To the Editor:
It was only after the announcement of his early nominal retirement that UNC Campus Police Chief Jeff McCracken felt emboldened to to lash out against student activists in an embarrassing guest column in this very paper.
McCracken’s claim that his officers are “assaulted, both literally and figuratively” is demonstrably false and dangerous. It equates legitimate and credible critiques of campus police, who create a hostile and unsafe working and learning environment as proven through video footage and eyewitness accounts offered under oath, with physical or spoken assault. Criticizing the police is not illegal; calling them out on their lies is not an assault. Rather, it is a pedagogical imperative.
I never saw police on the ground in chokeholds. I never saw them with tasers held to their necks. The sounds of skulls hitting pavement were not made by the heads of campus police officers. It was not their blood on the bricks outside of Graham Memorial. Students and community members lived (and continue to live) through actual violence perpetrated by police and white supremacists on our campus.
The incidents over the past few months where police broke the peace demonstrate the sheer incompetence of UNC Police and beyond that, prove that policing generally, and campus policing in particular, is fundamentally unable to do something as simple as keep people safe.
One less cop on this campus sounds good to me. Don’t let the door hit you (and your $210k/yr salary) on the way out, McCracken.
Class of 2019
Studio Art & African American and Diaspora Studies