The police force in Inkster, Mich., made national news last year when dash cam footage showed an officer choking, punching, and using his stun gun on a driver during a routine traffic stop.
For the recently appointed black police chief of the city, William T. Riley III, police discrimination is a reality he's confronted on the job and in his personal life. He told the Los Angeles Times that although he's never met a police officer “who said they wanted to target black people or do anything other than serve,” he worries about his own children facing police brutality. This is the advice Riley gives his son about dealing with the police:
Whenever there’s a police shooting in the news, Riley can’t sleep. He stays up thinking of his kids.
Malcolm, 23, just graduated from Texas Southern University. “I told him, if you get stopped by the police, you give everything they ask for and you don’t talk back,” Riley says. “And I told him if you do get one who is about to do something crazy, you stop, you look at him, and you say, ‘My daddy is a police chief.’”
The disproportionate violence that young black men in America face from police is something that we're reminded of every day: just this morning, another officer was acquitted of murder in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Young black men are nine times more likely than the rest of the population to be killed by police officers, the Guardian found last year:
Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.
Riley, formerly the police chief of Selma, Ala., was brought in last year try to turn around Inkster's police department, which has a reputation for police brutality and has been the target of public protests since the violent arrest caught on dash cam last year. The Inkster police force is 80% white in a 73% black city, The New York Times reported, one of the least representative police forces in the countr,y according to a Justice Department report released last year.
“Fixing this all isn’t going to be easy,” Riley told the L.A. Times.