The Black Community and the Police: Do the Police Serve and Protect or Are they Simply Agents of Social Control?
What is the original purpose of the police? The key historical role of the police was to regulate class conflict, that is, to preserve the access of elites to basic resources, protect private property, and control the labor force that's needed to provide the surplus the nation’s wealthy and well-to-do live on. Since the LAPD coined the phrase back in the 1950's, in the popular imagination, it is now to “Serve and Protect.” However, in the case of Black people, the police have always been the coercive arm of the government charged with the responsibility of social control, not with the responsibility of serving and protecting black people. This role played by the police became more conspicuous and deadly as Blacks began moving out of the rural South and into urban cities of the South and industrial cities of the North during World War I. Attracted by the possibility of securing good paying jobs and the opportunity to escape a harsh slavery-like farming plantation system,