In a brutally frank column for the Daily Beast, Kali Hollway writes that the response by police across the country to street protests over the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis cops is nothing less than a “police riot” that may be beyond law enforcement reform efforts.
With cable networks showing their own reporters being arrested and fired upon by police, and social media loaded with videos of police arbitrarily attacking people on the street, the columnist claimed we have a major problem that reaches deep into law enforcement.
“Minnesota law enforcement’s latest spate of terror started with the murder of George Floyd and has continued unabated, with cops firing rubber bullets and tear gas—in the midst of a respiratory pandemic—at peaceful protesters. They’re far from alone. Officers have launched attacks against demonstrators in cities all over the country, Omaha, San Francisco, Portland, Columbus, Dallas, New York and Denver among them,” she wrote before adding, “Cops are rioting all over this country right now, again using militarized police violence to retaliate against people for daring to decry militarized police violence, and then suggesting the response is how the violence all began. These brutalities by police in recent weeks—the Floyd lynching, the murder of Breona Taylor, the Tony McDade killing, and now the rubber bullets, teargas, batons, fists and vehicular assaults—are both inhumane and familiar. “
Noting that “Not every cop is Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who casually and fatally applied his weight for nine minutes to George Floyd’s throat,” the columnist wrote, “In fact, most cops are actually Tou Thao, Chauvin’s literal partner in the crime of lynching Floyd—officers who either look the other way or stand watch. The former and the latter are both bad cops. The whole policing system is the problem.”
“Even with police departments’ notorious complicity in covering up officers’ criminal behavior, a 2019 USA Today investigation found more than 85,000 cops ‘have been investigated or disciplined’ for misconduct over the last 10 years, with those reports often hidden from the public or even other police departments when officers moved between them.” she explained.” “’Officers have beaten members of the public, planted evidence and used their badges to harass women,’ the report notes. ‘They have lied, stolen, dealt drugs, driven drunk and abused their spouses.’ Few of those officers faced any punishment beyond brief stints of desk duty. In the case of Floyd’s murderers, unequivocal documentary video proof of murder left the state unmoved. It took the loss of precious property to stir officials to the minimal action.”
“Every three seconds, police arrest someone, permanently altering lives with incalculable collateral consequences including loss of employment, housing, child custody and deportation. (After arrest, black folks are more likely to be charged, more likely to be wrongfully convicted and generally given heftier sentences.) These consequences devastate entire communities, especially vulnerable black areas already ravaged by decades of racist policymaking at every level,” she continued. ” For the most part, cops ensure ‘public safety’ only insofar as they reassure white folks that their power and property is protected from —and valued more— than literal black lives. And they enrich the coffers of the same white supremacist institutions that have always profited off racist capitalist exploitation of black folks.”
“As attorney and journalist Josie Duffy Rice has written, most white Americans already live without police in their communities. “What most of them cannot imagine is someone not policing black, brown and poor people,” she added before concluding. “Moving away from policing as we know it would take time, funding priority changes, and a shift in the Overton window of possibility. But most of all, it would take a profound change in the value this country places on black life.”
You can read more here (subscription required).