By Final Call News

In case after case, from a sophomore girl slammed to the floor in a South Carolina high school, to a bikini-clad teenager kneed in the back in Texas, to an unarmed 18-year-old shot to death in Ferguson, Mo., attempts to dismiss possible police wrongdoing are couched in a single two-word phrase: “Just obey.”

“Just obey.”

The false argument is police officers have a job to do and need the authority to do it. Orders given by officers should be obeyed and if obeyed things won’t escalate and everything will be fine.



Law enforcement officers are hired to serve and protect the public. Service and protection implies that there is a certain amount of respect due to civilians who pay salaries and whose assistance is needed in solving crimes. Protection doesn’t come at the cost of civil liberties nor are rights to be sacrificed in exchange for making people safe. The job is based on an oath to act in the public interest which does not include a clause saying freedom must be given up in order for officers to do their job.

And while some of the highest law enforcement officials in the country at the Justice Dept. and the Drug Enforcement Agency may try to hide behind the socalled “Ferguson Effect,” whining that scrutiny of officers is making cops leery of doing their jobs, nothing can be accepted as an excuse for the often deadly misconduct of rogue officers.

Crime isn’t up because officers are afraid to do their jobs, just look at the ceaseless numbers of videos showing officers shooting, beating, kicking and abusing Black men, women and children that keep coming out. The recent spike is crime is likely aided and abetted by cops violating their oaths to protect neighborhoods that are often underserved and then brutally served. Just ask anyone who reports “shots fired” in the ‘hood how long it takes for officers to show up. That leaves a suffering community at the mercy of criminals with guns and badges and criminals who just carry guns.

“Just obey.”

That mantra also serves to give officers an added aura of invincibility that leads to abuses in their own homes and in the streets that they patrol. It fosters a culture of cover-up within police departments. Reporting of misdeeds of officers is frightening and often sketchy, especially when it comes to domestic violence and sexual crimes.

“Two studies have found  that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent of families in the general population. A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24 percent, indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general. A police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community,” warns the National Center for Women and Policing.

“In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, the Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a sixyear period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited onduty intercourse,” the wire service reported in November.

“The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action. California and New York–with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies– offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct. And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records,” the Associated Press said.

“Just obey.”

It didn’t work well according to 13 Black females in Oklahoma City, Okla., who accuse Officer Daniel Holtzclaw of sexually assaulting them. The women told prosecutors they were coerced into giving the White officer oral sex, performing sexual favors or raped after he stopped them. One charges the officer forced her to provide oral sex while handcuffed to a bed in a hospital. Many of the women had drug or other problems with the law, but one grandmother did not. She charged “The Claw,” which seems a nefarious title now and was the officer’s name as a college football player, made her perform oral sex. Unlike others she reported the assault, a DNA sample was taken and helped fuel an investigation that led to a trial underway now.

Off. Holtzclaw is charged with rape, forcible oral sodomy and sexual battery. If convicted on the 36 charges, he could go to prison for life. He has pleaded not guilty.

“Just obey.”

A family member of one of the women allegedly abused told The Final Call, the power, the gun, the authority wielded by Off. Holtzclaw left the women in a Catch-22. He was law enforcement and they were at his mercy, said the family member.

He said there are stories that the accused officer was brazen in actions in the Black side of town and that a husband of one woman was told to leave and threatened with arrest because the officer wanted sex with the man’s wife.

“He is pretty known as a rogue officer in the community,” said the family member. “It reminds me of the plantation when the slave master would pick a sister, take her from her husband and have his way with her.”

Now these Black women are victimized again as the defense questions their character and the truth of how the officer abused them, he added. An All-White jury is hearing the case.

The victim in his family hasn’t been able to hold a steady job, fears law enforcement and wonders if other officers will try to intimidate or kill her, he said. “She’s kind of traumatized by officers,” he added.

“Just obey.”

The answer to predatory policing isn’t blind obedience to officers and extreme scrutiny of victims who suffer at the hands of officers. The answer is accountability and consequences, not public relations or videos of cops dancing the “Nay Nay.” When officers are jailed for the criminal acts they commit, some balance can begin to be brought to this equation and the gang in blue can be reined in.

How about officers “just obey” the law or suffer the consequences?