A black female police officer with the New York Police Department has been hailed as a queen after her reaction to being called the N-word went viral. What she had to go through, unfortunately, is reminiscent of the historical struggles of black women in the police force.
Twitter user @_SJPeace_ shared the video of an arrest scene where the suspect was already handcuffed and sitting on the ground.
Ilya Freyman was arrested for punching an attendant’s booth and vandalizing a Brooklyn gas station, but instead of sober reflection, the white male chose to verbally attack one of the officers: an African American woman.
Three officers were visible in the video: two males and the black female. One of the male officers stood to Freyman’s side, apparently warning him to keep quiet. The suspect would not heed, however, stopping now and then to curse at the warning officer.
You can watch the video here. Warning: The video contains strong language.
Throughout his one-minute tirade, the female officer stood stoically, seemingly oblivious to Freyman’s degrading word. The exemplary woman never even dignifies him with a look, much more response.
Daily News reported that Freyman screamed the derogatory term at least 50 times during the incident that took place outside the Ocean Auto Center on Ocean Avenue in Midwood, Brooklyn.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Social media users immediately branded the woman a hero, praising her patience and courage in the face of such hate.
There were, however, those who pointed out that all may not be as it seemed. Twitter user, Hannah Drake noted sadly:
“You think that didn’t cut into the core of her being? You think she didn’t go home and reflect on that? You think she didn’t question her job and why she puts up with this?”
Another user observed that Freyman, a white male, was never beaten or shot at throughout his rant.
A BIGGER PROBLEM
Sadly, what this black female officer had to endure is only a small portion of others had to deal with many years ago. It was worse back then because the hatred often came not just from the streets, but from within the system.
Pia M. Kinney James, the first black woman to become a police officer in Madison, chose her career path after witnessing the existing prejudice in police treatment of black people and their treatment of others.
James recalls her parents trying to dissuade her from becoming a cop.
“They feared for my safety from the officers, not necessarily the street characters,” she said. “They knew about racism and sexism and tried to talk me out of it.”
James’ determination was enough to get her into the Police Department, but it did not shield her from the blatant discrimination in the system.
She was once assigned to a Field Training Officer (FTO) who for a long time refused to speak to her. When he eventually did, the words were:
“I don’t like women in the police department, I don’t like blacks, and I don’t like people on welfare.”
Although women like James broke barriers and paved the way for many more women of color in the Police Fore today, a lot still needs to be done to achieve equality among all races and genders.
A HOMELESS HERO
Meanwhile, while Freyman had all the time in the world to verbally assault the female officer, another gas station suspect in South Carolina was not so lucky.
Donald Songster Brown was being arrested by a female cop on the charges of attempted murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping. A video of the incident shows Brown struggling with the officer. He continues to act tough even after the cop tased him.
That was when Cray Turmon, a homeless man, stepped in.
"She's a woman slammed to the ground, and she's an officer...I saw her belongings hit the ground. She'd done everything she could. It was going to get ugly, ya know? Something had to be done,” said Turmon who tackled Brown and helped complete the arrest.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook honored Turmon with a certificate for his "extraordinary actions to preserve life and aid public safety.”