5/5 ⭐ | Black, White, and Gray All Over by Frederick Douglass Reynolds
In recent years law enforcement has taken front stage in both the political sphere and within the media, with good measure as it is far past due, and frankly still not enough. Whether the “solutions” being thrown around are the answer, these issues cannot be solved overnight, but author Frederick Douglass Reynolds addresses this as a cop and Black man himself. Recognizing his role, his experiences, and his position as a black member of law enforcement, his book “Black, White, and Gray All Over” touches on recent events in the foreword and warns readers of the harsh realities to follow.
Ralph Pezzullo says it best, Reynolds is well suited to share his story. This story is best told by “someone like Black policeman/detective Frederick Reynolds. Someone who has seen how the issues relating to policing and violence play out on the streets in tears and blood. Someone who has been forced to deal with the extenuating circumstances and complications. Someone who has felt the anger, grief, and frustration” (p. 10). Reynolds has done readers a true service by sharing his story. By being the Black cop, writing about himself and other cops amidst the Black Lives Matter movement and everything going down in today’s society. He’s honest, he doesn’t hold back, and he’s quick to point out his own faults and that of the profession, making this a truly gripping read.
Growing up, Reynolds never expected he’d become a cop. Getting into trouble with the law himself, he was as surprised as anyone that he made a career on the side of the “good guys.” But he admits that while he worked with some really great guys, he knew some bad ones as well. He isn’t afraid to paint himself as honest as those next to him, pointing out his own failings as a father and husband as he committed to the life of police work in one of the toughest areas of America – Compton. Over the course of his career 1,154 people were murdered in Compton. From Tupac to BIG, the kids that were innocent bystanders of senseless violence, to the gang-on-gang rivalries, the breadth of death he faced was immense. He details everything, including training, the parties, the locker room antics and of course the work he did day in and day out. From the rough, the rewarding, and the absolutely life shattering, nothing is off limits. “Black, White, and Gray All Over” is a truly masterful tome of stories and experiences. Some of the stories within would even make for an epic plot of a movie – like the missing narcotics, drug destruction, police politics, and lucky breaks.
All this to say that this nearly 500-page book was a thrill ride of heart pounding encounters, and a fresh perspective on the life of police, their dispatchers, and all that work alongside them. Well done and thank you Frederick Reynolds for sharing and educating the masses.
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