-Justice not so clear-
I remember the day I met him, hell I couldn't forget it if I wanted to. It was a cool September morning in Terrytown. Terrytown was a rundown little urban sprawl with a high crime rate and was pretty much run by local thugs and the mafia. I was at a coffee shop on the outskirts of town where it was a little nicer and there were fewer thugs. It was my first day on the job and I was waiting for my partner so we could patrol the area. I ordered a coffee as I waited and sipped on it as I watched the news on the t.v. that hung up in the corner. There was nothing new on the news, just more murders and gang fights. Nothing worth glancing at twice, besides I was busy imagining what my new partner would be like. I imagined he would be a like-minded fellow who was out for justice. I was naive then and had no idea about the events that would come to pass in the following weeks. I payed for my coffee and walked outside to meet my new partner that I would be patrolling with for the next couple of weeks. I walked up to the squad car and was surprised to see a middle aged african american sitting in the driver's seat of the squad car. The middle-aged saw the shock on my face and smirked humorlessly as he stared at me.
"I bet you were expecting a nice white cop to be your partner, weren't you?" he said as he motioned for me to get in the car. "Well yes but it's a pleasure to meet you sir." i said as I got in the squad car and sat awkwardly next to him. "the names jamal" he grunted, then he pulled into the streets and we drove in silence for a while. We drove past an especially rundown part of town and saw a bunch of gang members walking around in the streets openly. Jamal looked at the thugs in disgust "look at those animals out there, walking around like a bunch of apes. You know, I grew up here back in the day. It was a nice little town where you didn't have to worry about being robbed or killed on a daily basis. Everyone knew each other and got along, it was a good town to grow up in. But ever since the mayor cut the budget in half, Terrytown went to shit. Niggas roaming the street and killing each other over the colors on their shirts. Niggas Joining gangs and having turf wars. Niggas on every corner selling drugs to make a quick buck." He said as we drove past. I was more than a little shocked to hear something like that come out of an officer's mouth. "Well that may be true and a lot of people may have turned to crime, but it's still our job to help those that we can help." I said as we were making our rounds. He looked over and scoffed at me before turning his head to look back at the road.
"I may be a cop, but it's not my job to help these ungrateful motherfuckers who talk shit about the police until they're robbed or shot. Then they love us until they get back to the streets and wanna talk shit again. As far as I'm concerned, these motherfuckers are just animals, and it's our job to put them in their place when they step out of line."
I was a little uneasy about how easily he talked about his hatred for the people of Terrytown. "Well at the academy we're taught that people who break the law are still people who have rights and feelings." I said as I looked at him a little wearily. Jamal looked at me with a look that was between pity and contempt. "I see you're one of those people who bought into their sympathy training." he said as we rounded a corner.
"It's good to know that there are more people like me." I replied as I looked out my window to avoid looking at him. I could feel his gaze as he stared at me from the driver's side. I couldn't help but look back at him. He was looking at me with a serious look in his eyes. "Yeah, there were more like you, why do you think that seat was empty." he said motioning to the seat I was currently occupying. We sat in silence for the rest of the patrol. I mostly thought about the cop that sat in the seat I was in and how he had met his end. This is how it was for the first couple days. Jamal didn't ask questions and rarely answered mine so we mostly sat in silence. One day while we were making the usual rounds we heard the radio transmit a message. Usually Jamal ignored these calls, but today he clicked the receiver and asked what it was. The voice on the other end said there was a 211 at the convenience store on 19th and Tammy. It was close enough, so Jamal sped up and we went to take a look. The thugs were long gone by the time we got there, so we asked the store owner if he could remember anything that might help us. He gave us a general description of what happened. According to the owner four men had come in and held up the store. They took his money and some merchandise and ran out. He couldn't give us a good description so we told him we'd turn over a few stones and left it at that. We walked out and I headed for the car, thinking Jamal would follow and we'd continue our patrol. But Jamal crossed the street and walk over to two hood rats who were spray painting a wall. I followed him across the street just in case he'd need backup. He walker to the two hood rats and shook up with them. "Aye man I'm supposed to be findin out who robbed that sto across the street. Y'all got any idea who did it?" He said. One of the hood rats smiled and laughed at him. "Man that white boy got you by the balls huh? Do ya gotta call him master and wash his draws too?"
"he's my partner." He replied as he got a serious look in his eyes and his body stiffened almost imperceptibly. The hoodrats just smirked and laughed again.
"Boi I bet you be washing his ass too like a good little slave." Quick as lightning, Jamal pulled out his gun, pinned one of the hood rats to the wall and put the gun in his mouth.
"Call me a slave one more time and imma show you how i paint a wall motherfucker!" Jamal yelled as he put his finger on the trigger. The hood rat had a terrified look on his face. "Now tell me who robbed that store or i'll blow your goddamn brains out!" jamal yelled at the hood rat. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he wasn't bluffing, and so could they because the one that wasn't pinned to the wall quickly told us what we wanted to know.
