Netflix’s new 10-part drama series, DAHMER—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has been the center of a lot of controversy since its premiere, especially since family members of Dahmer’s victims have denounced the series as “retraumatizing,” but one thing people who have watched the show have been pretty solid on is the exposure of racial and homophobic bias on the part of the police officers who time and time again let Dahmer slip through their fingers and go on to commit more horrific murders of mostly gay Black men. In short: Systemic racism and prejudice enabled Dahmer to keep killing.
Well, it turns out the former Milwaukee district attorney who prosecuted Dahmer, Michael McCann, really wants us to believe that, in the ’80s and early ’90s, no kind of racial or sexual orientation-based prejudice played a part in why police were so slow to catch on to the fact that arguably the most infamous serial killer in American history was operating right under their noses.
It’s also convenient that McCann admits he hasn’t watched the series but is still going out of his way to dismiss it as false and anti-police. One might get the idea that he’s really just an ex-law enforcement official reflexively backing the blue against allegations of racism. And, I mean, it’s not like we’ve ever seen that before, right?
If he had watched the series, he’d know that episode 3 featured a real-life recording between Glenda Cleveland—the Black woman played by Niecy Nash who called the police over and over again on Dahmer—and an officer who allowed Dahmer to go back into his apartment with a visibly drugged 14-year-old Dahmer called his boyfriend. In the call, the officer, who was apparently easily convinced that the child was an adult, can be heard mentioning the “lifestyle” of what he erroneously perceived as a couple, even though Cleveland never mentioned anything about sexual orientation. Does that not sound like homophobic bias? Is it not possible that the adultification of Black and brown children we’ve seen so often had something to do with why a white cop thought a brown child was grown?
But fine, this octogenarian white ex-D.A. doesn’t think the victims being mostly Black and Dahmer being a boy-next-door-looking white man had anything to do with him not being caught sooner. So why does McCann think it took so long for Dahmer to be brought to justice?
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