“As the nation reacts to the guilty verdict a jury handed to Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, Republican-led states are introducing punitive new measures governing protests.” – New York Times, 4/21/21
The entire nation has been closely following the trial of Derek Chauvin, and the jury finally delivered a guilty verdict on all charges in the death of George Floyd. We already knew that, regardless of the outcome of the trial, millions of people were going to take to the streets over the next couple of days. And you know what that means — the police are going to respond to these demonstrations the way they always do: by breaking bones, damaging bodies, and inciting riots.
The truth is, we have a huge problem with law and order in this country. Those in charge of enforcing the law never seem to go about it the right way. It seems like any time people gather in largely peaceful demonstrations, as they are constitutionally allowed to do, the police show up in full riot gear, agitate the protestors, and then descend on them in an all-out melee.
We’ve seen it time and time again over the last 60 years — from “Bloody Sunday’’ in Selma in 1965, to the anti-Vietnam War protests outside the DNC in 1968, right up to the present day. It’s a shame that the police in this country choose not to peacefully preside over protests and instead resort to unacceptable vigilante violence. While not all police officers at protests engage in this kind of outrageous behavior, we’ve seen enough pictures of bloodied and bruised civilians all across the country to know that these are not just isolated incidents. Clearly, their ranks have been infiltrated by a large number of bad apples belonging to shadowy hate groups bent on sowing chaos, which completely contradicts the rosy picture that the media would have you believe of “brave heroes” who “protect and serve.”
That’s why our city needs to be ready for their inevitable onslaught of aggression. As soon as I heard that the jury had reached a verdict, I thought to myself, Whichever way this thing goes, the cops are going to beat the city into the ground tonight. Immediately, I was reminded of last summer when protestors all over America were pummeled by overzealous law enforcement officers cracking every bone they could swing a baton at. I remember the iconic photos of cities just absolutely decimated by police brutality: the older man in Buffalo who was pushed to the ground, the moms in Portland who were pepper-sprayed, and the Minneapolis men who were shot with rubber bullets while sitting on their own front porch.
With that kind of human carnage on the horizon, it only makes sense that our city do everything it can to be prepared, whether it’s stocking up on gas masks, or organizing an entire political movement devoted to diverting funding from police departments and reallocating it towards programs that strengthen our communities. It’s a shame that it has come to this, but we have no choice but to deploy every resource at our disposal to ensure that these uniformed rabble-rousers do not continue to wreak havoc on innocent people.
Besides, don’t these cops know that this kind of senseless bloodshed doesn’t actually achieve anything?
Don’t they know that inflicting bodily harm won’t address the root causes of the issues they’re trying to resolve?
If the police want to be taken seriously, why don’t they do their jobs the way Eugene Goodman did when he saved countless lives during the Capitol insurrection? That’s what good policing looks like. The ruthless crackdowns we’ve witnessed are not how law enforcement in a just society is supposed to work.
Countless social science research shows that wanton government-sanctioned violence does little to effect positive change. And while I totally support police officers enforcing the law, there should be zero tolerance for extrajudicial paramilitary tactics like hurling tear gas, which clearly violates the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Geneva Convention.
The saddest part is, these police officers are destroying their own communities. They are bashing the kneecaps of their neighbors, busting open the skulls of their local community organizers, and poisoning the lungs of the very people whose taxes pay their salaries. There is no justification for the senseless destruction of community trust that can take decades to rebuild and leave neighborhoods worse off than they were before. Some neighborhoods in places like Detroit and Los Angeles still have not recovered from the damage police have caused over the years.
Don’t get me wrong; I respect the work that the police are doing. I just think that they’re going about it in completely the wrong way.
Have they tried just being peaceful?