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Blue Wall of Silence Inhibits Racial Integration in Police Departments

by Kevin Bliss

An article published May 25 by government watchdog organization VICE News stated that many police departments see a large number of Black police officers quitting. According to the report, Black police have a hard time coping with pressure from supervisors to crack down on low-level offenses and work to meet quotas put out by the department. The end result is Black police feel they have to target other Blacks and minorities in order to meet these objectives.

New York Police Officer Christopher LaForce quit ten years into his career. He said he wanted to join the force ever since he was a young boy. He wanted to do something to make his community better. But, he said he left conflicted with his job having to ticket people for such innocuous activity as leaving the subway station through the gate instead of the turnstile. He stated that when he pushed back, his supervisors began reducing any overtime he may have accumulated, refused authorization to pick up off duty work, and deny him vacation time.

Greensboro, North Carolina police Jaquay Williams used the social media TikTok on his patrol to better connect with the public. He carried 50,000 followers on his account and the praise of his supervisors. At least until he posted a one-minute long rant against the Minneapolis police for the death of George Floyd. The video received 1.6 million views. But, William's supervisors thought it inappropriate to condemn the mission of any police department. Williams stopped posting such messages on TikTok, but did an interview on the Tamron Hall show. Two months later he was fired, although he was told it had nothing to do with his statements.

Former East Orange Police Department officer DeLacy Davis said the Blue Wall of Silence is real. If police speak out in violation of that unwritten code, they are often punished or forced out. Davis discovered after he retired that he was under investigation for 17 of the 20 years he served on the force. Every time he spoke out against police injustice he was placed under some form of investigation.

The article stated that Black police are in a unique position where they are compelled to carry out their responsibilities which they understand contributes to the systemic racism they originally join the force to combat while being forced by the Blue Wall of Silence from speaking out against it.


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