Original article by Dan Zak and Ellen McCarthy published July 6, 2020
As the country is entering into another month filled with protests, black and brown police officers are left in an awkward position. The job they signed up for is now under extreme scrutiny, following the death of George Floyd. They signed up for the job because they wanted to make a change but have found that prejudice runs deep in the state of policing.
Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, a former Philadelphia police officer, continues to be an outspoken supporter of those who are protesting. In her interview with the Washington Post, Sheriff Bilal would go on to discuss her experience with Philadelphia police officers as she was growing up in North Philadelphia. She also shed some light on what she experienced as a police officer.
Sheriff Bilal stated that, “police officers beat up my brothers. We thought they were the occupied enemy in my neighborhood. We would be up on the roofs throwing stuff down at them. We saw nothing good from them.”
Sheriff Bilal would go on to becoming a police officer to enact change. As a recruit, Sheriff Bilal experienced the injustice that has been plaguing policing for so long. She discussed how white officers would not face punishment for wrongdoing while black officers would be punished for the same thing. She also witnessed an online message board for city police officers become a place where obscene racial remarks were often made.
Sheriff Bilal knows that work must be put in for policing to be changed on the inside so that when officers are out on the street, they are doing the proper work.
To read Sheriff Bilal’s interview with The Washington Post, click here.