If someone is hurt in the course of police action, it’s not always the police’s fault. But when it is, making it about the rap sheet of the victim or what they may have done to not comply or “provoke” law enforcement is irrelevant. The Police hold the badges and guns. THEY hold the cards and have the choice. There are standards not being met and little accountability. We can’t even know whether some situations are unjust because of the opacity of the Blue Line.
I believe in innocence until proven guilty. I believe police are not judges and jurors and executioners but some act that way. And I believe they should be given equal protection under the law when accused of brutality. I just don’t accept they can act with impunity above the law, and even the perception this is so is an affront to decency and Liberty.
Excusing harm from our armchairs under all sorts of pretenses is worse than assuming guilt of law enforcement. Subconsciously much of it is racism and we won’t admit it. It is the reason we as citizens have become complicit in this mess. You want riots? This is how we get riots. You can wax your guns on the porch and beat your chests and just keep missing the point. But now I hear fear-based rhetoric about anarchy and chaos to garner support to heavy-handedly quell those who have had enough. If we back off long enough to see this isn’t a game of cops and robbers, there would be no need or excuse for frustrated mobs who have messages unheard for too long.
I have avoided politics on my wall so much the last few years, but this can’t stand. This will not resolve itself with hard-headedness, or fantasies about living in a Leave-It-To-Beaver world that only existed for suburban white folks. This will require listening and patience. This will require honest, fundamental change in the milieu of law enforcement. And law enforcement needs to be at the table, or be off the taxpayer’s payroll.
We need to be able to trust, and even want to admire our public servants. This isn’t about vandalism or looting. This isn’t about the inadequacies of urban culture. This isn’t about repeat offenders of broken-window policing tactics. This is about equality under the Law. No excuses, no special protections, no exceptions.
If there are good officers out there like many to believe there are, they need to take back their unions and their precincts and clean house. If they don’t, they have surrendered the high ground and will have fewer and fewer choices to “follow orders” or their conscience.