It has been nearly a month since 19 children and two adults were ruthlessly shot and killed by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, Texas, and we still don’t know nearly as much about what went wrong with the police response as we should at this point.
In fact, NPR recently reported that “Uvalde city officials are using a legal loophole and several other broad exemptions in Texas to prevent the release of police records related to last month’s mass shooting,” and stories like this are why the #UvaldeCoverup hashtag is trending on Twitter as citizens are outraged at the idea of law enforcement covering for police negligence by misleading the public or withholding any information that makes cops look bad.
Meanwhile, Black people in America seemingly have one unified response to all of this condemnation of law enforcement and their apparent refusal to be forthcoming: We told you so.
The thing is, it’s likely that far too many Black people get frustrated when stories like this suddenly become all the literal rage because we were calling out cops long before it was popular to do so. We were alone in our protests against police violence and misconduct back when it was taboo to criticize the boys in blue—our “fearless” protectors who have “really dangerous jobs” and should be met with nothing less than praise and gratitude for their sacrifices. But now cops are low-hanging fruit. If you cut “back the blue” conservatives out of the discussion, it isn’t even controversial to call them out when there’s a clear reason to do so. And a lot of those calling them out—in the case of the Uvalde shooting, for example—are acting brand new.
But we been told y’all about taking police narratives at face value.
We’ve pointed to the countless reports about police accounts being contradicted by evidence. There have been so many instances where a cop said one thing but video evidence said another. If there wasn’t a camera present when George Floyd was murdered, chances are that his story would have ended with the justice system taking law enforcement’s word that his killing was his own fault—which would have been based on the initial police report, which was proven false. If local law enforcement officials had it their way, no one would ever have been arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery—a case where no arrests were made until months after his death due to what appeared to be an intentional effort by an incestuous cabal of law enforcement to bury it.
The point is, for far too long, the public, the media and certainly, the courts have treated police reports like they were gospel when the truth is police officers have all the same incentive to lie in order to cover themselves that civilians have. What’s going on in the Uvalde Police Department regarding last month’s school shooting there is just another Tuesday for law enforcement in general.
And Black people have been saying this all along. Listen to Black people.