Race issues in BloNo need to be addressed

admin

Argus Staff

 

Controversy has swirled regarding the encounters between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson, and Eric Garner and the NYPD. One thing those events have had in common is that they did not take place in very close proximity to Bloomington-Normal.

The incident involving Bloomington’s own Sergeant Shumaker changes that. Shumaker’s racist comment wishing for the death of a black man from the Normal community brings the issue of race to our doorstep.

There have been a lot of questions regarding the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, mostly due to the questionable eyewitnesses in Ferguson and the clash of opinions in New York. There are arguments on both sides of the spectrum. Some say that the cases were racially-fueled, others say that it was simply misconduct on the part of the officers, and that Wilson’s and Garner’s deaths were not the product of racial profiling or racist policemen.

But with Shumaker, those questions do not apply. Being caught on an audio recording saying that you hope a black man “bleeds to death” is, without a doubt, a racial slur and implies that Shumaker is a racist. If racists are not allowed to be on a jury for a trial, why should we allow racists to continue to be a part of our law enforcement?

Though Shumaker reportedly has no history of racism, the fact that he was only given a slap on the wrist with a month’s suspension and a written warning only proves that racism is taken fairly lightly by the Bloomington Police Department. If Shumaker is not only allowed to keep his job, but will have his history of racism cleared from his record in three years, the Bloomington Police Department is sending the message that it’s acceptable to be racist.

Considering the uproar from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, one might think that police forces would take extra care and precaution when dealing with racially sensitive issues among their officers. Instead, they’ve proven again and again that institutional racism is acceptable. It is not. A message needs to be sent.

Police officers should not feel comfortable in their jobs as racists, and we as a society should not stand for letting them get away with racism. They should not feel as though they can say or do anything that they want just because the law will back them up, or because their punishment is so slacked.

The law is created for all man, and, as all men are equal, the law should be upheld by those who also believe that all men are equal.

Though Shumaker may not have shot or strangled anyone to start this controversy, his words gave an insight into his mentality – a mentality that, apparently, the Bloomington Police Department is ok with. This is unacceptable.

Regardless of your feelings on the incidents involving Michael Brown or Eric Garner, one conclusion is inescapable: a clear-cut incident involving racial prejudice was treated with a slap on the wrist, right here in Bloomington-Normal.

Ed Shumaker should not be allowed to continue his position as a Sergeant in the Bloomington Police Department. If we want our law enforcers to know that we do not tolerate racists or racist acts, then we have to eliminate racists from our law enforcement and ensure that history is not repeated.