Watch: This Is What It Looks Like When the Response to Protests Against Police Violence Is… More Police Violence

By Jon Queally, staff writer. Originally published at Common Dreams

Police driving their SUV cruisers into protesters in Brooklyn, New York.

National Guard and local officers firing paint gun rounds at people standing on their own front porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Massive armored S.W.A.T. vehicles and lines of riot police in Columbia, South Carolina and elsewhere.

Police units firing rubber bullets and tear gas at kneeling, non-violent demonstrators in Dallas, Texas.

Riot police knocking an elderly man walking with cane to the ground in Salt Lake City, Utah.

These were just some of the outrageous and violent scenes captured on video Saturday night amid demonstrations and uprisings in cities across the U.S. in protest of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week and the long history of police violence and social neglect in the country.

Here’s what happened in Brooklyn:

This is what it looked liked when people standing on their front porch in a quiet neighborhood in Minneapolis when the National Guard marched down the street telling everyone to “Get in you house, now!” before ordering “Light up em” and opening fire with paint pellets:

This is what it looks like when police officers push down an elderly man in Salt Lake City:

This was the scene Columbia which left a commentator to declare “we are living in a police state”:

And here non-violent demonstrators in Dallas, Texas kneeling down and chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” just before riot police open fire with tear gas:

Condemning the widespread militarized response by the National Guard and local police forces as an affront to human rights and international law, Amnesty International early Sunday morning condemned the behavior of U.S. law enforcement agencies.

“U.S. police across the country are failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters,” said Rachel Ward, national director of research at Amnesty International USA. “In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force. We call for an immediate end to any excessive use of force and for law enforcement to ensure and protect the legal right to protest.”

Ward said that all “unnecessary or excessive force must cease immediately, and all instances of potentially excessive or unnecessary force against protesters must be investigated and any officers who broke the law must be held accountable.” Ward argued that it is equipping police officers with military gear and asking them to behave as soldiers in the first place is what often leads to more violent clashes.

“Police must engage in de-escalation, before the situation worsens,” she said. “They should de-militarize their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organizers to reduce tensions to prevent violence or to stop it quickly as soon as it breaks out in order to protect the right to peaceful assembly.”

Amnesty also singled out President Donald Trump by name for sowing further division and violence:

In a widely shared commentary on Friday night, philosopher and social justice activist Dr. Cornel West argued that what is being witnessed right now in the U.S. is a “perfect storm” of discontent that blends the fresh outrage of Floyd’s killing—and the similar killings of others by police—with the underlying injustice of an American capitalist system that cannot fulfil the human needs of its people and that is soaked in racism and inequality.

“When you talk about the masses of black people—the precious poor and working-class black people, brown, red, yellow, whatever color—they’re the ones left out and they feel so thoroughly powerless, helpless, hopeless—then you get rebellion,” West said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a viral video post on Saturday afternoon said that anyone calling an end to the so-called “unrest” sweeping the nation in the wake of Floyd’s death is being nothing but hyppocritical and empty if they are not pairing that demand with calls to reform that systems that fuel such anger and despair.

“If you’re trying to call for the end to unrest, but you don’t believe healthcare is a human right,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “If you’re afraid to say Black Lives Matter. If you’re too scared to call out police brutality—then you aren’t asking for an to unrest. You are asking for injustice to continue and for your people to continue to endure the violence of poverty, the violence of lack of housing access, the violence of police brutality and not say a damn thing. That’s what you’re asking for.”

In response to the specific of police violence displayed Saturday in Brooklyn when the police vehicles tried to mow down protesters, Ocasio-Cortez rejected the argument put forth by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and others that such use of force was justified.

“NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings,” she tweeted. “Running SUVs in crowds of people should never, ever be normalized. No matter who does it, no matter why.”

Update: This post was updated to include comment from Amnesty International.

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101 comments

  1. timbers

    Maybe Assad and Putin can send the moderate rebels some manpads or something to help them resist forces loyal to the Turmp Regime. That way, they can blow up hospitals, water treatment facilities, apartment buildings, electrical grids, roads and bridges to liberate us.

    China: “I can’t breath.” Touche, America. You’ve been hoisted on your own petard. Bitten in the arse with your own B.S. I’m sure there are other ways of phrasing it.

    Reply
    1. MT_Bill

      Was wondering if we’d see either a lone wolf or corporate/nation/organized crime sponsored bad actor truly add fuel to the fire.

      I assume with all the algorithm based policing and video surveillance occurring, that someone’s fed a few thousand hours of combat footage into a database, and figured out how to pick up a person on a mission vs. Random members of a crowd.

      Combined with some sort of object-based detection for average than larger sized backpacks and also change detection where individually identified people are flagged if they’re suddenly absent their luggage. Pretty sure I’ve read about similar things for airport security.

      Sooner or later things are really going to blow up. Might be spontaneous combustion, might be arson. Either way there’s no shortage of material to burn.

      Reply
    2. mpalomar

      I’m sure there are other ways of phrasing it.

      How about this; the Democrat (and the Republican) utter failure to adequately respond to main street pain while main lining liquidity to Wall Street once again, is resolving to, at least for the Pelosi-Schumer establishment central committee, mission accomplished.

      They’ve succeeded in a pretence of doing their job, while getting away with juicing the markets and by obfuscating their treacherous response and thereby enabling the continued process of bleeding the bottom 60%, they’ve created the conditions for the chaos in the streets that may create an impossible scenario for Trump’s reelection.

      In other words they’ve shown, once the intelligence security state coup failed, that they’re willing to destroy the society they were elected to serve, in order to take Trump down.

      Reply
      1. .Tom

        > They’ve succeeded in a pretence of doing their job

        I don’t think they have.

        I think the mass protests are in large part a response to their total failure and the lack of any credible or legitimate leadership. The political class admited in great unanimous bipartisan spectacle and ceremony last month that their only job is to serve and defend capital with all the powers of state, and the rest of us can just go away and die, of disease that’s unprofitable to treat, of homelessness or hunger, or of police violence…

        And there’s an uprising against this faceless, leaderless illegitimacy. That’s not a successful pretense. That’s a failed pretense.

        Reply
        1. mpalomar

          I hope you’re right. I do think more and more people are seeing through the political theatre of the power elite. There are still a significant number mesmerised by the media shadow play.

          Reply
          1. sierra7

            Racism and white supremacy ARE part and parcel of our country’s history. The rot that is exemplified by the terrible conduct of these officers is part and parcel of the US view of the rest of the world. You have to be horrified watching the officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck as if it was just another day in the ghetto. To focus on looters and window breakers is to take away the basic feeling of “enough is enough” message not only to the local police in this mess, but to the politicians that often allow these kinds of deadly actions to occur. Our President is now a pariah. Turning off the lights in the WH; scurrying to the deep dungeon with a violin and an instruction booklet on how to play as the nation burns. “Those leaders who prevent peaceful change only precipitate violent change.” We are descending into hell.

