|Glenn Townes press pass|
By Glenn Townes
The headlines in all of the national and local newspapers would read something riveting and intriguing like, Former cop reporter brutally beaten by police.
As an African American man and former correspondent for a national police and law enforcement publication, the headline, subsequent story, photos and video of my swollen face, bruised and fractured limbs, while being handcuffed and slammed down to the ground–with a knee on my neck or even worse, a gun to my head, has indeed become a frightening reality for me and other journalists of color in America 2020.
For several years, I wrote plenty of positive and upbeat stories about law enforcement and police officers. Often, I would profile an outstanding police officer that was going above and beyond the call of duty in and out of his community. I recall writing an informative piece about how community policing was becoming the norm. I wrote an article about how some large metro area police precincts were addressing the problem of gang violence. I also did a piece about how some out of shape cops were being required to get back in shape or else, by their commanders. I also recall seeing a local news report one summer about how one police precinct awarded law abiding motorists a voucher for free ice cream at a local store. Somehow, the image of a speeding cop car with sirens blaring, lights flashing and bearing down on me in my rear-view mirror in order to give me a coupon for a free scoop of vanilla for not making a right on red, was a bit unsettling—to say the least. I guess the clever, yet not thought out well marketing strategy, was well-intentioned.
Lastly, it’s an age old adage–there are good people and bad people. I’ll be more direct–there are good cops and bad cops. I’ve met plenty of good cops. Hell, I’ve written and published stories about them. However, I simply can not get the image of George Floyd, a man I never met, out of my head. The horrifying picture of a police officer callously and mercilessly murdering a man, while his bumbling blue, battalion, buffoons blindly stood by and did nothing, will resonate with me and countless others for a long time. Why? Because I saw myself and others that look like me in George Floyd.