On Wednesday, between Blackish and Chicago PD, police public relations on network television did not have a banner day. Take for example, Chicago PD, in an episode titled ‘The Cases That Need to be Solved,’ where the shooting death of a six year old African-American boy causes a local black Reverend to visit the investigation’s lead detective, Voight (Jason Beghe), over tensions between the gang unit and the community.
The Reverend offers mostly help. But has one condition:
Crowley: You know Reverend Hamilton?
Voight: Yes, I do. It's been awhile.
Crowley: You were assigned to the gang unit for ten years.
Crowley: That's why I want you to lead this investigation. There's been some hard feelings between the current gang unit and some of the residents.
Voight: Sometimes hard feelings are unavoidable, Commander.
Reverend: It's unacceptable, what happened today. As a city, as a society, it cannot be tolerated.
Voight: We're in agreement.
Reverend: I will use every resource, every fiber in my being, to find out who did this, and when I do, I want to know the best course of action.
Voight: Just bring them in. Whoever did this is a lot safer with us than they are out there.
Reverend: Are they?
Voight: You know, I'd rather not make this a referendum on the entire Chicago Police Department.
Reverend: To borrow from the popular vernacular, I need to know that black lives matter to you, Sergeant Voight.
Voight: Black lives do matter to me. Who do you think I've been trying to protect the last 25 years? I'm not the enemy here.
Reverend: Do I have your word that if I facilitate the surrender of the person or persons involved, they will be treated humanely?
Voight: You have my word.
How about the black gang members who shot a black kid in the head? Did black lives matter to them? Let’s take stock of the situation here: a black six year-old is murdered by other black men and the first inclination of the good Reverend is to make sure that the white cops are going to respect the lives of the murderers?
Certainly, no cop should ever kill anyone of any color unjustifiably. But, what would make better use of the Reverend’s time, while making more of a difference in the lives of black people? Warning the police against using excessive force on a couple of monsters who executed a kid? Or, using your position as Reverend to tell other black people, that black lives matter?
After all, what need would we even have for police to investigate black-on-black murder, if there was no…you know…black-on-black murder?