A malt liquor can, police tape, a Newport cigarette box, and a Popeyes chicken container on a Christmas tree would have unsettled me had I walked into the Fourth Precinct police station, in Minneapolis, needing help. This is the infamous station where Black Lives Matter activists staged a weeks-long protest following the Jamar Clark police shooting verdict three years ago.
Kudos to Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arrandondo for quickly reprimanding the officers responsible for what has been called "dog whistle" racism, a tactic where the words are not blatantly spoken, but the callousness of the imagery hearkens back to Jim Crow.
I've been urging Minnesota leaders, and the nation, of the need to merge the full Black history with world history, which will go a long way in mitigating the institutional racism that informs cops like the offending officers.
According to Miski Noor, a Black Lives Matter organizer, in a Daily Planet article following the Jamar Clark protest, "The Fourth Precinct used to be a community center called 'The Way.' It was this space of Black Revolutionary love, they were doing the same work we're dong now, trying to build a better world... ."