Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Past is Present

Since George Floyd's death we have had several other deaths at the hands of Police, a man in Vallejo, a man in Louisville sheltering protesters, Indianapolis police officers killed three young civilians in three separate incidents within hours of each other on Wednesday and Thursday, In Crown Heights Thursday another man "overkilled" after he shot and wounded another man — then refused to drop his weapon and moved as if he was going to fire at the 10 officers facing off with him, according to police. In Tacoma, Washington, Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old black man, died March 3 while in handcuffs, after being restrained by officers on the ground.  And more violence with a 74 year old man shoved to the ground sustaining a head injury in Buffalo; Teenage girls in Atlanta hauled out of a car and tasered and many other protesters beaten, based and arrested without incident of violence to predicate the action.  Then we have the Lafayette Park incident in Washington D.C. as another example of the militarization of Police.  If you have not read Radley Balko's book, Rise of the Warrior Cop,  on the subject it is a must read as it discusses the many techniques by law enforcement aided by military grade equipment to systemically abuse their powers in pursuit of an arrest and in turn contributed to many deaths across the country.

The truth is that this is not new and not simply a directive by misguided Police captains and their unions to support this although their role in this debacle cannot be overlooked.  And when the protests are over there may be some change but I wonder for all these running from protest to protest what they will do to ensure long lasting change and hold those accountable in doing so. I am going not at all.  If there is one thing I know about the Millennials they love to be there in FOMO but their ability for the long game is well not that great.  I watch several of them that I knew in Nashville run from one bullshit pursuit over another, they barely if finish one task before they leap onto another ant then it is lather, rinse, repeat where they profess undying fealty and devotion then onto the next.  And no two sum it up better than these two, what they could of done in productive ways is now wasted. IDIOTS.   It is laughable if not pathetic and why I just shake my head at it all. And hence it is why I am out.

Again I have had many many experiences with law enforcement and with the judicial system, it is a farce and nightmare as once in you can never leave. The endless victimization and blame seeking plus the money it generates is why.  And it is also why White folks who experience it quickly extinguish it with well placed Attorney's and money to buy the favor of the courts, they pay the fees and move on, their lives and incomes secure with a little tale to tell about the time they had a glass of wine too many and so forth to excuse what for most is a serious allegation, crime and punishment that lasts a lifetime.  The debtor's prisons and the endless cycle of poverty that home monitoring and interlock devices are not cheap, safe or actually all that.   And even when placed in jail you are often billed for that. And private industry that rakes millions off this including probation and parole.    Bail is another generator of funds and in turn a penalty that keeps many in prison even when they did nothing including civil disobedience, so please tell me darling Millennial how that worked for you.  I would also get into the bullshit about sex trafficking which is another exaggeration that  religious victim groups proselytize this as away to generate funds into their coffers but it is really to condemn pornography as the root of all evil and why men have to have prostitutes. What.ever.  But then again this is not about that, this is about Police Violence.  No, it is about how special interest monetizes crime and in turn fuels lobbyists to further generate laws on top of laws with more punishments, more penalties and in turn more money.  It sure is not about crime nor violence.

This is not new. Lynchings. mobs, blowing up churches, mass killings and of course even some of the looting and vandalism now is allowed by passive Police who refuse to engage as a form of a strike or sick out.  How many Cops during a mass shooting have killed innocent people in their hysteria?  Again they are trained to abuse and bully what do you expect?  Read the Thin Blue Line. Again not new.

If you’re surprised by how the police are acting, you don’t understand US history

Policing in America was never created to protect and serve the masses. It can’t be reformed because it is designed for violence

Malaika Jabali
The Guardian
Fri 5 Jun 2020

Amid worldwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd, activists around the US have raised demands for specific policy measures, such as defunding the police. Justifying these demands are the images emerging from the protests, with police officers ramming protesters in vehicles, indiscriminately attacking protesters with pepper spray and exerting excessive force. Local and state policing budgets have nearly tripled since 1977, despite declining crime rates. Even people unfamiliar with the police and prison abolitionist movement are starting, rightly, to envision that public spending could be used in more socially responsible ways.

But beyond the fiscal argument is an ethical one: policing in America cannot be reformed because it is designed for violence. The oppression is a feature, not a bug.

That seems like a radical sentiment only because policing is so normalized in American culture, with depictions in popular media ranging from hapless, donut-chugging dopes to tough, crime-fighting heroes. We even have a baseball team named after a police organization – the Texas Rangers.

But it’s time to look beyond the romanticization of American police and get real. Just as America glorifies the military and Wall Street, and some Americans whitewash the confederate flag and plantation homes, the history of policing is steeped in blood. In fact, the Texas Rangers are named after a group of white men of the same name who slaughtered Comanche Indians in 1841 to steal indigenous territory and expand the frontier westward. The Rangers are considered the first state police organization.

Likewise, as black people fought for their freedom from slavery by escaping north, slave patrols were established to bring us back to captivity. Many researchers consider slave patrols a direct “forerunner of modern American law enforcement”.

In northern “free” states, police precincts developed in emerging industrial cities to control what economic elites referred to as “rioting”, which was “the only effective political strategy available to exploited workers”. But, as described in the text Community Policing, this “rioting” was:

actually a primitive form of what would become union strikes against employers, [and] [t]he modern police force not only provided an organized, centralized body of men (and they were all male) legally authorized to use force to maintain order, it also provided the illusion that this order was being maintained under the rule of law, not at the whim of those with economic power.

In other words, police were never created to protect and serve the masses, and our legislative and judicial systems – from Congress to the courts to prosecutors – have made this clear. Congress’s 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, for instance, incentivized law enforcement officials to capture Africans suspected of running away from slavery, paying officials more money to return them to slave owners than to free them.

Instead of expanding the American political project to embrace black people as free citizens, our institutions made caveats to exclude them from the country’s founding principles. Historically, most black people were not considered human, let alone citizens worthy of police or constitution protections. We were property. Even free blacks were, at best, second-class citizens whose status could be demoted at any white person’s whims and who fundamentally had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect”, as the supreme court affirmed in 1856.

Modern court rulings have steadily eroded civil liberties to give police more power and permit racially discriminatory policing, convictions and sentencing. This entrenched history of violent white supremacy is a lot to attempt to reform. So just as 19th-century abolitionists set the terms of their fight beyond incremental improvements to slavery, abolitionists today assert that policing and incarceration must move past modest proposals that fundamentally maintain the system.

The billions of dollars that governments spend on increasingly militarized police can be better used to address the underlying socioeconomic conditions that contribute to police encounters. We should divert resources towards investments in mental health, public education, drug prevention programs, homelessness prevention, community-centered crime prevention and jobs development.

The immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s killing felt like another police encounter that would lead to yet another viral hashtag with little police reform. But the work of abolitionists has set the bar even higher. We should move past calls for criminal justice reform and instead make demands for freedom.

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