Sunday, September 28, 2014
#Ferguson and the lack of police accountability
By now, everyone should know about the protests in Ferguson, MO set off by the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown. If you don't know, also Google the police killings of Eric Garner and John Crawford. For a long time, it has been common knowledge that Blacks (particularly young Black men) have significantly less leeway or benefit of the doubt when interacting with law enforcement; I was about 12 years old when my dad had the "how not to get shot in vain by the police" talk with me. If you don't, you will be accountable instantly - via arrest, beating, or shooting. However, recent events have demonstrated the extent to which they can A) use excessive physical or legal force without fear of punishment or accountability, B) get caught lying about it without fear of punishment or accountability, and C) still be defended by large factions of the population. Death is definite, there is absolutely no coming back from that. Brown was shot in the head and upper body after allegedly after surrendering, because he stole cigars from a convenient store. The policeman said Brown attacked him and he ended up killing him in a struggle over the gun; ballistics showed Brown was shot from at least 35' away. The national media put Brown on trial for his own murder. Was Brown a knucklehead? It's very likely that he was. If he was caught stealing, he deserved to get arrested. If he resists, he may even deserve to get roughed up a little; he didn't deserve to be shot six times from 35' away. Eric Garner was selling cigarettes on the sidewalk, and then had a bit of a smart mouth when police approached him. So they choked him and dragged him to the ground while he wasn't resisting and was insisting "I Can't Breath." The police arrived with his dead body and claimed he died of a heart attack; cell phone video of the incident and the medical examiner both confirm that he was choked to death. In both cases, lethal force was not necessary as the suspect was unarmed and outgunned/outnumbered; the cops acted carelessly and excessively. What's more alarming? The police superiors don't seem very pressed to punish the officers for their overly aggressive action. What the fuck? Who's going to #PolicethePolice when they step out of line? And my last point is the support for the police. Now, I'm biased, I'm a young Black man whose had a few undeserved unpleasant interactions with the police. But how the hell are people countering the #Ferguson rallies with their own rallies hailing the policemen as a hero? Even if you think that the shooting was provoked by Brown and the cop didn't have much choice; it still wouldn't make him a "hero" it would mean it was an unfortunate necessary action on the job. Even if you still have faith in the police as an institution, how the fuck is he a hero? Are these people saying that he's a hero just because he shot a young Black knucklehead and left him in the street for hours, possibly as a message to his predominately Black neighborhood? Then the Ferguson protesters were treated like a crime mob when they were protesting the death of a kid who grew up there from the street they live on. There were snipers, tear gas being thrown, others getting shot, unlawful arrests, and everything else. The scenes from Ferguson look like the army squashing rebel protests in 3rd World Middle Eastern countries. But the NRA, KKK, and other have armed rallies on a regular basis and the police don't even get out of their cars. Long story short, I don't blame the whole police institution for "bad apples" shooting ppl. I don't think all, or even most, cops are bad. But I absolutely blame them for not bothering to reprimand them when they kill unarmed civilians and/or get caught lying about it. To defend the institution as non-corrupt, you have to treat the "bad apples" like fucking "bad apples" and get rid of them. I don't think this is a new trend, I think the new trend is people having smart phones to tape it happening. And no matter what, even if they shoot a 8 year old Black girl in her bedroom (yes, that has happened), someone will absolutely defend them as "heroes." Maybe those are the ppl they "Protect and Serve" cuz it damn sure ain't me.