            Reply
  2. rob

    the police are caught in a monkey trap. And like good little monkeys, they just won’t let go of the cookie in the jar.
    That is all they know. that is who they are.This is who they wanted to be.

    There was a scene somewhere where police officers JOINED the protests. This would be the way out for the cops. They could show that they actually WANT to bring peace to the streets….this could diffuse the anger, but they have to get real and allow themselves to be prosecuted for their crimes.
    But instead we get what is happening all over..
    cops showing their asses… acting like they are “the enforcers”.. and have power….
    damn their little minds.
    When people figure out these people live in those communities and go after them at home… they will be sh%t out of luck. Then ,being a cop… is being an enemy of the people. They may have some guns…. but the population of this country…. has more.
    And like any army occupying an enemy land… they will find out there is “the slow bleed” they will have to contend with.
    Because every time they show force to peaceful people….there gets to be fewer people who will “back them up”. then all they have is “the state”… the police state…
    and basically, screw the police state.

    Reply
    1. juno mas

      The “riot” gear helmets and face covering are intended to not only protect the face but also obscure the face in an attempt to make them unrecognizable/identifiable. That is also why the helmets only have numbers; no way to identify locale or police agency.

      It seems to me that the police are more concerned with legitimate protesters than the folks damaging businesses. Protect the shops, if you like, but let people protest. (This is all quite familiar: watched Watts burn as a high schooler,1965; watched the Sheriff/Nat.Guard riot in Isla Vista,CA (UCSB) as a participant in 1968; and like many others watched from afar numerous police against demonstrator clashes the past many decades.)

      It’s deja’ vu all over again.

      Reply
  3. Bsoder

    For perspective; The police shot & killed just over 1000 citizens last year. The five tear average is in the 900s. Note, that doesn’t include such things as the 9 minute long public extra judicial execution occurring in Minnesota and similar in the country. To my way of thinking this has gotten way out of hand. They all should be fired and departments defunded and certainly demilitarized. Anyone hired has to prove they have empathy meaning the ability to know another feelings and compassion as in caring about those feelings.

    It might have been yesterday’s links but someone devised a 7-8 step training program to added to any cop training to teach officers how to deal with citizens other than creating mayhem. At another level here we are again with two kinds of citizens really, one sworn, one not going at each other while governments do nothing. And whose interest does that serve? Not the people’s. We really have got to get control of all levels of government and get it working on our actual needs. No studies. No attempting. Real outcomes. Constitution needs some changes as well.

    Reply
    1. ShamanicFallout

      I agree with this but police and their unions have a lot of power, a lot of protection, and further to that, if they don’t want to follow directives from civilian authority, they simply don’t. The Minneapolis mayor last year banned his police force from taking these ‘warrior’ training courses. And the union president Lt Kroll said we are not going to follow his order and we will offer the warrior courses to our officers for free. Further, Lt Kroll said, ““I, myself, will be the first one to do it. If I were to be disciplined, it would never be upheld.”

      So now what? Who polices the police? If civilian government can’t do it, who, in reality, who could?

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Police have funding lines, under largely local control(?). Cut off their money. Instead of marching in the streets march into city hall.

        Reply
        1. Sacred Ground

          They won’t let you march in the street, they’re not about to let anyone march in city hall. Unless you’re armed. Then you can shut down a state government, let alone city hall.

          Reply
          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Meetings at most city halls are open to the public. The public can march in to sit in the meeting and even wait to raise new business in many towns. Town councils do not sway easily but meetings are seldom well-attended.

            There are many ways to ‘march’.

            Reply
  4. Louis Fyne

    this is an unpopular opinion to some, the local police absolutely need National Guard help—-to protect protestors (from traffic, criminals, etc.), to deter looting, and to capture genuine criminals.

    Literal combat soldiers get more downtime than the cops got this past week in many cities. Exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated humans make mistakes or do stupid things (both cops AND protestors).

    Want deescalation? Put more warm bodies in the cities—-tens of thousands of (unarmed/lightly armed) National Guard—to separate crowds, deter looting.

    just saying

    Reply
    1. .Tom

      I think more likely the cops need the National Guard to protect them while they incite and/or escalate riots.

      Reply
      1. workingclasshero

        All i know is my neighborhood got trashed because certain “protesters”decided they had to be like the rioters in whatever other city”s demonstration they were watvhing on their phone.i”ll take more cops and guardsman,thank you.also last time i looked the officers in minneapolis were fired or under arrest.so what’s the point?oh yeah,i forgot how cathartic it is for the opressed to burn down new affordable housing.this won’t end well and it shouldn’t.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          “oh yeah,i forgot how cathartic it is for the opressed [sic] to burn down new affordable housing.this won’t end well and it shouldn’t.”

          oh yeah, those spoiled poors don’t know how good they have it?

          Reply
        2. mpalomar

          i”ll take more cops and guardsman,thank you

          Or Congress and the Trump administration could recognise a national civil breakdown resulting from a pandemic and multiple shock waves of a failed financialised economy that has created an oppressed class of debt slaves.

          So why not declare a national emergency but instead of sending in the National Guard and militarized police institute medicare for all and a UBI?

          My instincts tell me the troubles would quickly subside.

          Reply
        3. Unfinished

          “certain “protesters” decided they had to be like the rioters in whatever other city’s demonstration they were watvhing on their their phone.”

          Perhaps. But you certainly fail to acknowledge that deeply held truths can also spill over into vandalism and looting at junctures such as these. These quotes, from an Oregon Public Broadcast article, are among the most telling and moving statements I’ve read on what we are witnessing.

          “Today what doesn’t sit well with me — what’s not sitting well in my heart — is that in the face of staggering persistent and inhumane justice, the focus of the public story has been diverted to miscreants and disorder… Expressions of rage and pain — they may be visible, but they are not our whole truth. More than expressions of rage, what has happened since Mr. Floyd’s murder is a deep expression of love.”
          Rukaiyah Adams

          “I know that, for me, it personifies how I feel inside… As wrong as it may be, it is a symbol of our shattering, our devastation, our internal beating every time we see a life lost like George Floyd.” 
          Kali Ladd

          https://www.opb.org/news/article/black-lives-matter-rallies-portland-civic-leader-confront-protests-oregon-racist-history/

          Reply
        4. td

          Maybe just maybe its not about this one murder by police, but about all the murders by police? On the other hand, why am I wasting my time replying to someone who is studiously avoiding understanding the ‘why’. Keep your head in the sand, and take out home insurance

          Reply
    2. Roger Smith

      Exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated humans make mistakes or do stupid things (both cops AND protestors).

