American Police Practices Based On Slave Patrols

By Ilia Rashad Muhammad

…act not corruptly, making mischief in the land. – Al-Baqarah 2:60

With the issue of police brutality showing its ugly face in the U.S. (especially toward the Black community), it should not be surprising to know that America’s policing systems were not originally established to protect Black people. Police brutality against its darker inhabitants has remained an integral part of America’s law enforcement. A brief study of the U.S.’s police history gives practical understanding of the systemic hatred, torture, and killing of Black people.

 

The Problem

According to Tony Platt, author of Crime and Punishment in the United States, “The genesis of the modern police organization in the South is the ‘Slave Patrol.’” That assessment is further corroborated by criminal justice researchers K. B. Turner, David Giacopassi and Margaret Vandiver, who concluded the following:

The literature clearly establishes that a legally sanctioned law enforcement system existed in America before the Civil War for the express purpose of controlling the slave population and protecting the interests of slave owners. The similarities between the slave patrols and modern American policing are too salient to dismiss or ignore. Hence, the slave patrol should be considered a forerunner of modern American law enforcement.

Whenever Blacks fought and ran away seeking freedom from slavery, more laws and organized enforcement were established to secure the institution of slavery by capturing, punishing, and controlling runaways. Those slave patrols, author Philip L. Reichel notes, were created in the Carolinas in the early 1700s and spread throughout the colonies.

Slavepatrols

According to The History of Policing in the United States by Dr. Gary Potter, “Slave patrols had three primary functions: (1) to chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside of the law, if they violated any plantation rules.”

This concept has not changed much as it relates to modern law enforcement. Far too often police brutality against Blacks commonly occurs as police (1) chase down, apprehend, and subdue Blacks, often resulting in death or severe injuries; (2) provide armed-organized terror squads to deter Blacks from building a viable alternative to a repressive system; and (3) punish Blacks and put them in their subjugated place, especially those who violate today’s plantation-like rules.

Slave patrols and modern police demonstrate the same essential functions as occupying forces of containment, especially in the Black community. They are the same conditions Frederick Douglass described when attempting his first escape from slavery: “At every gate through which we were to pass we saw a watchman—at every ferry a guard—on every bridge a sentinel—and in every wood a patrol. We were hemmed in upon every side.”

For those who know the history, it isn’t shocking to see that the pattern has not changed much in over 300 years because such a system was never designed for true freedom, justice, and equality.

 

Police Trained By Racists

Like the early slave patrols, current policing systems reinforce racist practices by other culpable agencies, departments, and entities. Slave patrols were backed by laws, courts, businesses, and religious groups. Those are the same entities that back and support the unjust killings of Black people at the hands of police today. In fact, many of the officers who’ve murdered innocent Blacks have been rewarded and financially supported as though they’ve accomplished acts of valor—just like the slave patrols.

Today, police departments across the U.S. are influenced and trained by some of the vilest exploiters of the Black community. So-called Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have a history of colluding with the FBI to spy on and plot against Black power groups and movements. Moreover, the ADL boasts of their Law Enforcement Training throughout the U.S. The same departments associated with police brutality against Blacks can be traced to those racist groups who help train the officers and feed them false information about progressive Black groups.

FBI SSA Maury Bas -representing JRIC, Long Beach Police Commander William LeBaron, INP Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld and Sergeant Luis DeAnda -representing OCIAC

The Students for Justice in Palestine also made that connection when the group posted on Facebook that the “genocide” of African-Americans was being perpetrated by those responsible for the “genocide” of Palestinians. This is grounded in the fact that the ADL sponsors police training based on some of the same violent practices Israeli police use against the Palestinians.

This is no different from 300 years ago, when religious groups and businesses that had a vested interest in slavery backed and sponsored the slave patrollers. Among those groups were Jewish merchants and rabbis, for as the Jewish Encyclopedia notes: “the cotton-plantations in many parts of the South were wholly in the hands of the Jews, and as a consequence slavery found its advocates among them.” Today, Jewish groups like the ADL have maintained a vested interest in the systemic containment and exploitation of the Black community. Their influence in public policies and police enforcement—which serve as occupying colonial forces—protects their interests and pockets, not the lives of Black people.

 

Viable Solutions

All cops are not corrupt or racist, but the slavery-based systems from which police departments originated are. Overlooking that reality is also why viable solutions are seldom offered to remedy the pervasive problem of police brutality.

Knowing the racist nature of America’s framework, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad provided solutions and answers for the ongoing policing dilemma. In point number 6 of “What The Muslims Want” he stated the following:

We want an immediate end to the police brutality and mob attacks against the so-called Negro throughout the United States. We believe that the Federal government should intercede to see that black men and women tried in white courts receive justice in accordance with the laws of the land–or allow us to build a new nation for ourselves, dedicated to justice, freedom and liberty.

Since it’s overwhelmingly obvious that America’s current construct is unable to offer justice and equality after hundreds of years, common sense suggests that the most viable solution involves Blacks unifying their talents and resources to do something in the best interest of Black people. As the Honorable Minister Farrakhan further illustrates, “We must take control of the businesses and everything else that is going on in our communities.”

This ‘control’ includes who patrols Black neighborhoods. Activist, city planner, and NOI Representative Dr. Robert Muhammad acknowledged, “The statistics show that when the law enforcement reflects the community that it patrols, the killings are lessened.” Removing White officers and having responsible Black police officers to patrol Black communities may prove to be a helpful start.

In April 1972 when White police wrongfully raided Harlem’s Mosque of unarmed Muslims headed by Minister Farrakhan, the incident resulted in White officers being injured and the death of one. The Minister then ordered all White police officers out of Harlem (Yes, he has that kind of authority). By ordering those officers out of Harlem, he offered a practical solution to protect Black Harlemites from White colonizers and to prevent White officers from facing further fatalities. It benefits both sides.

Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!

Zephaniah 3:1

Separation and independence from governance rooted in systemic corruption have always been the divine solution offered in the sacred scriptures. Moses was instructed to separate from Pharaoh’s slave system, Jesus preached the precedence of God’s kingdom over the Roman authorities and satanic Jews, Prophet Muhammad established a community of equality and justice separate from the idolatrous society.

Apparently the wise prophets had enough sense to organize a better system of governance instead of integrating into one founded upon wickedness. Black folks should do likewise by unifying and organizing under righteous principles. Otherwise, expecting justice in an inherently unjust system is like a butterfly expecting to receive justice in a spider’s web.

When the people realize that justice will never be obtained under such an inherently racist system, maybe we’ll know that separation is the only true solution. As Minister Farrakhan Tweeted, “Separation means we control where we live. Don’t you think we should own where we live, control where we live?”