"it was the Terrytown killas man, they the ones that done went and robbed the convenience store. Now let us go man, we don't want no more trouble." the hood rat pleaded. Jamal took his gun out of the hood rat's mouth and roughly shoved him at the other hood rat. They both ran into the alley and out of sight. Jamal tried to walk past me to the squad car, but I stopped him.
"What the hell was that Jamal! You were gonna kill that kid!" I yelled at him. Jamal simply walked past and called over his shoulder "that is called 'getting results' Shaun"
I fumed as I got back in the car. "Well do you know how many rules and policies you've just broken getting those 'results' Jamal?" I said as I looked him in the eyes. Jamal just looked at me with indifference as he pulled out and drove towards the Terrytown killas hideout. "don't know, don't care. We got what we needed to know so I think it was a successful interrogation." I was shocked to hear him say he didn't care about the rules and policies of the police force. I didn't know how to respond as we pulled up to a rundown house that looked abandoned. We got out and Jamal pulled his gun and looked at me as I pulled mine. "Stay sharp and be careful Shaun, i'd hate to have an empty seat in my squad car so soon after getting another partner." He said as we walked up the steps to the house. I simply nodded and kicked the door down. We burst through the door and I yelled for everybody to freeze. There were four men in the room and one them tried to pull out a gun. I shot him in his shoulder and he dropped the gun, but he didn't seem to feel it. He pulled out a knife and ran at me. I shot him three more times in the chest before he fell to the ground with a thud and died. The rest of them dropped to the ground and Jamal handcuffed them and told me to search the house. I walked down the hallway checking the doors and looking in them to make sure there was no one else in the house. i walked into the last room and was surprised to see another one of the thugs in the room. I drew my gun and told him to put his hands behind his head. The thug started crying and when i looked closer i could see that the thug was just a kid. He looked to be no older than 15 and was bawling his eyes out in front of me. "Are you gonna kill me cuz i did something bad?" he said with tears in his eyes. I didn't want to rob that man i swear! It's just hard out here in the streets man. I just wanna go home!" the kid cried as he wiped the tears from his eyes. I walked over and put a hand on his shoulder as i tried to calm him down. "It's okay kid, you didn't know any better. You were just doi-" I felt a sharp pain in my side and looked down to see a knife stick in my side. The kid pulled it out and I yelled in pain as he tried to stab me again. I pushed him away from me and shot him in the neck. I watched him struggle to breathe as blood spurted from his neck and he bled out on the floor. Jamal ran into the room a second later with his gun drawn. He looked from the dead kid to the stab wound on my side. "I told you not to buy into that sympathy training Shaun. These thugs are ruthless and will kill without hesitation so it's best to not listen to what they say to you." he said as he searched the rest of the room. I was still in shock from the pain and the kid so the pain wasn't bad but I knew it would start to hurt soon. "He was so young and looked so innocent. I didn't think he would try to kill me." I said as I was filled with sadness at the fact that I had taken such a young kids life just now. Jamal could see how distraught I was and looked at me sympathetically. "Look shaun, I know it's hard to believe, but you just can't trust people these days. They'll lie and cheat you until they take everything from you and then they'll kill you. But there are still good people, so find someone you can trust and stick with them. Now go get the medical pack from the car and patch yourself up, i'll deal with this." he walked back to the main room where the rest of the thugs were and I walked out to the squad car and opened the trunk. I shuffled the junk in the trunk until I found the medical pack. I applied some salve to the wound and covered it with gauze. I was debating on going back in to help jamal finish the job when I heard gunshots. I ran as fast as I could with my wounded side as i drew my gun to see what had happened. Before i could get to the house jamal walked out with a grim look on his face. "What happened jamal?" i said as he approached me.
"Same old story, just black killing blacks." he said to me as he walked past me and got into the squad car. I followed him and got into the car, shocked at the realization of what had happened. Jamal had tied up the thugs and sent me out to the car so he could kill the thugs without any witnesses. I sat in silence and wondered what had truly happened to his last partner. I was willing to believe that jamal was capable of killing someone in cold blood, even his own partner. Jamal dropped me off at the hospital and he went back to the station to file a report on the events that had transpired that day. Meanwhile i got my side stitched up and had to stay at the hospital overnight. The doctors told me to take it easy for a while and not to strain my body too much for the next couple of weeks. I continued to go on patrols with jamal and we didn't do much other than the normal patrols. It was awkward at first, but eventually we fell back into our old routine. Once my side got better we started answering calls and busting thugs and drug dealers. About two weeks after the incident where i got stabbed, jamal told me that we'd be going on patrol in another part of terrytown. I was confused but decided to go along with it. We were doing the patrol when jamal pulled into the parking lot of a club. I looked at jamal with confusion all over my face and he just looked at me and motioned for me to get out of the squad car. "There's someone that i want to introduce you to shaun." was all he said as he walked up to the club. The bouncer at the front nodded at jamal and motioned for us to go in. jamal led me inside where there were exotic dancers on poles and big businessmen throwing money at them. One of the girls walked up to me. "I'll show you a good time for 100 dollars officer" she said as she rubbed her body against mine. I gently pried her away from me and politely declined her offer. One of the dancers was dressed as a cowgirl with two pistols that she was twirling as she shook her hips seductively at the men that were staring intently at her. Jamal led me to the back of the club to a section that was blocked by two buff bouncers with bulges in their sides that indicated that they were packing some serious firepower. Jamal walked up to them and they seemed to know who he was because they let him pass without stopping motioned for me to follow him as he walked to the only table in the room and sat down across from the person already sitting at the table. I sat down and jamal looked at me nervously, which surprised me because jamal was never nervous. " shaun, this is big toni. He runs this part of town and he handles all the thugs and gives us inside info on what they're doing and when. All we have to do is not bust him and take care of his competitors" jamal said as he looked at me. " did you handle those terrytown killas that were upsetting the peace around here jamal?" big toni asked as he lit a cigar and took a long puff.
