Letter to the Cops

The Black Panther Black Community News Service, Vol 1, No. 2. Published on May 15, 1967.



We don’t like the way you cops have  been misusing the law and mistreating the people. You are civil servants, which means that the people – all the people – have delegated to you the task of securing the people in the daily exercise of their rights. For example: the function of removing waste material from our commodes was delegated by the people to those we call ‘plumbers’. Others have been delegated the responsibility of carrying off our refuse, and we call them ‘garbage men’. People we have hired to deliver our mail are called ‘mailmen’. You have been hired by the people to keep the peace.

It is your duty to go about  your work in a manner least likely to displease your employers and calculated to make the people feel justified in continuing to carry you on the public payroll. But because you  have grossly defiled the very name – Peace Officer – by which you are known, you have become the enemy of the people; you have become a cancerous growth on the body politic. You have an image that strikes terror into the hearts of those who buy your bread, pay your rent, and feed your children. You have become a problem that must be solved.

The BLACK PANTHER PARTY FOR SELF-DEFENSE has been summoned by the crys and suffering and pain of the people. We are here to civilize you. We are here to teach you how to love and serve the people with a humble and faithful attitude consistent with your status. We are going to do the job whether you like it or not. You probably won’t like it because you are too sadistic in your lust to shed the people’s blood; you have become insensitive even to the dying pleas of a child you have just shot down with your vicious service revolver. The BLACK PANTHER PARTY FOR SELF-DEFENSE is here to shield the people from your insanity and thirst for blood.

You have made yourself the people’s master; you have elevated yourself unwarrantedly.

But we will see to it that you are brought up to the level of men.

Justice is on our side. You have abandoned the law. You have transformed the law into a snare in which the people stumble. You are a peacebreaker, an outlaw – you have become Public Enemy Number One and it is a policy of the BLACK PANTHER PARTY FOR SELF DEFENSE to deal with first things first.