The US police has been under fire lately for its shootings on unarmed victims. Just 3 days ago, a video was released of a Texas officer brutally treating a woman of African-American descent, hurting, and even throwing her to the ground multiple times. And for what reason? Just because she beat a stoplight?
The woman’s name is Breaion King. She works as an elementary school teacher, which is a very noble profession. She didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Breaion still gets emotional every time she remembers the incident. She was humiliated and treated inhumanely by the police officer (Bryan Richter) to the point that she now lives fearfully. How can people live like that? Is that living at all? Richter’s actions were worse than those of a criminal.
The video shows that racism is still very much prevalent in the country. Abraham Lincoln might have been instrumental in eradicating slavery but, sadly, the oppression seems to have just taken up a new form.
Seeing videos like this make us wonder about the integrity of police. Are they for us? Or against us? Are they there to protect us? Or hurt us? Are they there to serve us? Or enslave us? It really bring us to question, “Couldn’t they be more compassionate?” Breaion tells it like it is in a newspaper interview, “I’ve become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me.”
These questions are the same questions asked by Officer Tommy Norman of North Little Rock, Arkansas. “Can a police officer have love? Can a police officer have compassion? And can a police officer care? The answer is yes.”And he has demonstrated that every single day for the last 18 years that he has been in the force.
He gets out of his police car every day, patrolling a predominantly black community, which he describes as a low income type area, where the poverty rate is above 21%.
His posts on his various social media accounts show how he does his work as a police officer. He is particularly close to the children – they come running towards him, instead of away from him. He really spends time with them, even giving them snacks, toys, and other treats. Last year, he presented 50 North Little Rock School District (NLRSD) students with backpacks and $50 gift cards from Shoe Carnival, an offshoot of his “Shop with a Cop” program, which helps financially struggling students.
And people have started to take notice of the good work that he does. Just recently, rapper The Game (real name: Jayceon Taylor) initiated a GoFundMe campaign for Officer Norman’s work with the goal of $50,000. The fund now has more than $72,000, just 2 weeks after it started.
Barbara Johnson, one of Officer Norman’s residents, has this to say about him. “I met Officer Norman 14 years ago off of 16th and Sycamore. I was having problems out of one of my children, and he came in and kind of talked to them and guided them and ever since then he’s kind of been in my life.” The adulation is real. Nothing is staged. And Officer Norman is humble too. He has really reached deep into the community he serves, breaking down barriers, building friendships, and restoring trust in the process. That’s just the kind of policing Officer Norman does.
And the other cops in the country can learn from him about the essence of community policing as he really raises the bar of what being a police officer should be all about. “Sitting in your car driving up and down the main thoroughfares – you’re not going to make a difference.” To be effective, Officer Norman said, “You got to be out there every single day, you can’t skip a day. You have to stay committed and more importantly, it has to come from the heart.” Also, “Police officers should treat people with dignity and respect, no matter what kind of crime they committed. Don’t talk down to them.”
If you want to support Officer Norman and his cause, you may follow him on his different social media accounts:
Amidst back-to-back reports of police brutality, we can only hope that the tribe of Officer Norman will increase and that the other cops will follow his lead and not look at religion, class, or color.
“When you put on that uniform and you put on that badge and get in that police car, your heart should be leading the way…Your badge should have a heartbeat.” Officer Tommy Norman
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