Soul-Centered Conversations: My Conversation with Steven Bermudez, NYS Court Officer
Unpacking Police Brutality and Violence
When Officer Williams went viral on TikTok, I could not stop thinking about him (literally). His one-minute video felt like a fist in the air mic drop moment. Here was a police officer publicly calling out other police officers. We all saw them murder George Floyd but I’d never seen an officer speak out like that. I was sure he’d lose his job (and he did, eventually). But if you watch the video, you’ll see. He cared more about breaking the blue code of silence than he did the consequences.
After I watched his video, I wanted to talk to someone in law enforcement. I wanted to see if someone else would be willing to talk about the disproportionate number of Black people being killed by police. Black people in this country are 3x more likely to be killed by police than their White counterparts on a per capita basis.
And that per capita basis makes a difference. Don’t let the president or anyone else get away with telling you White people get killed by police too. Duh. But with 76% of the US population being white and 13% being Black, when Blacks are killed 3x more per capita, that means we have a big problem. But, I digress.
The very day I saw Office Williams’ TikTok video, I put a call out on Facebook. I asked my 1,000+ friends if anyone in law enforcement would be willing to talk with me on my YouTube series, Soul-Centered Conversations.
My childhood friend, Steven Bermudez, said yes.
Steven is a NYS court officer. He’s not a beat cop but has been in law enforcement for 19 years and counting. We grew up in Hempstead, Long Island together. Thirty years+ ago, Hempstead was a community of immigrants and majority Black and Brown people.
TBH, I couldn’t believe someone in law enforcement would be open to talking about such a polarizing issue. But, I really wanted to have the conversation, so we scheduled a Zoom call and talked on May 31st (It took me a little while to edit everything but I think the conversation you’ll see is meaningful and insightful).
We talked about systemic racism, police killings, compliance, racial profiling, and compassion and so much more. You can watch the conversation now!
I’ve included links with a brief synopsis about each conversation, below:
Convo 1: We talk about the killing of George Floyd, compliance, systemic racism, and America’s fear of Black people. He opens up about his sadness and rage about George Floyd’s murder and the history of brutality.
Convo 2: We continue to talk about systemic racism, the reasons we need the Black Lives Matter movement, the race-based hypocrisy we see in policing and police violence, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, and the fear, and the media’s role in stoking that fear.
Convo 3: We talk about racism as a cultural problem – an American problem. We unpack protests and the critics who demonize protestors. We also explore the connections to racial profiling and stereotypes.
Convo 4: We talk about racism’s impact on the Latinx and immigrant communities, especially the language barriers and cultural differences. We begin to explore compassion. We also talk some more about the race-based hypocrisy in policing and the blatant racism we find in the White House.
Convo 5: We talk about the importance of compassion, earning respect, and faith. We explore the idea of training police in compassion. Steven also speaks to the reasons so many of the traumas officers experience go undetected and unaddressed.
Convo 6: We close our conversation with a little bit of Light and hope!
You can watch the entire six-part conversation on my YouTube channel, Souls of Women Media.