"Yeah, they won't be bothering anyone else for a while." jamal said as he looked at big toni expectantly. Big toni noticed and pulled out a yellow envelope that was bulging. He slid it over to us as jamal reached for it. "Not you jamal, i want your partner to take the money." big toni said as he looked at me. I was appalled to find out that my partner was being bribed by a drug lord to take care of his competition and keep his business running. I made no move to take the cash off of the table and jamal looked like he was getting even more worried. Big toni looked at jamal " i thought you said he would take the money jamal. Do i have to remind you about what happened to your last partner?" jamal looked at me with concern "c'mon shaun, just take the money and get it over with" he said as big toni called in the two bouncers from the door. I stood up and pulled out my gun. "Big toni you're under arrest for attempting to bribe an officer." i said as i pointed my gun at him. The two bouncers pulled their guns and aimed them at me. Jamal looked worried and uncertain about what to do. I looked at him and pleaded. "Jamal, you once told me to find someone i could put my trust in. im choosing to put my trust i you, so do the right thing here and help me put these guys behind bars." jamal pulled out his gun and pointed it at me. I felt my heart sink in my chest but kept my gun pointed at big toni looked at jamal and calmly told him to kill me. Jamal pulled the trigger and i waited for the bullet to pierce my body and kill me. I heard one of the bouncers hit the ground with a thud. I heard jamal yell at me to run and we bolted ot the room and jumped behind a flipped table as the patrons fled the building. Bug toni and one of the bouncers were shooting at us as we took cover behind the table. I noticed the cowgirl point her gun at us and i swung my around and shot her stomach twice before she fell to the ground screaming for the few seconds before she died. Big toni and his bouncer had us pinned down behind the table as we tried to not get shot. After a few seconds we could hear them reloading their guns. We leaned over the table and shot at the bouncer. The bouncer was hit five times before he went down for good. Jamal ran over and tackled big toni before he could finish reloading. He put the gun to bug toni's head. "Not so big now are you!" jamal yelled at him as he was about to pull the trigger. I pointed my gun at jamal and told him to put the gun down. "But if we let him live he'll talk shaun." jamal said as he kept the gun pointed at big toni. "Well if you kill him, i'll talk jamal." i said, not lowering my gun "i know you can do the right thing here jamal you just have to try." i said. Jamal looked at me and then back to big toni, then he started to lower his gun. I sighed in relief as i lowered my gun. Then jamal quickly shot toni and started to point it at me. I shot jamal in the head before he could shoot me. I stood there in shock as it sank in that my partner was crooked and i had just killed him. I could hear the sirens in the distance so i walked outside. Three squad cars pulled up and five cops got out of their cars as i dropped my gun and put my hands behind my head. "What happened here?" said one of the cops as he walked forward. "Same old story, just whites killing blacks." i responded as i was handcuffed and put in the back of the squad car.
The man sitting across from in the interrogation room looked at me seriously. "Is that the whole story shaun?" he gave me a look that said he was ready to leave. "Yes sir that's the whole story and i'm willing to accept my punishment." i said as i prepared to be told that i would be going to jail for the murder of a police officer. Instead the interrogator uncuffed me and told me i was free to go. I looked at him in shock and tried to comprehend what was happening. "But i violated half the rules and i killed an officer!" i said as i tried to make sense of it all. The interrogator looked at me in smiled. "Who cares about the rules? And you killed a black officer, so no one s=is going to care too much." he said as he handed me my badge and told me i could start work again tomorrow and that they would find me a better partner. I sat there in shock to hear that i would be let go after i broke so many rules and killed an officer. I stood up and was about to walk out the door, but stopped. I walked back and handed him my badge and my gun. "I won't be needing these anymore, i quit the police force." i walked out before he could say anything and headed straight for the bar. I nursed a gin and tonic as tried to wrap my head around the fact that i was let go after i killed an officer. They said no one would care because he was black, but that went against everything i was taught in the academy. We were taught that we should seek justice always and that we should serve with honor and dignity. That felt like so long ago now, like it had happened in another lifetime. I had always saw justice as black and white, but now i wasn't even sure what justice was. I looked into my drink and noticed it was empty to i ordered another. "I'll take another gin and tonic, but make it a double, there's something i need to forget."