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Watch ‘The Black Cop: A Villain, A Victim And A Hero​’ Documentary

As the story of Tyre Nichols rippled through the cultural consciousness over the past week, I kept thinking about this short documentary we watched last year. The Black Cop: a Villain, a Victim and a Hero​ won the British Short Film category at the 2022 BAFTAs. It’s the story of one Black British cop, Gamal ‘G’ Turawa, who was an officer in the Metropolitan Police. It’s the story of how he buried his Blackness in the face of rampant racism among his fellow officers, how he buried his sexuality in the face of rampant homophobia among his fellow officers, and how the culture of the Met is toxic to its core. He details his upbringing in an adopted white British family, his many years of experience as a Black cop, and how he absorbed and internalized the racism he faced in order to protect himself from it. How he became “us” and the people who looked like him became “them,” so that the Met establishment and his white colleagues knew they could “trust” him to act in their self-interest, and not in his own. It’s a tragic but uplifting story of a man who lost himself to the mental, physical, and spiritual brutality of the so-called law enforcement but found and freed himself.

Policing is an institution of the past. In America, it began as a way to terrorize enslaved African people. In Canada, it began as a way to terrorize indigenous people. More than bearing bad apples, the very roots of the tree are poisonous. It has always been, and always will be, an institution intended to protect property, not people. It is an institution built to protect white supremacist colonial capitalism, and it’s doing its job as intended. But as the rest of society is extracting itself from white supremacist colonial capitalism, the police are becoming more and more irrelevant, and more and more violent.

Is it surprising that in response to the public’s calls to defund the police, our governments have actually increased their funding? Is it surprising that in response to the public’s calls to abolish the police they’re building a cop city? What does the government’s scramble to militarize and increase our police forces in the wake of increased police brutality say about how they view us?

It says they are terrified. It says they know we’re powerful. It says they need to enforce a culture of separation, hate, poverty, inequity, desperation, ignorance, greed, and gluttony on us; keep us medicated and uneducated and unaware of our power and what could happen if we woke up one day and united across all of our false barriers.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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