Former Black Cops Talk About Their Experiences On the Street

February 17, 2000

One of the issues not raised at the Diallo murder trial, but that many from the community say was central to the case, is that of race. Diallo was black; the four officers accused of his murder are white. The unit they belonged to, the Street Crimes Unit, is notorious for targeting people of color for frisks and arrests, and two of the officers have had complaints filed against them that accused them of racial insensitivity. The charges were dismissed by Internal Affairs.

Many African American police officers say that they are forced to work in a climate of racism, targeted at both themselves and at minority members of the community. Two black former police officers, one from New York and one from Los Angeles, describe their experiences.


  • Graham Weatherspoon, retired detective with the New York Police Department and a leader in the group "100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care," which fights police brutality and abuse. Call: 718.455.9059.
  • Diop Kamau, former detective with the Hawthorne and Ventura police departments in California and Executive Director of the Police Complaint Center, a national non-profit organization that provides assistance to victims of police misconduct. Call: 850.894.6819.