In kindergarten, I learned to view police officers as superheroes in human form, selfless individuals who would sacrifice their lives for the well-being of others. Most of the police officers I have interacted with fit this model perfectly, but I still can’t dispel the lingering doubts which arise when I hear of events like those in Ferguson, Staten Island, and Baltimore. Never before have I seen the gilded heroes of my childhood inspire such senseless violence, chaos, and bloodshed as they have in recent months. There must be justice for the unwarranted deaths of both civilians and police officers, but it should come through logical solutions and compromises rather than reckless emotion and vengeance.
The African-American community certainly has the right to demand change and reparations after the shootings of civilians by police officers; the ones we often see on television only comprise a small part of the 258 African-Americans fatally shot by police in the last year. Although many of those shootings were justified, the Washington Post reported in 2015 that police officers shoot African-American civilians at a rate that is 2.5 times higher than the rate for white civilians, a tragedy in itself.