As unarmed black people continue to die at the hands of police in the United States, and the country reels from the shooting deaths of five officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, a heartbroken ex-cop is appealing for compassion.
Merri McGregor has penned a moving account on Facebook about her difficult time in the police force in a bid to encourage unity. Her post has since drawn much praise from commenters and attracted 140,000 shares.
McGregor, who now suffers from PTSD and depression, began with an image of herself as a grinning 21-year-old taken on the day she graduated from the police academy in Detroit.
“I couldn’t have been more excited, more proud,” she wrote.
“Armed with my dad’s badge that he wore for 25 years on my chest, one of my mom’s sergeant stripe patches in my pocket, my lucky $2.00 bill tucked into my bulletproof vest.”
Footage posted to social media captured the moment gunfire erupted in Dallas, killing five police officers.ccc
But things weren’t to be so rosy over the two decades of her career in the force.
The next 17 years would bring plenty of shed blood, black eyes, torn ligaments, stab wounds, stitches, funerals, a head injury, permanent and irreparable nerve damage, 5 ruptured discs, some charming PTSD and depression issues and a whole lot of heartache. They brought missed Christmases with my family, my absence from friends’ birthday get-togethers, pricey concert tickets that were forfeited at the last minute because of a late call and many sleepless nights.
She went onto describe in excruciating detail cases she was assigned to that are now burned into her memory, no matter how hard she tries to forget.
I’ve laid in wet grass on the freeway for three hours watching a team of burglars and orchestrating their apprehension, I’ve dodged gunfire while running down a dark alley in the middle of the night chasing a shooting suspect, I’ve argued with women who were too scared to leave their abusive husbands until they realized they had to or they would end up dead. I’ve peeled a dead, burned baby from the front of my uniform shirt, I’ve felt the pride of putting handcuffs on a serial rapist and I’ve cried on the chest of and kissed the cheek of my dead friend, coworker and academy classmate even though it was covered in his own dried blood and didn’t even look like him from all the bullet holes. I know what a bullet sounds like when it’s whizzing past your ear, a few inches away, I know what the sound of a Mother’s shrilling scream is like when she finds out her son has been killed in the middle of the street and I know what it’s like to have to tell a wife and mother of 3 that her husband was killed in a car accident while on his way home from work.
She explained these were the kinds of moments that haunted police officers’ sleep and thoughts.
“(These are) things that we volunteered to deal with so that you don’t have to. Things I don’t want my sister, little cousins or YOU to even have to KNOW about,” she wrote.
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She said she never once went to work thinking ‘I’m going to kill someone tonight’. She only went to work knowing she was going to do her best to keep people safe, “even if that meant that I died doing so”.
She went onto emphasise that while there were “bad cops”, most were well-intentioned, family people with full hearts and consciences — just like the rest of us.
We ALL need to start being more understanding and compassionate toward one another. Violence doesn’t cure violence and hate doesn’t cure hate. I’ve seen and experienced both sides of the spectrum since I left the PD and I get it. I truly do. But this all has to stop.
Are cops perfect? No. Are there bad cops? Yes. But please…understand that the vast majority of police are good, loving, well intentioned family people. They have husbands and wives and children and parents and pets and cousins and mortgages and electric bills and lawns that need cutting, just like you. They have hearts and consciences. They aren’t robots, they’re not machines and they just want to help keep the wolves away from the sheep. I KNOW there’s people who don’t deserve to wear the badge but they’re SO VERY few and far between. It breaks my heart to see all this hatred and anger flying around. All it’s doing is encouraging more of the same.
She finished by imploring people to work together to find a solution to the chaos.
“If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem… We’re all SO much better than this.”
You can see her full post below.