Opiates, Race and Indifference: Interview with an Ex-Cop

The system’s narrative surrounding Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin showed cops across the country that the truth is no defense, and you’re damned if you do and actually a lot less damned if you don't. 

John Purcell (fake name to protect his identity) worked as a beat cop for 10 years in a big Ohio city. Purcell resigned from the force after his early idealism began to wear off and he realized he was risking his life to impose an anti-white system of injustice.

Striker: Tell me about your background and what inspired you to become a police officer.

John: I grew up in a working class home with a large, loving family.

I was a bit aimless in my late teens and early 20s, attending community college but not really sure of what I wanted to do with my life. One day a friend of mine suggested joining the police department, and like all young men, I craved adventure and excitement. It was a perfect fit.

When I finally got in, I found a lot of men with a similar background as me. The typical cop's profile is someone who grew up playing sports, has a sense of civic duty, generally working or middle class, went to church and grew up in a conservative home with a strong sense of right and wrong.

Above all, police officers have a strong yearning for heroism and being recognized as heroes. They love winning trophies and medals.

Striker: I’ve always heard that rookie cops are idealistic, but later turn into cynical careerists. Is there anything to this?

John: Absolutely. For the first few years, young men are full of piss and vinegar, wanting to emulate the heroes in action movies they grew up loving. The toll the job takes on you, like injuries, poorly scheduled shifts, attending court, and general stress are easy to brush off when you’re in your early 20s.

Five years in, the job starts wearing you down. 10 years in and you find yourself asking questions about why you’re even doing it.

Striker: White cops policing multicultural neighborhoods see things that defy system narratives about race and society. What kind of political views do police officers usually have?

John: My journey to waking up took time. Few officers are ideological, but “boomer conservatism” is the most consistent vibe you get from them. The best conversations I had were with black partners. We had fairly open and frank conversations about race that were quite interesting as the black officers had their own perspectives. 

Striker: You were performing law enforcement in a place that is largely black and white in a police force that reflects this. What is your opinion of black cops on the force and the way they do their jobs?

John: There are some black cops who come from similar backgrounds as white cops. A good portion of black cops are normal guys who do a great job. With that said, a lot of police corruption tends to come disproportionately from black officers, though the screening process in my district has been decent in weeding out outright criminals trying to join the force.

Anecdotally, the black cops tended to be more likely to lie and have horribly dysfunctional personal lives. Domestic violence is a big issue here. There was one case where a black officer was dating a female colleague and was later fired for pulling his service weapon on her and putting it to her head.  

The biggest flaw in black policemen is their laziness. There is constant tension between cops that want to aggressively tackle crime and those that just want to drink coffee and drive around until their shifts over. There is a rough racial pattern here, where the former tend to be white (but not always) and the latter are more likely to be black.   

Striker: In my experience with the police, ahem, I’ve found that white cops tend to be huge assholes to whites while black ones tend to be nicer. When the suspect is black, I’ve seen the reverse. We always hear from the controlled media that cops treat blacks worse than whites, with disproportionate brutality and shootings, but what’s the reality on how policing intersects with race?

John: One pattern that would be difficult to show with data but is undeniable from the inside is that some cops (black and white) tend to focus on pulling white people over because it tends to be easier. Female officers are especially prone to this.

The reasoning here is that white people are usually frightened by the police and thus more cooperative, so the risk of escalation is lower than stopping blacks.

When it comes to police brutality, I can’t speak for all precincts, but I did not see force being used unreasonably. When force was used, like using an elbow to subdue a perp resisting arrest, it was usually done by the book.

For most cops during my stint, myself included, people never behaved like “racist” cops in movies out to get this or that type of person. The main priority for people on the job it’s impersonal: to do what you can to get home safe that night until you get your pension.

Striker: Opiate addiction is a big problem in the region you worked. How did this start, who are the criminal elements causing it and how does this manifest in day to day life?

John: Opiates and heroin are a huge problem here. I remember when I joined the force in the early 2000s a turning point in how we talked about drug related incidents.

When I first got in, drug issues there were still associated with black crackheads, but now the butt of the jokes are white heroin addicts. I remember the turning point. I received a call from a high-rise building in a nice neighborhood with typically few incidents from a white couple. When I got there, they were complaining that a black person had stolen their EBT card and a fight ensued.

