In a Facebook video post that has since gone viral, a black female police officer responded to the video of Alton Sterling being shot by police in Baton Rouge with strong words for some of her fellow officers.
“How dare you stand next to me in the same uniform and murder somebody,” says Nakia Jones, who works in the Warrensville Heights, Ohio, police department. “Take the uniform off – you have no business being a police officer.”
The video of Sterling’s death “tore me up”, Jones says in the clip, “because I got to see what you all see”, a reference to broad criticisms of police brutality and violence that have been a major part of a national dialogue since Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson in the summer of 2014. “It bothers me … when they put [police officers] into this negative category because I’m sitting here saying ‘I’m not that type of police officer.’”
Jones describes passionately how she became involved with law enforcement because she “wanted to make a change” in the predominantly black East Cleveland community she grew up in. “I took an oath that I would protect and serve my community by all costs, even if it meant I wouldn’t go home to my one-year-old daughter,” Jones said.
Jones talks about how she was constantly troubled by the behavior of offenders she dealt with as an officer. “Why would you want to destroy your community? I couldn’t understand that. But [offenders are] not sworn to protect and serve either; they didn’t take that oath.”
Jones said what hurt her the most was “people that stood in front of a judge and stood in front of a mayor and said I swear my oath that I will serve and protect this community”, and who turn around and instead create more violence in discriminatory ways.
“If you are white, and you are working in a black community, and you are racist, you need to be ashamed of yourself,” Jones said.