      Now that is an unpopular opinion. Didn’t you hear? All cops racist and bad, all protestors peaceful. The only trouble is being caused by the most diverse white supremacists ever (from out of state).

      Sarcasm aside, absolutely. The entire unfolding of this, especially on part of the protestors, has been animal brain emotion lashing out. The police have to show up because these protests have almost always led to destruction. Of course any move police forces make is seen as instigating and justifies what the protestors think they are doing. It is a dangerous positive feedback loop that can only lead to worse scenarios.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        What a Catch-22 world we live in. Peaceful protests get routinely ignored so that the only way protestors can get their message heard is to riot, which of course, is bad and must be stopped by the powers that be.

        I’m a nonviolent person and I don’t condone riots, but I also understand why in this real world, people have to riot, so I won’t condemn them either.

        Reply
        1. Mel

          Like Greg Mankiw said, if the incentives reward cheating, then it’s rational to cheat.
          If the incentives *only* reward cheating, then looks like it’s *mandatory* to cheat.

          Reply
        2. Sacred Ground

          “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. And those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” – a New Yorker cartoon

          Here’s what I’m seeing, as an amateur historian of sorts (lifetime interest and reading, 6 years as a US history/poli-sci undergrad but never graduated, 35 years of blue collar work and world-watching):

          Unarmed protesters get the tear gas and plastic bullets and their whole neighborhoods get the clampdown because nobody is allowed to disrupt public spaces, their demands get ignored by major corporate media which focuses on and blames them for the police’s actions, and their own political party gives some support but no action on their demands while also blaming them for the violent police response and distancing the party from the protesting organizations.

          Armed protesters get ignored by police, allowed to shut down any public space including a state legislature, respectful attention paid to their demands by the media, and immediate support and action on their demands from their party leadership at the national level.

          (Of course, in no way can *armed* protesters be considered peaceful. They are carrying weapons while shouting in the face of police. “End the restrictions now!” is a legit demand. Open carrying or brandishing a weapon changes it to “End the restrictions now, or else!” That’s a threat of violence, intended to intimidate the state, with the explicit goal of a political effect. That’s terrorism, by any reasonable definition.)

          The difference I’m seeing is pretty obvious. It will not be long before the unarmed protesters catch on.

          Someone (maybe organized or not) is going to start showing up to the anti-racist-cops protests armed and intent on protecting their compatriots from brutal police tactics. As happened 50 years ago with the Civil Rights/anti-war movement. As happened 100 years ago with the labor movement.

          I’m a pessimist by nature, and I’m often pleasantly surprised when the world doesn’t go to shit so take the following with that grain of salt: This will likely get a lot worse, given the context of a new Great Depression in its earliest stages with all the general despair and rage that brings, the frustration of DECADES of inaction on the particular injustice of violent policing, anger from everyone at everyone else, the general and increasingly polarized social-political division between urban and rural, the rise of of increasingly aggressive and organized right-wing militias, and a basically fascist party in control with an incompetent, bought-ought party in opposition.

          Dr. West has it right on, it’s a perfect storm.

          Oh, and after nearly two decades of counterinsurgency wars, we also have an entire generation (on *all* sides of these conflicts) of combat veterans who are intimately familiar with the tactics and weapons of both insurgency and counterinsurgency. They know how rebels fight governments, what works and what doesn’t AND they know the US military’s tactics better than any Iraqi or Afghan militia ever could.

          Oh, and everyone who isn’t already armed appears to be arming up, even those who wouldn’t have even considered it just a year ago, in a domestic legal arms market saturated with cheap AR-15s and AKs. Let’s not think about what’s on the illegal market.

          I don’t see how this doesn’t go to war.

          Whoever first said it (usually attributed to MLK), it’s true that when peaceful change is impossible, violent change is inevitable.

          (And since this is an economics and business oriented blog, I have to quote Christopher Plummer’s character in the movie The Inside Man. He plays a banker whose family fortune had been built on Nazi plunder during the war. “When there’s blood in the streets, buy land.” THAT, my friends, is how wealth turns into dynastic wealth.)

          Reply
      2. JBird4049

        And the many scenes of nonviolent, often law abiding people being brutalized by the police? Including the current protests? People have been saying very peacefully about the criminality of the police nationwide and gotten nothing except more criminality by the police. Almost as if it is laws for thee, but not for me.

        Reply
        1. Roger Smith

          It is almost as if 6 or so years of messaging focused on isolating race, coupled with joint Identity Politic focus on how white people are responsible for all evils ever didn’t really help create any unity and progress in curbing the militarization of police in this country. Who knows where it went wrong.

          Reply
    3. mpalomar

      Want deescalation? Put more warm bodies in the cities

      Alternately our failed leaders could, as they should have done long ago, institute health care for all and a UBI solution of some kind.

      Reply
    4. CPJ

      The police fancy themselves “warfighters”, having been enabled by policies supplying them military equipment. If they wish to play soldier, they need to be sent through basic training and spend a couple of years on the front line in the ME. Murder a civilian? You get to learn de-escalation, restraint, and how to navigate civil unrest as a professional in a sandbox with a population that hates you.

      If the Democrats were serious about police reform, they would annihilate the police unions, exempt police departments from broad immunity, force officers to hire and pay for their own criminal and civil attorneys, and Biden could introduce mandatory minimums for police misconduct, forcing convicted cops to hang out in gen pop. None of this protective custody coddling. Cracking skulls is much more egregious than smoking crack.

      Reply
      1. Sacred Ground

        Militarized police goes well beyond equipment and self-fancy. I’m pretty sure the majority of police are themselves veterans. It’s a traditional practice for departments to recruit from the military. (When I served 25 years ago, the prospect of a practically guaranteed job as a cop was a recruiter’s selling point.) They’ve been to basic. They’re trained as soldiers. That’s part of the problem. They’re trained as soldiers before they’re trained as police, so they bring the soldier’s mindset to their new jobs with departments that train them to act as they do. Much of that de-escalation and restraint is trained out of them.

        The difference now is that traditionally though police have always been quasi-military in their org structure, uniforms, and ranks, they’ve also been pointedly NOT military, but civilian peace officers. (They were often no less brutal as cops. Police brutality is of course as old as policing itself, but actual militarized actions during times of civil unrest were carried out by an actual military force, the state’s National Guard, under the command of the governor under very specific and temporary emergency conditions.) They observed situations and were there to step in if it got out of control, but they didn’t have to be always in direct and total control. Public servants, there to mediate disputes, catch crooks, enforce laws that protect the community where they were not just members of the community but a necessary component.

        Modern militarized policing has blurred that once-clear line between civilian law enforcement and soldiers fighting a war. The police have taken on for themselves the role formerly played by actual military and are called upon all to carry out militarized actions all the time. It’s assumed to always be a state of emergency in cities.

