Whenever there’s white cop-on-black civilian incident, some asinine liberal says we need more diversity in city police departments. This line of thinking fails to recognize the role of the police in a capitalist society – as the knights of capital’s defense, i.e. private property (the means of production kind, not necklaces, homes, or cars).
But when this liberal critique of urban policing actually works in getting people of color hired into police forces, what the police chiefs and the ruling class in general are trying to do is control a demographic by hiring their own people. It is a stealth co-opting of ethnic, racial, or immigrant self-policing.
Much attention to Ferguson in particular has brought up how these very black suburbs have a very white police force. This is probably statistically true, but would a black police department be fundamentally different? No! On the fringes they may be less brutal but they would still be prone to brutality and corruption, while at the same time winning the trust of a portion of the black community.
The role of ethnic policemen in large immigrant communities, for instance the Hmong of St. Paul or Somalis of Minneapolis, has seen after two decades the hiring of police from these demographics. It is not a benevolent effort by the city governments or police departments, but rather a very deliberate attempt to gain ground over cultural self-policing, distrust of murderous police (http://www.startribune.com/local/yourvoices/103979934.html), and perhaps gangs and potential informants. It is a way of the police saying, “We don’t really trust you people, so will hire one of your kind so that we can more easily spy on you”.
So if you’re wondering why John C. Reilly’s image is in this picture, it’s because he plays an Irish cop in Gangs of New York, whose very presence is to rat on Irish “scum” in the Five Points. I highly recommend the film, too.