Opinion

Black female and white cop | Nandell Palmer

It is not uncommon for out-of-state contacts to mistake Federal Way as an extended street address in the way that one would write “Federal Ave.” or “Federal Blvd.”

Somewhere in the address, Seattle would be written in as the bona fide city. That’s a losing battle for which I no longer wage a war. So it is, too, in conversation and e-mail correspondence.

Even though an incident happened some 25 miles north of me, I found myself yet again on the defensive, explaining away the difference between Federal Way and Seattle. Hours before I heard about the recent jaywalking incident involving a white police officer and a black female in Seattle, my cousin e-mailed me from London, England, deploring what some Britons are calling police brutality.

The barrister-at-law (attorney) went on to tell me about the negative ways with which “you all” — “Seattleites” — are viewed throughout England, based on the fracas, which went viral on the Internet.

That’s when I became even more defensive.

I had no choice but to tell him and the rest of the naysayers to mind their own business.

Why only the negative things seem to always make news? I told him that the Puget Sound region is one of the best places to live in the United States, and with its diversity, I’m proud to call it home. I can’t wait to shame him whenever he visits here.

Perhaps there are other video clips circulating with the officer and the teenager. But from the ones I watched, any fair-minded person would give that officer thumbs up for doing his job in the best way he knew how.

The critics said that a trained policeman has no business hitting a female in the face. But nary a word about the female lawbreaker hitting the officer first or interfering with his work.

Racism has no place in that altercation. The officer was simply doing his job. He did not create the jaywalking law.

Every time that miscreant sings “God Bless America,” she ought to sing a few octaves higher than the crowd because she could not hit a police officer in various parts of the world and live to talk about it.

Less than six months ago, the nation was riveted with the loss of four Lakewood police officers, gunned down by seasoned criminal Maurice Clemmons.

With the crowd taunting the officer, that incident no doubt must have flooded back to his memory now dealing with those girls.

Nobody likes getting penalty tickets, but thank goodness we have an avenue to dispute our grievances in the court of law. Those girls had the same choices.

Not for a minute would I ever fool myself and say that racial profiling is not alive and well in some police departments throughout the country.

But we cannot afford to muddle real issues of racism with downright disrespect for the law, displayed by those two young women, et al.

Where has civility gone? There are grown men now who would not even use the word “damn” in front of the mothers, out of sheer respect. And to slap or shove a gun-toting policeman? Never!

The girls’ utter disrespect for law enforcement begs for remediation.

My sympathy goes out to their parents, principals, teachers, pastors, among others who are charged with disciplining them on a daily basis.

It is high time that the gatekeepers in the African-American community to step up to the plate and say enough.

Instead of calling foul on the police officer, use this opportunity to bridge the gap with these out-of-control teens. They are crying out for help.

We cannot afford to tie the hands of our police officers too tight. In hindsight, is it any wonder why those security officers looked the other way while two other black females fought in the tunnel not too long ago?

That tape, too, went viral, putting Seattle again in a bad light.

If that is the trend for teenage girls to beat up on law enforcement, then who could ever blame those security officers for doing nothing?

As my friend Brenda Burke of Edmonds said, when are we going to start applauding the efforts of those policemen and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect decent folk?

Here’s hoping that my London-based cousin and others will get a grip of themselves and become more objective in their assessments of our beloved region: Greater Seattle.

Federal Way resident Nandell Palmer is president of Write A Blessing Media, a document production company. A business journalist for 20 years, he teaches writing and proofreading to corporate and private clients. Contact: palmern777@aol.com.

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