A Different Perspective

What if the Floyd and Brookes families had migrated to Ghana? The nation on the West Coast of Africa was the first Sub Sahara British Colony to get its independence. Relatively prosperous, the English speaking nation might be a reasonable destination for Blacks uncomfortable in the US. Unfortunately, fate still plays out in the new location. George Floyd passes a counterfeit bill at an Accra market and gets arrested. The arresting officer in charge has him down and presses a knee on Floyd’s neck till he dies, while other officers standby. There are several onlookers, some recording the incident. The offending policeman appears to be aware of their presence but doesn’t seem to care. Everyone is shocked at a seemingly senseless murder. Why did the policeman do it? Investigators look for clues. It’s determined that the policeman likely knew his victim. The policeman’s wife left him the next morning, Maybe he had a domestic crisis. Did he have a breakdown? Both men worked at the same nightclub. Floyd had multiple drugs in his system. Did any of this play into the officer’s murderous decision? Investigators work to solve the mystery.

Rayshard Brookes was found passed out in the drive-thru lane at an Accra fast food restaurant. The police are called, and they find Rayshard is intoxicated. Everything is peaceful until they arrest him for DUI. Brookes then attacks the policemen, grabbing one of the policemen s taser. He tries to flee but fires the taser at one of the officers. The policeman returns fire, killing Rayshard. All of it is caught on tape. Police investigate to determine if it was a reasonable shooting.

This sounds pretty much like what happened to Floyd and Brookes in Minneapolis and Atlanta. Bad things can happen in Accra or most any other city in the world. Someone in law enforcement suddenly commits an unfathomable act or kills someone resisting arrest. So what makes the same thing happening in Accra rather than the Twin cities or Atlanta different? There is no question of a racial motive by law enforcement. Ghana’s population is almost totally black. They have excessive force issues like any other city in the world, but obviously, it’s not based on race. They investigate each case based on the actual facts, not “institutional Racism.”

Does this mean there is no bigotry based lawlessness in the US? Of course not. I think Ahmaud Arbery’s death will prove to be a result of prejudice. We know it was behind the Charleston church massacre. However, ugliness isn’t confined to just blacks and whites. Lives were lost in the conflict between Jews and Blacks in Crown Heights, NY. Race-based gangs battle each other in and out of our prisons. But there is no basis to believe all deaths of Blacks at the hands of white policemen are racist.

The reason I say this is the problems between police and the residents of less wealthy areas of cities is a problem the world over. Almost every city we visited the world over had dangerous areas tourists were advised to avoid. This is true, regardless of whether it entails more than one race or not. Accra is an almost totally black city that doesn’t shield it from friction between the police and residents. More impoverished areas have more crime. Those crimes tend to be more violent. These areas need more policing to protect those living there. More police mean more encounters. That means more chance of ugly incidents. If the police pull back, the residents suffer. If the police feel you’re throwing them under the bus, few good people will want the job. Finding the proper balance is the “Holy Grail” for police departments across the globe.

Continue reading