A police badge lies on top of an American flag
Photo by alancrosthwaite on Depositphotos

I hereby give you this badge.
You shall receive the most power
            you can ever have.
You will serve as the symbol
            of our American flag:

with the lights of your patrol car
shining red, white, and blue,
you will protect the innocent
            and serve the true.

But unfortunately this is not            what the police do.
Some may not know; today I will clarify for you.

I hereby give you this badge,
you shall receive the most power
            you can ever have,
you will bring double meaning
            to the American flag.

With the lights of your patrol car shining red, white, and blue,
you will terrorize every black community you set foot to,
you will murder the innocent and silence the true
with the power to annihilate anyone that defies you.

Like the stars on the flag, we’ll remember the mark that you leave
with simple phrases, like, “My hands is up,” and, “I can’t breathe …”

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Torrey Thomas

Torrey Thomas is a poet incarcerated in California.