I am an African-American police officer for a Los Angeles County law enforcement agency. I believe that it is high time that we African-American cops come out of the "closet" and let the American people know that yes, there are some bad cops out there and these cops are abusing their authority by senselessly abusing citizens; yes, African-Americans and other minority groups are targeted by the police; yes, racism exists in not only the Los Angeles Police Department but in most, it not every, law enforcement agency in the Southland.
African-American police officers have been placed into a very sensitive and compromising position. Either we speak out against our fellow officers and suffer the consequence of being attacked verbally, emotionally and possibly physically, or we remain silent and allow citizens to be disrespected, physically abused and stripped of their civil rights.
We have failed by allowing the Rodney King incidences to continuously occur. We have failed by allowing certain practices within police departments to go unchallenged and unheard.
There are those of us who do not deserve to carry a badge and a gun. There are those administrators who choose to look the other way and then claim that it's not happening in their department. There are those who condone the behavior exhibited by the officers in the King incident.
I can't help but think that King could have easily been my father, brother, cousin or other loved one. But the most frightening thing about the King incident is that Mr. King could have been me.
RICHARD L. CARROLL JR.