Over the last few weeks, the country's faith in the police force has continued to be tested, time and again. The fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a nationwide debate about racism and police brutality that has led to some shocking revelations, including St.Louis Officer Dan Page's shockingly bigoted diatribes. And it's not over: now, Michael Elsbury, a Baton Rouge policeman, has been accused of sending racist texts, and though he's resigned, the messages themselves will make you feel like crying/vomiting/hitting something all at once.
According to the Advocate, the text messages were given to the Police Department earlier this week by a non-cop female friend of Elbsbury's, after WBRZ published an exclusive report about them. The phone and texts were passed on to the NAACP state President Ernest
Johnson, and by Wednesday, the force was ready to put Elsbury on administrative leave. But instead, on Thursday,
If you're not near a shower, or at least a puke-bucket, then don't read on: the texts that Elsbury allegedly sent are grimy. One of them says: "I enjoy arresting those thugs with their saggy pants." Another, “They are nothing but a bunch of monkeys. The only reason they have this job is the n*****, n***** in them." But the worst is probably this one: "I wish someone would pull a Ferguson on them and take them out. I hate looking at those African monkeys at work."
Nauseatingly, until his resignation on Thursday, Elsbury had been with the police force for nearly 15 years. Worse? According to WBRZ, his zone — near Southern University — is made up mostly of an African American community.
"It was gut-wrenching to believe that someone had that much hate in them, especially a police officer who is out there enforcing the law every day," said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie. "It made me sick to my stomach." He added:
I believe this is an isolated incident that occurred between the officer and this girl. I do not want this to become a direct reflection on our officers. I have 650 officers, and 649 of them work their butts off every day for the city of Baton Rouge.
While it's true that one racist individual doesn't reflect on the attitudes of the entire police force (it's possible to find a racist individual amongst most groups of people), the point is that someone should have recognized his issues. Somewhere along the 15-year-line, someone should have said, It's not OK that a guy who wants to wipe out a race is allowed to hold a gun and put people in jail. Especially when racism is an issue for the nation's law enforcement, especially when that racism can be fatal.
Really, what it comes down to is this: either he was an incredibly skilled actor and so no one knew (unlikely); or else, no one cared. But it's about time there were stricter policies to ensure that the people enforcing the law don't want to "pull a Ferguson" and "take out" the "monkeys."Images: Getty Images (2)