When I arrived at their apartment, it was a mess. No furniture, dirty - they were clearly drug addicts.

After this case, we began getting inundated with similar calls. The white drug addicts began talking and arguing like what we associate with blacks. White women talking about their “baby-daddys” or white men referring to women as “females.”

I never worked in the drug division at my department, but I did catch glimpses into the nature of this new, white-targeted epidemic. The heroin is trafficked in bulk by Mexicans and Guatemalans, but the street pushers are always black.  

The racial targeting is scandalous. Black pushers will often approach random white people (at the exclusion of others) filling up their cars at the gas station with a “free sample” of heroin and their phone number.

If white drug pushers were going into black neighborhoods and specifically targeting them with drugs that have killed thousands every year, it would be considered a hate crime and there would be an outcry!

White people from the suburbs are also often victimized by black criminals when they go into the ghetto to buy drugs.

Striker: That is repulsive and shocking. How is the state and law enforcement dealing with this social problem?

Ironically, the conservative streak in police officers is what leads to unfair treatment of whites here.

When my department started forcing officers to carry Narcan [a drug that treats opiate overdoses in an emergency] countless lives were saved, but a lot of the cops grumbled about it amongst themselves. The underlying sentiment is that the heroin addicts who OD deserve what they get, and many cops grow callous when there are individuals who are saved by the Narcan only to OD again a week later.

White people in black neighborhoods are assumed to be drug addicts (and often are), so cops are aloof. It’s common for white people to be assaulted, robbed, etc in these neighborhoods, but the police tend to ignore it.

The main pattern I saw during this social transition is that black women in particular are rising while whites are declining. Black teenage pregnancy has fallen dramatically, and black women are using the plethora of social programs, scholarships, and racial favoritism in employment to go to school and get good jobs in the public sector. 

These programs usually racially exclude whites, regardless of class or situation, despite being hit hard by rust belt deindustrialization all the same. The public poverty and drug programs that legally can’t discriminate against whites are usually very “afrocentric” in how they are advertised and where they are promoted, thus giving white people the impression that they cannot use them.

Pride may be another factor, in that many whites don’t want to feel vulnerable or like they are social burdens. 

Striker: I recently wrote a piece on the record amount of violent crime (including murders) that goes unresolved in America every year. What is the explanation for this change, especially since crime overall is down?

John: There are many reasons for this.

The main issues are the mandatory diversity in every unit along with constant refreshing of staff. People either don’t care or don’t have the adequate intelligence or tenacity that previous cops had.

While black cops tend to be lazy, white cops today are soft and bourgeois. White cops after a few years tend to mail-it-in and fixate on getting their pension so they can safely retire in a mansion and smoke cigars by their jacuzzi. The hardboiled, hard drinking characters of previous eras who don’t rest until they crack their case are rare and almost extinct.

Cops are also in debt. I was one of a handful of officers who lived within their means. Police officers I knew would buy $400,000 dollar homes or drive $60,000 cars and then work insane overtime hours to pay for it, which hurts work quality, mindset, morale and productivity in the long run. I was able to quit and move on to work for myself, but other cops are indentured servants even when they have lost all interest in the work.

Police burnout has also been exacerbated by the social and political shift against law enforcement. The system’s narrative surrounding Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin showed cops across the country that the truth is no defense, and you’re damned if you so and actually a lot less damned if you don't. 

Striker: There is a long-standing right-wing tradition of assuming the police can be allies in the struggle for our civil rights and white liberation due to the eye-opening nature of their work. In poorer countries like Turkey and Venezuela, police are often political actors taking sides for or against their governments. Do you think there is any potential for this in America?

John: If anybody’s expecting police officers to get woke with you, it’s never going to happen. The cops are never going to fight for political change. They might drag their feet a bit to avoid doing things they see as wrong, but at the end of the day, it’s all about winning awards (even if Satan himself is pinning the medal) and getting the carrot on the stick (retirement pension).

Though cops are definitely more “right-wing” and like the 2nd Amendment, I would be surprised if even 20% of them would refuse to participate in a political move to confiscate everyone’s firearms. Some of them will talk a big game on how  they will always defend the Constitution, but their personal economic well-being always comes first in the end. They will always find a way to rationalize doing something they know deep down is wrong.