What do police do?

It was a common question when I taught elementary education but the answers were often troubling.
Arrest people.
Take your family away.
Kill people.
Scare me.
These children were in the first and third grades.
My experience with police was quite different. Many members of my family were police, from sheriffs to captains, and I feel acquainted, if not familiar with police. My emergency needs have always been effectively met and I personally feel safe in the presence of uniformed officers.
But my experience isn’t the experience of the children I taught or of many people I know.
On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott was shot and killed during a traffic stop. In the initial report, the officer involved claimed to have feared for his life because Scott had taken his taser. After video showing Scott flee for his life surfaced, the officer was charged with murder.
#WalterScott is overlaid images from the shooting video. It is a mixed media piece, watercolor, wax, acrylic and ink on 140lb paper. The work asks the question ‘what do police do?’ by showing officers in three poses: standing over Scott’s body in acrylic, examining his body in marker, and in ink pen above the eye-line, firing a weapon.
We can all do better. Encourage body cameras for all officers. Demand accurate data regarding police-involved shootings. Demand third party investigations.

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