        The cities’ police now refer to the rest of us as “civilians.” They no longer view themselves as civilians with lawful authority but as soldiers occupying hostile territory and it’s *their own freaking cities.*

        The modern police paradigm is to be in complete control of all situations at all times, using as much dominance and force as required, all in the name of self-defense from a population assumed to be always dangerous and on the verge of chaos. It’s the “Thin Blue Line” paradigm, the notion that they alone are all that stands between civil order and complete disintegration of society, which is always at risk of imminent collapse. It’s far too easy and common for police thus trained to be always escalating situations, placing at risk the people whom they’re allegedly risking themselves to protect.

        The restraint, de-escalation, and civil treatment, not to mention total lack of arrests, of armed protesters shutting down MI government shows us these ways of policing aren’t forgotten. They are perfectly capable of standing there with stoic grace while some angry jerk screams in their face. They are also capable of cracking skulls and mass arrests. They are selective about who gets which treatment.

        That it’s pretty much just the white, armed, and rural/suburban protesters who get treated like citizens rather shows us that they aren’t exactly neutral. They’ve picked a side in a domestic political fight, which professional police, or military for that matter, should NEVER do.

        It’s insane to me that our domestic police are permitted to act with less restraint among our own people in our own cities than our military rightly exercises while occupying a foreign war zone.

        Reply
    5. teacup

      Wall Street been looting Main Street for the past forty years – gee, where would poor people get the idea?
      Media hysterical over marginal micro-looting instances; Media response to massive system wide looting? Crickets. Where’s the outrage over the latest bailout?

      Con man in chief’s rapid Federal response to this vs his half-ass, thumb up his butt response to Covid-19 says it all.

      Reply
    6. sierra7

      We need to get the police out of their police cars and back on “beat (walking) patrol”. Where they all know everybody and everybody knows them. That’s the way it used to be. Today there are some foot patrols but the majority of policing is done out of cars. As far as “arms” are concerned it is too late to close that door. Too many guns all over the place. There is no solution to any of this except to get the police back on foot patrols.
      In all these events the real riots begin when the police are called to put a stop to “looting”. In reality they end up rioting against the legitimate protesters. Having a flaming torch for a president doesn’t help. He should be confined to the basement of the WH where he can learn to play the violin while the country burns.

      Reply
      1. Sacred Ground

        That would be far too dangerous for them. To just walk around and be a part of the community is to relinquish control. They are trained to always be in control of all situations at all times.

        The great Catch-22 is that they are permitted to be so aggressive and dangerous to us precisely because they consider it too dangerous for them to safely walk among us *while at the same time* consider themselves, and are lauded by the public, as heroes putting for their lives on the line to protect us. From us.

        Reply
  5. Dr. John Carpenter

    I had this gut feeling we were going to see this sooner than later based solely on the economic pressures from COVID and the lack of response. The Floyd murder just lit that powder keg. So many have been warning about a hyper militarized police force just waiting for this moment.
    I don’t know how it ends. Trump is obviously egging this on but the alternative (I guess) is Biden who helped bring us to where we are and hasn’t offered an alternative plan anyway. I’ve seen a lot of people reference 1968, but I fear that was just a dress rehearsal for what we are about to see.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      as for trump…one of the Daily Mail articles(which, BTW, excellent work for a yellow rag. especially the pictures)…mentions almost in passing that trump has expressed fear for his safety to aides.
      this, while being shuffled off to the bunker, with the mob outside.
      in other words, as it should be.
      “the situation is excellent…”

      engaging in a little psychoanalysis(analysis of a psycho?) from afar…people like trump thump their chest and wave branches when they feel threatened.
      and for someone who’s biggest concern seems to be how he appears to his supporters, it can’t be lost on him just how bad it looks for American citizens to be mowed down in the street by cops and troops….nor how bad it looks for the white house to be under siege in this manner….and by what appears to be a veritable cross section of America.

      and, i hasten to add….as i’ve seen in many of the tweets and such…this sort of cop riot has been ongoing in the back alleys and the poor parts of town for decades.
      and it was met with outright denial.
      none of my family believed me when i wailed about the cops beating me with sticks, or chasing me, or smashing the taillight, or arresting me for nothing.
      assumption was that i must have done something to deserve it…and I was a middle class white dude….however strange.
      the black folks i knew and have known had it much, much worse…and America, writ large, turns a blind eye. too much trouble to even look into it.
      now that the downgrading of so many has accelerated, due to the covid depression….with all these formerly lower middle and even upper middle class people falling into precarity…it’s only a matter of time before it explodes into full view(and, no…i don’t think this is “It”, yet)
      and the media heads will look on in wonder and confusion…”what are they so angry about?”
      when even a ranch wife, small-c conservative, working at the cigarette store is aware of the gross injustice of all of this…the cops, the economy, and on and on…and shaken enough to voice her fear and wonder to me, essentially at random…well…it ain’t 1995.
      when that woman lists off names…freddy gray, treyvon, eric garner,michael brown…even amadou diallo…from behind the ad hoc plexiglass, something fundamental has changed in this country.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Agreed. This morning I’ve seen reports that one of Trump’s top advisors is telling him to tone it down or he’s going to lose the suburban white woman vote. (It may have been that same Daily Mail link, now that you mention it, which is excellent stuff.) That seems to be about all that motivates him, so I guess we shall see what happens.
        And to what you’re saying about black america and police, it’s interesting isn’t it that everyone has “a black friend” yet so many have no idea this happen to black folks every day. It’s a super crucial conversation that needs to happen, but it’s almost like no one knows how to start it? I think we’re seeing that now, finally, which is good. Too bad it had to come this far.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I grew up down the road from a former plantation that had been bequeathed to the former slaves. big house was still there, etc.
          90 year old black man who’s folks were slaves was my grandad’s best friend.
          they had a BBQ stand there together…so i spent a lot of time with rural black kids when i was a pup:crawfishing, throwing rocks at the wheels of passing trains, big red and a giant pickle(!)….
          brother’s best friend was a black boy from that intersection community.
          we learned long ago how frelling terrible america could be if you were black…or if you were white and friends/friendly/not-a-dick with black people.
          once, i learned that one of my buddies was a racist, when driving through that place he yelled the nword out the window at several young black guys i had grown up with. I pulled over and ordered him out of the car, and he pretty much filled his pants.
          the Brothers and i had a big laugh about it later.
          lack of exposure, archaic ideology of Lost Cause and “manliness”, and the remarkable way the Herd reinforces it’s mores and folkways…all contribute to the perpetuation of all this mess…before fox or am radio or the withering and decrepit Klan ever get out of bed.
          Exposure is, IMO, the best medicine…let the white dude work alongside the black dude for a time, and the opinions will change.
          that’s what’s happened out here with the white/brown relations(only 3 black people in the county(which noone will talk about, curiously)…
          intermarriage, kids thrown together in school, and a general trend of shaming overt racist assholery have greatly lessened the visible animus.
          note how, over time with these kinds of protests, how many more white faces there are, as opposed to prior eruptions.

          someone mentioned the other day the idea of abolishing cops as we know them and replacing them with randomised conscription to fill that role…where everyone gets a chance to be the protector of the peace.
          I think it’s worth a try…because the “professional” cops have failed badly at the homilies on the doors of their paddywagons(“to serve and protect”).
          keep a forensic or whatever expert around…because there are specialised skills needed for real police work…but the rest? citizens.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            To me, conscription is the only way around the obvious need for a law enforcement and the current police forces which need to be purged because we are in a state of exceptions if there are any not a few bad apples.

