Nine years ago, 16-year-old Katina Jones from Little Rock, Arkansas, posted on Facebook the lyrics of a song sung by Lil Wayne, an African-American rapper who is known for his controversial lyrics, as are many other artists in the rap music industry.
Fast forward to January 8, 2017, Jones was 25 years old and twenty-one days from graduating from the Little Rock Police Academy, and was terminated from the department for that Facebook post nine years earlier, after another cop who was the subject of an internal investigation hacked into Jones’ private account and reported her nine-year old post.
According to published reports in Arkansas, Jones was fired because the song lyrics she posted included a racial slur that was offensive to African-Americans.
Lil Wayne is black, and Jones is black, and although the exact lyrics have not been made public, I am sure the lyrics could not be much different or much worse than songs by Kendrick Lamar, who just last week won five Grammy Awards and has been nominated for more than 180 national music awards.
For public disclosure, I personally find this type of "music" offensive and disgusting, and believe that it promotes many of the flaws and failures we see in poverty and crime stricken communities around our country, but do we castrate the future of a young woman who wants to serve her community, who as an adolescent listened to rap music just like tens of millions of kids do today?
I figured that there had to be something more than Lil Wayne’s offensive lyrics to justify this woman’s termination, but what I found was to the contrary. For several years before entering the police academy, Ms. Jones earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, volunteered her time with visually impaired children, the prosecuting attorney’s office, worked in private sector security, and was a detention officer for the local sheriff’s office. This makes her termination to me, even worse, for posting song lyrics on social media nine years prior as a 16-year-old child.
Ironically, and by no means does it diminish any offensive language in Lil Wayne’s lyrics, but he’s one rapper whose lyrics may conflict with some of his personal feelings. He once had his private jet standby on the tarmac of an airstrip, while a troop carrier of American military personnel landed, so he could personally thank every service member that stepped off that plane for their service to our country. He has also been quite vocal to speak out against race batterers who have attacked the police. He tells the story of a white cop who saved his life when he was shot in the chest at 12 years old. The cop carried him into the emergency room and waited for him during his surgery. The cop told the 12-year-old boy, “Just call me uncle Bob,” and today, Lil Wayne loves that cop — Uncle Bob, who was “white as snow,” and saved his life.
Lil Wayne may not be the role model we want for our children, but Katina Jones is. In her adult life she has done everything right - went to school, volunteered her time for others, served her community, and was willing to put her life on the line for that community, and because she posted song lyrics on her social media account nine years ago at 16 years old, we are going to destroy her life and career before it even gets started? This is wrong!
The department should right this wrong, and if they don’t, perhaps it time for the City of Little Rock to find someone with common sense and real leadership skills to take over the department.
As New York City’s 40th Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik was in command of the NYPD on September 11, 2001, and responsible for the city’s response, rescue, recovery, and the investigative efforts of the most substantial terror attack in world history. His 35-year career has been recognized in more than 100 awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a presidential commendation for heroism by President Ronald Reagan, two Distinguished Service Awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and an appointment as Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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