This is a revealing look into the experiences of a highly decorated Black police officer, and anyone interested in American culture and society may find this book of great interest.
‘Black, White, And Gray All Over; A Black Man's Odyssey in Life and Law Enforcement’ by Frederick Douglass Reynolds is an interesting and informative insight into Reynolds’ experiences as a Black police officer in Compton, USA. The murder of George Floyd in 2020 by police officer Derek Chauvin made the news around the world and acted as a catalyst for widespread protests and calls for changes to policing. The author uses this as a starting off point for this book and an opportunity for him to reflect on his experiences growing up in Detroit and later as a police officer in Compton. Reynolds’ childhood sees him fall into the wrong crowd, which could have led to him taking a very different path. However, through the early sections of the book we see him join the Marines Corps as an infantryman and later Compton PD. This isn’t a complete turnaround in circumstances as the author talks through his experiences of homelessness and the unhealthy coping mechanisms developed by so many officers in order to mitigate the trauma of what they see during their shifts. Alongside Reynolds personal challenges and accomplishments we see the challenges faced by the police department as a whole, impacted by police and municipal corruption which led to the disbanding of Compton PD in 2000, it moving under the umbrella of the Los Angeles Sheriff's department. A lot of detail is packed into this memoir, not mentioned above is the author’s experiences as a bodyguard for Death Row records, experiences of specific call-outs and cases and so much more. I found ‘Black, White, And Gray All Over’ to be an interesting insight into the experiences of a US police officer and I thought that the author was open and honest throughout. The inclusion of life “behind the scenes” as it were, the hazing of certain officers’ lockers and the replication of their, sometimes expletive filled, speech helped to lend the book more authenticity. This is a revealing look into the experiences of a highly decorated Black police officer, and anyone interested in American culture and society may find this book of great interest.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
One of the biggest social issues facing our society today is the relationship between law enforcement and the citizens they commit to protect and serve. There seems to be a greater divide in believing all police officers are inherently evil. Society continues to face these problems in connection with racism, sexism, gender identity, and political differences. The author, a former police officer with over 30 years of experience working in Compton, California, and surrounding areas, is shifting the narrative to provide an insider’s look into a Black man’s life through trial, triumph, and life on the force. The book is far more than just “cop stories”; it is a looking glass into life in ways that had not been thought of before. Growing up in Detroit in the 1960s and 70s, the author set out on a path of destruction, living on the streets, dealing with drugs and gangs, and even ending up in jail. As a Black man who found himself on both sides of the law, the author offers a truly unique perspective to offer transparency to readers, showing the intricacies of how society works in different ways for different situations. Regardless of mistakes in his life, the author is the perfect example to show how anyone can turn their life around and do some good if they are willing to make that change.
|Publication date:||18th August 2021|
|Author:||Frederick Douglass Reynolds|
|Primary Genre||Biographies & Autobiographies|