Police Brutality: A National Endemic in Need of a Civil Rights Movement in Response
Browsing the Facebook I ran into a page dedicated to “Michael T. Slager Defense Fund”. He’s the South Carolina cop who shot 50 year old Walter Scott in the back 8 times killing him in North Charlotte.
Every time a racist white cop kills an unarmed black man, a “defense fund” is set up for the killer. After Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, not only a fund was set up for him that attracted a huge sum, some even wore T-shirts proclaiming support for him. Former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News that Officer Wilson “should be commended” for what he did.
Meanwhile, after the protests in Ferguson, Chicago State legislators proposed a new law which makes filming police officers a crime punishable by 4 years in prison. Earlier, Illinois Supreme Court struck down a similar law that criminalized recording of interactions with the police without their consent. Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) is introducing legislation that makes it a crime to videotape officers from within 25 feet. Instead of trying to stem the tide of police violence and brutality which goes on unabated in the face of so many violent killer cops going unpunished, these legislators are actually trying to encourage such unbridled killings, which speaks volumes of the state of so-called “race relations”, which is a more polite way of describing racism.
Police brutality and killings, especially against the minorities, is nothing new in this country. Neither is their planting of incriminating “evidence” such as drugs and weapons on their victims. What is new is the ubiquity of cell phone cameras that have shed a light on this national travesty. There is absolutely no doubt that if the video of the killing of Mr. Scott never surfaced, the officer would never have been charged and would be patrolling the streets again the next day.
There is hardly a day that passes without someone getting beat or killed by police. When the victim isn’t killed, he’s more often than not charged for resisting arrest or interfering with police work or some other trumped up charges on top of the injuries he suffers from the beating. I once was a witness to such a case during an anti-Israel protest in Los Angeles when a police officer came down from his horse and beat someone who was waiving a Palestinian flag and then arrested him for “assaulting a police officer”, which he never did. I went to court to testify that the man not only didn’t assault the officer but was actually beaten by the police. Courts have historically been much more willing to believe the police than civilian citizens, especially if they’re African Americans or other minorities. All it takes for an individual to get beaten and then arrested or shot and killed execution style is to challenge their authority and power and their power hungry ego.
While all the attention is diverted and channeled towards “terrorism”, which is used to justify endless wars and government eavesdropping on the citizens, the police are given free pass to kill people on the streets in numbers that dwarf all terror attacks committed since 9/11. It has been estimated that there is far higher chance of getting killed by police than an act of terror. While people’s emails, text messages and Facebook posts are read and their visited Internet sites are tracked and monitored, they let cops with repeated cases of brutality roam free and now want to make it hard for people to identify and expose them.
What we must realize is that the problem isn’t some “bad cop” within this or that police department or isolated to this or that city or the result of bad or inadequate training. The problem is institutional, nationwide and systemic and requires a nationwide, militant and protracted response by people on the streets. We must stop treating such incidents as isolated cases. This is an issue of civil rights and requires a civil rights movement to deal with it.
Expressing “support” for the police, as many racists do, even as they are on rampage throughout the nation killing innocent people everyday, can only mean one thing: support for war on minorities and embracing fascism. It’s way past the point when we can attribute such “support”, including that for so-called “police unions”, as if they’re some kind of workers’ unions, to naïveté or misjudgment or lack of awareness. Such support, at this juncture, is support for mass killings and fascism.