Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part Two

Posted on February 10th, 2015 in American Society,Law,Mendocino County,Race,Relationships,Self-Identity by Barry

Radio Curious continues our series on racism in Mendocino County, California. Our guest is Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff Orell Massey who, for the past 20 years has been the only black law enforcement officer in the county’s history.  A native of South Carolina, Deputy Massey was a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps assigned to the Foreign Service Embassy detail before he moved to Mendocino County. When I asked Sheriff Massey to be a guest on this program and share his experience as a black Deputy Sheriff, he asked:  “Are the people of Mendocino County ready to hear what I have to say?”    

In part one of our conversation, Deputy Massey describes some people’s reaction to him while he is in on duty.

In part two, recorded on February 1, 2015, in the Radio Curious studios, Deputy Massey gives his personal response when asked, “what is it like to be the only black Deputy Sheriff ever in the history of Mendocino County?” Later he shares stories about his off duty life, his goals and aspirations.

The book Deputy Massey recommends is “Code Talker:  The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of World War Two,” by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila.

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

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One Response to 'Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part Two'

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  1. Laura Diamondstone said,

    on July 28th, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I was very saddened hearing of Orell Massey’s experience in this county. I believe that he is not only a peace officer with astounding character but one with infinite tolerance. It is unseemly that he must suffer racial bias, open hatredm and name calling on his job and on a daily basis, no less. It is disheartening that the department and his peers do not seem to be able to offer any effective support or intervention. That there was petition initiated from my current hometown, Boonville, that refused his services is both horrifying and short sighted. I would welcome him in a heartbeat. So few people in this world show such diligence to their duty to public service with such stamina. I hope there is an opportunity in our lifetime that repairs these limits of human to human interaction and increases the violators’ capacity for decency if not compassion. Thank you, Office Massey for your service.

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