Well Sheriff Grady, it happened again today…
Another police officer spoke very candidly with me about the benefits of racial profiling. I was visiting your jail with several others to let you know we are not going to allow you to continue putting juveniles in adult jail, but that will have to be covered in another article. Just know that we aren’t going away until our children are safe.
After expressing my concern over racial profiling, the officer responded:
“Racial profiling happens because it works. When I see that Hispanic teenager driving the Jaguar, I pull him over because chances are, he has stolen the car. 80% of the time I am right. I ask him for his papers and find out he is here illegally. They get pulled over because they look like they are guilty. Just like a guy walking around a store with baggy pants… if they don’t want to be followed, they shouldn’t look so guilty.”
Here’s the thing. I have their names, but I’m not interested in taking down individual officers when it is becoming more and more clear to me that this is a culture of racism in your force. Let me be clear, I’m not saying all of your officers are racist. I know many who serve with the highest integrity and are just as appalled as I that members of their team are acting more like Ku Klux Klansmen than Polk County Sheriff Deputies.
I’m going to protect their identities because I want more deputies to come forward. If you are a police officer and wish to speak anonymously about racial profiling, please speak up. I will meet you in person, you can send me an email, or you can comment below.
It is time for the culture of racism to be exposed so that it can be diagnosed and treated. Sheriff, if you aren’t going to take leadership in preventing the illegal actions of your officers, then I will have to keep writing these letters until someone listens.