As police chiefs nationwide rush to the cameras to disavow the chokehold and ‘take a knee,’ one can’t help thinking it’s just a PR stunt to mollify public outrage over defenseless deaths at the hands of those sworn to Protect and Serve. Constantly told to ‘move along, nothing to see here,’ cellphone cameras are now revealing to us all that there’s plenty to see: A horror show of police brutality and murder.
More than a single tactic, what must be abolished is the dark institutional mindset that pervades law enforcement, brazenly displayed against peaceful protesters exercising their 1st amendment rights, and with full knowledge the cameras were rolling.
Choking may be banned but sadism is limited only by an officer’s imagination and the public’s tolerance. Many — especially minorities, the poor, homeless, mentally ill, the powerless and vulnerable — are routinely harassed & brutalized by non-violence that seldom makes headlines: Issuing a costly ticket for no-harm-no-foul traffic offenses; threatening to toss a homeless person’s possessions into the creek; planting drugs to fabricate arrests with impossibly expensive bail; etc. Such tactics can financially, emotionally and otherwise totally upend lives balanced on the thin edge of society and survival.
It is Social Terrorism, and every cop knows it.
It was on wide-screen display recently when our sheriff profanely declared he would not enforce the “f*%king health orders” of our County Health Officer. Those orders, having full force of law, were issued to protect us all from a plague that has taken 120,000 + lives and counting. With disregard for the well-being and peace of mind of all county residents, he exposed the imperious jack-booted mindset that — more than any knee or chokehold — murdered George Floyd.
The horror won’t stop until law enforcement is totally re-imagined, and mercilessly held accountable.