            The people attracted to the current police force are too dangerous to continue.

            We will always have bad actors, but the legions of good cops which I have been assured exist don’t seem to ever deal with the few bad apples. As far as oversight and continuing discussions by electeds, the current crop can’t handle it. Why conscription? Local posses strike me as ideas that might work in certain sized communities, but would just be worst than the worst sheriffs outfits. Obviously there does need to be a certain amount of organization and ability to respond.

            Then of course, there is the pipeline of veterans into police forces. I would wonder seriously about head trauma, maybe not so much in the newer police but guys who joined five to fifteen years ago.

            Reply
      2. sharonsj

        I’d like to add that this goes on everywhere. I live in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania where it is 99.99% white. We have learned which towns to avoid where the cop and the local judge collude to charge people with imaginary $100 violations needed to fund themselves.

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think this is a legitimacy crisis. This isn’t going to end until major concessions are made on the oat of the power elite who have decided to go home during the start of our new and historic depression.

      Promises of November won’t work in light of Biden’s obviously prepared “you ain’t black” remarks.

      1968 youth prosperity was much higher. Millennial wealth is nothing at the start of new depression. Kaboom. Now we have pundits calling for a joint statement from Shrub and Obama. They are so removed they think trotting Shrub out is a good idea.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        It’s rather telling to me that I’ve seen graffiti in the wake of this addressing “the status quo” and economic justice, as much as one can tagging buildings in a riot. I’ve said about the white “deplorables” and I’ll say about the black “thugs” that I think both are much more attuned to what’s going on than TPTB know. I don’t think Biden’s “return to normal” and “nothing will fundamentally change” is going to cut it anymore.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I also don’t think any of these people (our electeds aren’t remotely ready for this). Even for the most deluded member of Team Blue, they don’t grasp that mid-January is very far away and the rent is past due.

          Food prices. Rent. Utilities. Public space for keeping cool. Libraries are air conditioned. Can you imagine limiting? The kids are loose and at home. Summer jobs are gone. Its going to be a long year.

          Reply
    3. Rolf

      So many have been warning about a hyper militarized police force just waiting for this moment.

      Yes. Giving police departments discounted military hardware (DoD’s so-called 1033 program) only ensures that responses to civil disobedience escalate immediately. This piece from 2014 after Ferguson cites Peter Kraska, author, Militarizing the American Criminal Justice System:

      This expansion [of police militarization] is having a dramatic impact on how the police perceive the public (more as enemy combatants than citizens of the community they are serving) as well as how the public perceives the police (more as an occupying force that cares only about maintaining law and order through military style tactics, hardware, and appearance).

      This dynamic can readily lend itself to the police using deadly force inappropriately, and to the public reacting to these incidents with outrage and complete distrust of what they perceive as an occupying force that does not have their best interest in mind.

      In short, the police lose all legitimacy in the eyes of the people they are serving—which only reinforces a we vs. they mentality among the police. This has been the danger inherent in this well-documented trend toward police militarization; this is the ugly reality that is playing out in Ferguson.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        What really opened my eyes was when I worked in this podunk town. I had to man a booth at the county fair for my employer. The police had a display I guess you would call it of their wares. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t an army recruiting thing. Out there, the biggest problem they have is meth and oxy. I couldn’t imagine what they thought would possibly every require the giant military vehicle and all the gear they had brung. You’d think they were taking on Al-Qaede (and I’m sure many of them did think that).

        I have a friend who lives in downtown LA. Some of the videos he’s been posting look like someone had taken middle east army footage and changed the background. Absolutely unreal.

        Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            How many poor blacks in urban ghettos in Montana, again? But at least this shows it is possible to back out of the Army of Occupation schtick.

            Reply
          2. Rolf

            Thank you for posting these links, lots of insights within. Among them,

            — Body cams don’t reduce police violence …
            — There is no evidence that better police training programs or “implicit bias” training changes police behavior. The trainings vary in quality and rarely result in any accountability/changes in decision-making …
            — More restrictive state and local policies governing police use of force are associated with significantly lower rates of police shootings/killings by police …
            — Police depts that get more military weapons from the federal govt kill more people

            Really worth reading; there are links to other pubs, video as well.

            Reply
        1. Abi

          As an outsider visiting and looking in, the one thing I find jarring (and I live in a country where police run amok so trust me that’s nothing new) is that in the US there’s this unequivocal reverence for the police. Like even at the border entry foreigners are usually scared because we know US immigration is just extraordinarily harsh – there’s this demand of total obedience and I couldn’t put it in words before exactly but it’s like they just expect to be obeyed by virtue of being police no questions asked, the posture is like they are an overlord. I’ve lived in quite a few places in my life and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          Actually, looking at scenes in Afghanistan and Iraq (heck, any American war) the soldiers and marines look less scary, and often more professional, than the police in their “riot” gear. This while going into, during, and after combat.

          What does it mean when a soldier in full gear looks less terrifying, and more human, than SWAT or riot police is something to ponder.

          Going by memory, during the 80s/90s the San Francisco PD in full on riot gear were less scary looking than the riot police today in other cities. And they were scary enough back then.

          Reply
        3. sierra7

          “…. had taken middle east army footage and changed the background. Absolutely unreal.”
          Now maybe some Americans can empathize on how bad it is for ordinary Palestinians under Israeli rule…….

          Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        What to do about cops versus everyone else?

        Per this study, 19% of police are ex-military. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/10/15/police-with-military-experience-more-likely-to-shoot Goes on to say that those police who were actually “deployed” to imperial war zones were 3 times as likely to shoot than police with no military time, and those whose duties were in non-combat jobs (the vast majority of service people are in support and stateside or Germany or Japan and such) were 2 times more likely to shoot.

        Anyone who has tracked the behavior of Imperial troops in Fallujah and Kandahar and such has seen the combination of adrenalin, fear, rage and excitement with which they go at the locals. “Kicking in doors,” roughing people up, lording over the fearful citizens of those far off places. Yes, there are real moments of decency where Troops and “hajjis” just do ordinary stuff together too, but the baseline is “always alert,” and from a position of “superior firepower” and a sense of entitlement to be there and do what they are doing to “accomplish the mission,” however inchoate or devolved into “going outside the wire” to search and destroy. As one who was in that position a long time ago, I have empathy for these guys (and gals, remember) who start off either being decent and kindly disposed, or come on ready to “light them up” (or in earlier times, “bust caps on ‘em.”

