Black Officers Reflect On Being Considered Traitors In Community

With the Black Lives movement still in full swing, multiple police killings sweeping the nation, and allegations of police bias against black men, being a black police officer in the United States today presents its own share of unique struggles. According to two police officers who sat down with Press of Atlantic City, black police officers in black communities are seen as “sellouts” and traitors.

Danny Adcock is a police captain at the Pleasantville Police Department. At 51 years old, he and 18 other black cops make up nearly 40% of the 48-member police force in Pleasantville. While this is much higher than the national average, with only 12% of the nation’s police forces being black, it has not eased tensions between himself and his community while he does his duty.

According to Adcock, it is not just staying safe or finding a job that challenges black police officers; there is a lot of pressure from the community as well. In his chat, he stated that the black community expects him to look the other way when illegal activity takes place, simply because he is also a black man.

The struggles Adcock faces are not unique to him, either. His personal friend that carpooled with him to the police academy 25 years ago, Richard Hood, now retired from serving as an Atlantic City police officer, faced similar problems from the community.

Like Adcock, Hood faced similar accusations where the community accused him of being a snitch and sellout. Growing up in the same neighborhood where he later policed, Hood said that being a homegrown black cop in a black community was faced with the community expecting him to turn a blind eye if he saw any crimes being committed.

Hood recounted times when he had made arrests and the perpetrators would plead with him to remove the handcuffs simply because they were both black. When Hood made it clear that there are no free passes just because of skin color, he was deemed a traitor and sellout.

Sometimes things went beyond simply being called names. Hood also walked out to his patrol car one morning to find it had been covered by garbage at the hands of someone in his community, right outside of his apartment.

Despite being black men and being born and raised in the same neighborhood, both Hood and Adcock were considered outcasts, simply for being police officers.

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  1. Tee

    As a black law enforcement officer in the Midwest I wasn’t asked for “favors” or to turn a “blind” eye do to crime but I was on occasion giving that “didn’t we go to school” line or “I must forgot I was black too”. In saying that a person can perceive this article in different ways. If you know what you signed up for and realize what comes with the job, being called a traitor or sellout should not have any effect on you. The black community in a whole does not see the police, a black police officer at that as a traitor or sellout. I patrolled not the greatest neighborhoods and I had young black kids say when I grow up I want to be a cop. Having that said to me, at the end of the day, I felt as if I did my job and showed kids in the “hood” that they can turn all their negative surroundings into something positive.

  2. Rich

    As a black man I want law enforcement to do their jobs well and fairly, especially when they see other officers trample citizens’ rights. The community complaints from criminals don’t count. Are the complaints from law abiding citizens who actually pay taxes, or is it just from criminals you grew up with? That’s not the community with which you should be concerned. If it’s the law abiding citizens complaining, then maybe you’re standing around letting the “bad apple” cops spoil your bunch in the eyes of the community.

  3. Brandon

    Unfortunately this has happened to me a lot over my 20 plus years as a suburban Ohio police officer. My fellow black officers in the larger cities also deal with this. I was the first black police officer in the history of my city and have been called a sellout and uncle tom several times while doing my job. This still does happen today!!! Its sad but true.

  4. D. Glassman

    I’m a black retired LEO (20+ years, retired a few years) in Northern California, born, raised, and worked in a large urban area, and I can not relate to this story at all. I’ve never been called or labeled a sellout in my community. No one ever expected me to not do my job because we were both black, in fact, folks on both sides of the fence were glad to see you do what you do because they were confident that you’d do what you’re supposed to, AND NOTHING MORE. They were confident that your actions were “strictly business” (even the bad guys know you have a job to do) and trusted there wouldn’t be any excesses in your actions. Several of the guys and women I grew up with and went to school with went into law enforcement, (most have retired in the last few years, some still working) and none of us have the testimony of these officers. Maybe it’s regional/East-West thing? Black folks just want and expect you to be professional in how you do your job. Then they’re confident that there won’t be any “liberties” taken with how they’re treated. The bad guys still hate you, but not for the color of your skin, but the color of your uniform. Well…this has been MY EXPERIENCE. I feel bad for these officers…that’s a tough thing to have to deal with for the entirety of a career. To all of my brothers still out there doing the work…STAY SAFE!

  5. Mentha Manning

    This article is such HOGWASH! The opinion of two black officers at small town police departments cannot and should not be used to perpetuate this false narrative that the black community hates the police. What black communities don’t like is biased policing. I am a retired police captain and I did not feel as if the black community felt I was a traitor.

    I was so appalled by the message this article gives that I was moved to write the author Donna Weaver and ask had she interviewed black officers from Detroit, NYC, Atlanta, etc. this was her reply to that question ” I do not report the news in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami or NYC. I am a local news reporter in southern New Jersey. Thank you.”

    It is clear that this reporter had an agenda and the facts were not going impede her perpetuating a disgusting stereotype of the black community. A reporter doing this kind of sloppy investigation and reporting is par for the course, Law Officer printing it is UNCONSCIONABLE! It is not news to me that Law Officer is conservative leaning no problem, but to print a story like this that will make it harder for officers to do their jobs should make you ashamed, This article was not worthy of the good men and women who risk their lives in a challenging profession.

  6. Austin Rivers

    A black criminal called a black cop a sellout because he wouldnt release him because they are both black, and this represents the whole black community?

    While i wont deny that black cops are regularly labeled sellouts, uncle toms and traitors, it has NOTHING to do with not turning a blind eye to criminal activity, having a job, or bettering them selves. NOTHING. The black community knows why police officers are labeled as sellouts, black police officers understand why their community feels this way towards them, and that is all i feel needs to be said in this discussion.

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