Corey Pegues spent 21 years with the New York Police Department, wending his way up through the rank-and-file to commanding officer.
The decorated Black police officer left the force in April 2013, and in May, released the book Once a Cop: My Journey from former Crack Dealer to the Highest Ranks of the NYPD.
On Thursday, he spoke to NewsOne about why the NRA, the powerful and mostly White gun lobby, likely would not fight for Philando Castile, a licensed gun owner who was shot and killed Wednesday by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, while his girlfriend livestreamed the incident.
The answer is in Black and White, said the 48-year-old New York-area resident.
“The NRA is not going to demand justice because all they care about is someone having a licensed and legal gun,” he said. “But the Castile shooting is one of the few times that a licensed gun owner is Black. The group is made up of Whites.”
The paucity of concern also has to do with economics, he explained.
“It’s not the NRA’s monetary base,” he said. “Their lobbyists are not going to give money to Black lawmakers, although there may be some, but they give their money to people who push their agenda and those people are not Black and brown.”
ThinkProgress writes that the NRA has not addressed the shooting because, well, it doesn’t play into the group’s narrative of racial stereotypes:
More than 1,000 people were fatally shot by police officers last year. Each police shooting could easily play into the NRA’s narrative of government tyranny — a chance to call for arming civilians to stand up against an oppressive state that is literally killing them and their families. Each shooting could be a chance for the group to call for more “good guys with a gun” to protect themselves if they are stopped with a busted taillight and the situation escalates.
But the NRA has not addressed either shooting. Instead, the group shared news this week of a Pennsylvania homeowner who shot a man after an apparent home invasion and a Colorado man, a “good guy with a gun,” who stopped a robber until police arrived. Both incidents occurred in rural neighborhoods — the Pennsylvania town where the home invasion occurred is 100 percent white.
But in order to force the hands of gun lobbyists to pay attention to the lives that are being lost, Pegues said people of color have to do something different.
“We need to hold cops’ feet to the fire and start disciplining rogue cops,” he said. “The guns are not going to stop coming. We have to demand that police officers go to jail for these shootings, and we have to hold the leaders responsible. Most cops stay on the job for 20 years and never shoot anyone, so it’s just a small percentage of officers who are doing the shootings and we have to root them out.”
SOURCE: ThinkProgress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty