Police Violence in America: What Is To Be Done Now?
All you need to look at to see how corrupt the Baltimore police are – as is every police department in the could try – is their own statements since Freddie Gray was violently arrested, handcuffed, put in police van without any reason or cause for suspicion and murdered. As soon as the video of the arrest emerged and people questioned why he was arrested, they said because “he made eye contact with the officers and ran”. When asked what was the probable cause for his arrest, they replied they “don’t need a probable cause”. When it was revealed that he suffered severe injuries, including a severed spine and crushed voice box and died a few days later, they implied it was all because he wasn’t buckled in when placed in police van, opening the way for them to argue that his death was simply due to oversight and involved no malice. They also said that they would “investigate” what happened to him and report their findings by this Friday, three weeks after the incident. Then, yesterday morning, they said they won’t be reporting anything on Friday. Then, in the afternoon, they leaked to Washington Post that according to another suspect, who was in the van at the time, Gray was banging himself around, even though that suspect did not see and could not have seen Freddie Gray and could only hear him.
Baltimore Sun reported on September 28, 2014: “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant whose only crime was that she witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson”. Continues the report: “Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests”. “And in almost every case”, says the report, the charges against the victims were dropped or dismissed, which means they were arrested and brutalized for no reason.
Jerriel Lyles, to cite just one example, had bought some food at P&J Carry Out and was about to leave the restaurant when several Baltimore policeman blocked his way and prevented him from leaving. They frisked him without any reason and told him to sit on the greasy floor. When he objected, Detective David Greene hit him in the face with his radio so hard that his “eyes swelled up”, he said and “blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.” No reason was ever given for his arrest.
While after three weeks, they still can’t tell us how Freddie Gray was injured so badly that he died in their custody and can’t charge anyone for his murder, they could identify and arrest, without delay, those who damaged property or threw rocks at the police in Baltimore – 235 of them just on Monday.
Now that people have had enough and are revolting, all we hear from those same authorities who unleash the state terror and violence on people of color and the poor, is cries of nonviolence, that violence is not the answer. you see, violence is only reserved for them. But, people were marching peacefully in New York yesterday, when an officer was filmed punching demonstrators for no reason and dozens got arrested and taken to jail.
As I watch the police angrily hit and punch protesters, I’m reminded of the violent henchmen of Mafia bosses, who were more anxious and eager to beat and kill their bosses’ foes than the bosses themselves. It’s the same mindset and psychology. It’s also the mindset of an occupying army. You can’t reason with them, you can’t plead with them and you can’t expect any feeling of sympathy from them. They only understand and respond to violence. What we all need to understand is that violence is not something we choose; it’s what is imposed on us. In a society where police violence is the norm, resistance is the answer.