part. The system is all about guns in this country. We don’t have to follow behind people who have a fixation on guns. If you believe in a higher power, then people should focus on life—not just yourself, but sustaining life, the whole ecosystem—all this is intertwined. We won’t survive if we don’t come together. All life is precious, remember that. If we destroy life on this planet we all would perish. Value life not death, love not hate. ❤ ❤

But having additional police is not the answer. Taxpayers are paying the police officers to kill us, bottom line. They’re not going to stop, because they have qualified immunity, and they’re not going to stop because of the police unions, which people don’t address. The police unions are protecting these officers, and we rarely talk about that. Their unions are not like a regular union, like the UAW. They’re there to protect these racist cops from being ousted from their jobs. These cops are shooting us in the back, and these cops are supporting white supremacy. When white supremacists kill folks, mass killings in schools, killing people based on their race, they get a pat on the back by the police, they don’t get shot. Black people might get shot with candy in their hand, pleading for their life, outright murdered. And the judges and prosecutors support police in most cases, and they criminalize us. They assume we did something wrong, say we did drugs at one time, say it’s our fault we got killed. But they won’t lock up the real killers out here, and that’s the white folks that are after us with assault weapons, lobbyists all supporting white folks that have these weapons. The NRA is making billions in the sale of guns, promoting assault weapons, backing up politicians with millions of dollars to support the sale of guns which translates to death to many across this country. They’re treating us like we’re in a civil war. Why would you want these type of guns out here in the streets? They’re not talking about that, they’re talking about needing more police. A lot of us are afraid to drive our cars because we’re afraid we’ll get shot pulling our license out of our wallets. You do everything they say, and still get gunned down. So, these Black people saying they’re safe because they’re a good boy, “I don’t get in trouble, police don’t stop me because I obey the law.” Really? But the police don’t obey the law. They claim they’re here to respect and serve. No, no, no. We know that’s a lie.

So I’m really frustrated with Black folks joining in and saying we need more police officers. It’s like saying we need more deaths. Because they don’t care about Black folks killing Black folks. Those who lost their loved ones, they’re hurting, but others are waiting until something happens to them and then react. We need to fight. It’s just a waste of time to talk about 3 more cops in a small city. They’re doing the same thing in Oak Park, Royal Oak, Ferndale, these metro cities outside Detroit trying to grow the police. Just look at the history of police officers, the slave patrols. They need to be held accountable, they need to go to jail. Mumia Abu Jamal is still in prison, falsely accused of killing a cop, but so many cops don’t serve a day. Watch what I say, Derek Chauvin will be given time served. No one really wants to address gun violence. The solution is you’ve got to have the community come together as one and not depend on someone outside. You’ve got to value your life and others as well. You’ve got to have job opportunities for the people. Why would the police care about Black folks killing Black folks, if we don’t care? We need neighborhood watches, but we don’t need additional police. You know, I think the world would be a better place without the police. We’re talking about systemic racism. Racism is very much alive in the government, police departments—it’s always going to be here until more voices speak up. Sustaining life. That’s the human thing to do.

Marcina Cole is Founder of Reclaim Your Right to Health, Stop the Gun Violence, and Condon Block Club; community organizer and advocate for the elderly in nursing homes, Juwan Plummer, Cornelius Frederick, Noel Night, Move On, and BANCO; former candidate for city council in Oak Park.

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