A University of Florida professor recently published an article in “Law and History Review” from Cambridge Journals, which asserts that the racist and oppressive history of police officers in New Orleans have many Blacks viewing cops as “killers behind the badge.”
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Jeffery S. Adler, professor of History and Criminology, researched race and police homicide in New Orleans between the years of 1925 to 1945, alleging that a practice of “fear conditioning” exists even now.
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The research was done using police and newspaper reports between the 20-year time period, focusing solely on the deaths of civilians at the hands of the police. During this time, New Orleans was notoriously crime-ridden and violent, and violent offenders, Black and White, were dealt swift justice that often resulted in death. Blacks were killed at four times the rate of White suspects, with Professor Adler pointing out some facts that possibly contributed to the high numbers.
Adler’s report suggests that cops at the time saw themselves as leaders of a racial hierarchy and that any perceived threat to their superior position had to be snuffed out. Cops were also products of their environment and were often pushed by elected officials and other citizens to be tougher on suspects. Blacks were also a target of the police force after being painted as unruly and volatile. Lastly, Adler says that because of the high number of homicides by police, African-Americans would flee crime scenes to avoid similar fates, often resulting in them being shot after cops gave chase.
Professor Adler shared, “New Orleans patrolmen feared resistance and responded with violence, whereas African-American residents, in turn, feared police violence and responded by increasingly resisting ‘the killer behind the badge’.”
To view Professor Adler’s article, click here.
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