        The experience does something to anyone who gets through it. My view is that it is not a wise policy to have these people doing “serve and protect” (that BS motto) when they come off off multiple (in many cases) deployments of “search and destroy.” But there’s lots of come-along greasing of the path from being part of the imperial armies of occupation, into “civilian” police jobs. Anyone who wants to understand the reasons why ex-troopers make bad police needs to put on their critical eyes and read this article: “Why military veterans make great cops,” https://www.policeone.com/police-jobs-and-careers/articles/4-reasons-why-military-veterans-make-great-cops-CXnbR6T9Kub4OwdK/ . Extols the militarized virtues (team player, communicator under attack, leadership in the “squad” while never complaining and always pushing forward (“pushing” is almost as frequently heard in audio from helmet cams as “fuck”), and “stress management” from hours of routine punctuated by “moments of extreme stress.”

        Social dynamics in Notagainistan between imperial troops and locals are fraught, for good reason. The neocons have forced US troops into position as occupying forces, or remnant or special ops at war with their environs. The “policies” have bred up a bunch of men and women with PTSD issues who think of the people they are confronting on those people’s home ground as less than human, as “threats” from all directions, as “wogs” and “hajjis” to be herded and shoved around, and killed for “resisting.“ And the ex-troops form up into the “thin line” that is so obvious, closing ranks and covering up the violence and abuse that their “squad” does. Stuff like this: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kill-team-leader-gibbs-found-guilty-of-murder-71925/

        The videos from all the “incidents” occurring in this explosion show that there are thugs and anomic pricks on all sides, whether police, people of color, white folk sticking themselves into the fray, and obvious or less than obvious provocateurs. Both police and other agencies, and from various “interest groups.” I don’t have a quick prescription for how to remedy all the momentum and inertia that has been generated in the police -pubic divide, leading to the so many cases of police abuse of power and immunity and impunity. But obviously the military model is a sick one, and it’s fostered by the power structures that want to preserve their domination, also from a position of immunity and impunity.

        It’s disappointing to read the many comments (who know how many are bots? Part of the decimation of social relationships that profit a few at the expense of the many) that praise violence, mostly from the violent nominal “conservative” side. And so much of this is polluted by adherence to abhorrence of “Trump,” who has become a shibboleth with a largely binary meaning.

        It’s also disappointing to see the rational and decent voices being shouted down by maybe bot voices, and demagogues on several “sides” of all this. I don’t see much of a
        decent way out of this wind-up this time, compared to the times that black and poor parts of cities have burned in the past. Not much sense of a ‘new dawn” over the horizon this time But maybe I am just getting old.

        Reply
        1. mpalomar

          “I don’t see much of a decent way out”

          One way out, had we a government of the people etc., would be national health care and UBI. With a less desperate and tormented citizenry, the current flare up would not likely have the knock on of a broad and sustained eruption of anger.

          Cops of course are prime candidates for burnout and when burnout results the consequences are disastrous. By the very nature of the job, cop careers should be short, perhaps national service option with few extended career paths and only for those highly trained in ameliorative community service.

          Another obvious point; because of the shredded safety net, unprepared cops are dealing with homeless and mentally ill people, a set up for profound failure.

          But back to your original ‘no way out’ observation, it is indeed difficult to imagine because, despite the fact that other countries have shown ways to do it better, it apparently will take miraculous events to change course in the US super power state. Something to do with Lord Acton’s observation.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          From the little I have read on ex-veterans and police work, it can either be an improvement or it can be a mistake.

          Much the same as a well trained, professional cop from the big city getting a new job in some small town can be better than the locals. Same with the combat veterans who were well trained and followed the much more rigorous rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. As in “uh, why is everyone so scared right now? I use to see this every Friday and Saturday night when the bars closed or when the local gangs starting fighting. Nobody is shooting at you, or even shooting at all. Put that gun/taser/pepper spray/club away and just be polite for now. This isn’t the Crips, Bloods, or ISIS now.”

          There are also those with PTSD or who never really got to fight or patrol who are problem children, but the point is that it really depends, and to put all veterans, like all police into the “dangerous thug” category is really unfair and inaccurate; however, many police departments are not looking for competent professionals. They are looking for, bluntly, professional thugs.

          Reply
  6. .Tom

    The more spectacular the images of violence and destruction, the better for the purpose of ratcheting up authoritarianism and the impunity of state violence. The state can turn any big enough protest into a race riot that works for their agenda and against the protesters’ agenda. The social control is even more effective if the state allows us to understand that this is the case.

    It makes me feel like I’m going insane.

    To consider it a feature of an inevitably failing empire makes the feeling worse.

    A number of my friends were at the protests yesterday in Boston. They were huge. Some expressed being encouraged and more hopeful as a result. Later, near midnight, another friend live streamed what appeared to be a building in downtown in fire. Her commentary expressed disappointment.

    I have no way to communicate with them. These friends are good people, a lot younger than me, with their lives ahead of them, and they should feel hope. So I really have to just keep my thoughts to myself.

    And the media is broadcasting the likes of Susan Rice blaming the destabilization in Russia.

    I’m a character in an Adam Curtis documentary like HyperNormalisation. How to stay sane?

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      BTW, For those who haven’t seen it, highly recommend HyperNormalisation. That’s what we’re living now.

      Reply
      1. Polar Donkey

        These protests seem different. A local guy here in Memphis said he has been to every protest the last 5 years. A lot of new faces and for first time he saw white guys breaking windows. White guys set fire to city hall in Nashville Saturday. Right-wing militias see a common enemy in the police. Maybe this is why establishment freaking out.
        A weird thing happened to me Saturday. I had to drive from Memphis to Sikeston Missouri. Just across Missouri state line, a state trooper pulls me over. He says he pulled me over for not using my turn signal to change lanes on the interstate. He asks me where I am going. Takes my license and for 10 minutes runs a background check. Gives me back my license and let’s me go. He was nice the whole time but it was weird. All these cities where protests happening keep talking about out of towners getting arrested.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve never heard of protesters bringing ball-peen hammers with them to protests, and that seems to be the tool of choice for far right wing tools playing Kristal Macht Frei.

          Reply
  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    I suspect Biden’s charlemagne appearance and the Cooper incident are part of what’s going on. Now, there is no room for “dialogue” and formerly legitimate leaders stopped being legitimate. Trump might be worse, bit there isnt a Team Blue elected who didn’t know what Biden is.

    Then there was the Karen openly admitting what the police are.

    Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      Gotta love the black youth behind the camera chanting “save us” and the other guy saying “he’s got my vote”. I keep hearing this nonsense that voting doesn’t work to solve problems but the real problem with voting is that too many people vote without understanding the BS depth of the decision,barriers to info, individual ignorance, etc… Obviously a lot of that is by design, just as the igniting of racial divisions in various ways to prevent cohesion.

      I wonder how much better off people might be if the truth to Obama’s tenure in office alone was understood. People at least have some ideas about Bush because of neo-liberally slanted media.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Shrub was treated like a saint. The whole blog thing was a response to Shrub and the msm, and Olbermann went off on a forgotten part of GE’s empire. People who should know better lied to themselves and served as defenders of Obama, but the msm worshipped Shrub. The NYT sat know the wireless warrant tapping story for fear of interfering with the election.

        The daily show played unedited clips of Shrub and occasionally added a bit of context to W’s wild claims, but that was the msm reporting.

        Reply
    2. .Tom

      Right. Biden was literally, if not deliberately (idk), taunting charlemagne and the black community: Look at my record. I legislated segregation, class oppression and white supremacy. But I’m all you got, man.

      The Central Park Dog Strangler was so perfect it’s like The Onion did it.

      Reply
      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, that video was amazing.

        Not to take away any responsibility or agency from Amy Cooper, but in her tone of voice and irrationality, she seemed possessed by the ghosts of “threatened” white womanhood past, a vehicle for the geist of present, present and future atrocities.

        Reply
  8. Arizona Slim

    Here in Tucson, there were protests on Friday and Saturday nights. Not too far away from the Arizona Slim Ranch, but not so close that I could hear them.

    Last night, Arizona started an 8pm to 5am curfew. And, let me tell you, last night was quiet, even by lockdown standards.

    I haven’t been Downtown, but I got the impression that the protest there weren’t just about the death of George Floyd. Our Downtown has been heavily gentrified, and some of the targeted businesses are very much a part of that gentrification.

    Reply
    1. Randy G

      @ Az Slim

      I was driving around Tucson at 11 PM last night, running errands: swung by the post office to mail off some damn bills; filled H2O bottles at a coin dispenser; stopped to walk the dogs as they love evening forays during hot weather.

      An unusually pleasant Sunday night with almost no traffic, I decided to swing by the 24-hour gym, Planet Fitness, to see if the turnout was sparse enough to feel safe using the exercise equipment during Covid19.

      It is a large space, always bright and well lit, and there was literally no one in there. Amazed at my opportunity to have the gym all to myself, I headed in. A young man at the desk, wearing a mask, checked me in with their non-touch scanning system.

      Since I don’t have cable TV at home — and only watch grudgingly while on the treadmill — it was at this moment that TV “news” notified me that Arizona was locked down, AGAIN, and I was a scofflaw curfew violator.

      Engaging a second Planet Fitness employee in conversation, I learned that they would be staying open all night during the curfew even though their customers would be in lockdown. He concurred that the whole thing was rather strange.

      The dogs and I made it safely home without engaging in any banter with police officers. An interesting start to 2020.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        The AZ curfew contains an exception for patronizing a private business, so you were OK.

        It’s basically just an excuse for universal stop & frisk.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          This morning, I had a couple of errands to run. So, on the bike! Out into the world!

          Well, guess who I saw? The police, that’s who! Boy, were they out in force this morning.

          At one intersection, I was waiting for the light to change so I could ride across a major street. And, lookie, there’s a police car planted in the bike lane on the other side of the intersection.

          Officer, please get your K-9 back into your car so I don’t have to tangle with it or you while I continue heading north on Mountain Avenue. Which, BTW, is one of the major bicycling routes in the heart of our city.

          Cop finally got dog back into car. Light changed, and I rode very carefully in a northbound direction. By the time I crossed the intersection, the cop and his dog had gone off to some other adventure.

          Whew.

          Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    China hasn’t been slow to point out to America’s leaders the riots in the homelands. ‘Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, wrote on Twitter: “The ‘beautiful sight’ defined by US politicians has eventually extended from Hong Kong to the US. Now they can witness it by their home windows. I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the US, like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”

    Also, ‘State news agency Xinhua described the chaotic scenes as “Pelosi’s beautiful landscape”, a veiled reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments last year that the mass protests in Hong Kong were “a beautiful sight to behold”.’ Certainly a lot more countries will be less tolerant of having Washington lecture them about human rights going forward.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3086835/chinese-state-media-says-us-demonstrations-are-beautiful-it

    Reply
  10. Robert

    The closest we have had is the london riots in 2011. The police, whilst in large numbers, did not escalate by charging or firing rubber or real bullets. They did however record the activity and afterwards prosecuted those that had caused damage, many of which turned out to be middle class students caught up in the rush/highs of it.
    As an outside observer, it does look like the police have too much authority in the states and seem to assume every person is guilty and treated as such. The fact they are called law enforcement indicates the stance, rather than over here, policing by consent. How someone can be treated that way for a suspected $20 note seems over the top. Not to say rioting is the right answer, but you have to ask what are the underlying causes.

    Reply
  11. TomDority

    So the police – most of them good people – but – you got the bad apples (More and more) – the biggest buffoons blowhards and biggest cowards who have a need to dominate others and feel wrapped in the cloth of immunity, to feel tough and to be a wanna be hero because, in their own lives they are powerless abusers.
    Yet the police have one of the safest professions around, but certainly find the press coverage about how dangerous a job they have… how they are protecting us, how they are heroes, how they must upgrade to military gear and operate like an occupying force – how a murder is called a tragedy when the word tragedy implies some form of ‘who could of known’.
    The reality is those cops have a safe occupation that I pay for. They are servants of the taxpayer, they are to serve and protect.
    Good cops out there — don’t let that ignorant bully you work with make a coward of yourself – stand up and speak out about your brother who hurts the community you work for and believes the macho bullshit he spews.
    So the politicians, having run on fear mongering, tough on crime, they will protect you better, are more macho, are real patriots, are more real Americans – don’t get me wrong – some are good and have not defecated on their oath of office but, most are hired shills from the FIRE sector who give no more care about you – their constituents – they care about their own enrichment by those that paid their ticket in and who bribe them daily –
    The news media – big media – can’t have news without the ratings – gotta get eyes on – gotta keep the juice flowing – gotta take the eyes of the “tragedy” and put it on the brave law enforcement who keep the streets safe – that’s the angle to report – deplorables are loosed on the city and law enforcement overwhelmed.
    News media – please get a backbone, do some homework, look into things – maybe the headline should read something like – Policeman appears to commit murder in broad daylight while three officers stand by in deliberate dereliction of duty.
    and follow on
    Police found to instigate more unrest by using physical and mental violence against those they were duty sworn to protect
    When you media giants report – try to include some facts instead of going on what rates best – ya’ll been sounding like chicken little for to long and been pushing the fear button at every opportunity – enough,because I know there are a bunch of great reporters who research and put great stuff out – it’s sad that the big consolidated entertainment corps have turned spineless to their overloards

    Reply
  12. Tom Stone

    The job of the police is to maintain public order, and this is how they are trained to do it.
    If your cellphone was near these events you are now on a list.
    We have 41 Million unemployed who were living paycheck to paycheck, a significant percentage of those people will shortly become homeless in the midst of a pandemic.
    How will the authorities deal with that problem?
    And finally, anyone surprised by the response to American Citizens exercising their rights has been living under a rock for the last 50 years.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      not just a list, somewhere there’s a graphic chart showing where all those cell phones went after leaving the protest, just like the one for that beach in florida that spread coronavirus. I’d say the authorities have been preparing for some unrest, maybe even looking forward to it. And those fusion centers are coordinating actions so…who was it that said “by their actions you shall know them…”
      apparently it was Matthew, but in this case the god is the market (look around, who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes)
      “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves”

      Reply
    2. Winston SMith

      I think in terms of what police are trained to do, it is important to consider the mindset for which the training is designed. If anyone has an interest in this, I would suggest reading a New Yorker article on Patrick Skinner, a former CIA counter terrorism expert who took a job as a simple police officer in his native Savannah.
      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/07/the-spy-who-came-home

      “People ask me if our problems in police stem from training & I say nope…Cuz we are training for what our mindset is, that this is a war on crime. So we train for war. I say change the training by changing the entire mindset. We are not at war. Change that & we change it all”

      Reply
  13. jr

    My GFs friend was peacefully marching on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, they were knocked to the ground and she said the cops specifically kneeled on their necks ala Floyd. Pure terrorism, no qualifiers please. Zip stripped for hours, she lost feeling in one of her arms all day…

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    Time for some old-timey words then-

    ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security’

    Reply
    1. Justin

      The key is Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and not Life, Liberty and Property. People first, business second.

      Reply
  15. False Solace

    I live in the Twin Cities. In 2016 the police shot and killed Philando Castile in his car in front of his 7 year old daughter during a traffic stop. There was no justice. The community held protests and rallies for months. There was no justice. Other atrocities and killings have happened since then in this and other cities. No justice. Police killers experience consequences so rarely it is the exception proving the rule.

    Now once again we see the police commit open murder in the street while onlookers plead with them to stop. Then the injustice accelerates like a landslide as the system kicks in to protect the killers. One cop of the four is charged with manslaughter and 3rd degree murder, a bogus charge that only exists in three states. A depraved indifference charge. Then the ME report comes in which blames the victim’s death on the victim, as if his death during 9 minutes of choking happened coincidentally with the officer’s knee in his trachea. The cop hires the lawyer who successfully defended the officer who killed Philando Castile.

    I am done.

    Should the police serve as judge, jury, and executioner? Yes or no. That is the only question.

    If you believe they should not, the system that breeds and protects these killers has to change. So how do we change it? We’ve been trying for years.

    Voting doesn’t work.
    Protests don’t work.
    Riots don’t work.

    What is it gonna take?

    Now we have the community on the streets struggling with this same question. And we have all sorts of people hopping in, whether “chaos tourists” or kids from the suburbs joining or white sup****acists driving downtown eager to make a point.

    And the police, who incite the violence, inciting further violence because that’s what they do. That’s what they are. The people gather to mourn and for the first two nights of protests, the police fired so much tear gas and so many less lethal bullets the livestreams sounded like popcorn going off. These were peaceful people. All the police do is escalate. The politicians gave them military gear and they’re gonna use it. Well ok, being shot in the eye and puking up your own snot is gonna make some people mad. And by Thursday, the police used so much tear gas and rubber bullets they ran out. They fell back and let arsonists run wild all night. And here we are.

    Video after video after video from the last two days show police acting with depraved indifference toward human life. It is a system they are part of. Go on Jimmy Dore’s channel and he has a lengthy compilation. Here’s one small instance to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOvTxt_bi20

    At this point I think the only fix is to disband these depraved departments, destroy their war toys, and start over. Let each neighborhood hire its own people and police itself. Develop antibodies to the disease. How can we permit the killing to continue. How can we let these people walk the streets. They call themselves heroes!

    Reply
    1. orlbucfan

      Philando Castile….recall that horrific example of murderous injustice all too well. I live down south, so the moniker “peace officer” has been a bad joke for decades. The militarization of the fuzz has also been a decades-old process. They don’t target just black folks. The uniformed sociopaths also go after brown, red, white, male and female. I don’t know what the solution is, or, if there is one?

      Reply
    2. Randy G

      Still waiting for some signs of introspection and humility from the police in response to the murder of Mr. Floyd; maybe they can display it by tossing flowers at the protestors.

      Guessing that is not in the ‘training’ manuals and not going to break out spontaneously.

      Reply
  16. MT_Bill

    Based on 2017 data, the cops made roughly 10.5 million arrests. Out of those, roughly 500,000 were for violent crimes. So based on again a rough estimate of 1000 deaths by cops, you get 1 per every 500 violent crime arrests and 1 per 10,500 arrests overall. I’m not sure if I believe those numbers are high or not.

    Some of those deaths are clearly wrongful deaths. But the majority of them are probably justified. Given the overall societal failure that has been occurring and is intensifying, I expect it to get worse.

    As far as the racial component goes, all violence is overwhelmingly intraracial. When it’s interracial it’s overwhelmingly against whites, not the other way around.

    Reply
    1. Bob Tetrault

      You made a lot of assertions without back up. Please support your statements with links, one by one.

      Reply
    2. TomDority

      How many of those 500,000 arrests for violent crime were actually violent crime — apparently cops think violent crime is a cover for their own abuse –
      Based on this theory – violent crime includes selling single cigs on the street or resisting arrest (a catch all) or walking the streets while black.
      And how about what defines probable cause – give me a break!!!!

      Reply
  17. CanCyn

    The video of those cops yelling at everyone to stay inside and then firing at the people on their porch was horrifying! I don’t care it was ‘just’ paintball. I am pretty sure I heard one of the cops say, “light ’em up” just before they opened fire. I can’t watch it again to confirm. And the pushing of innocents – the women in the video that Rev Kev linked to, the older man seemed to be going in the direction the cops wanted them to go. Why push him?Those cops are terrible excuses for human beings. God knows what they get up to when they think they’re not being watched.
    Between the police inciting the violence and the desperation of the protestors and the complete lack of interest in meaningful change from politicians (not to mention many citizens), I fear this is going to continue for some time to come. It has been more than a few years since I started wondering why people aren’t out in the streets. Well, here they are.
    I have a friend who is a retired cop. She retired the minute she could get full pension, very happy to be out. Mostly worked on anti-drug education in the schools during her career but did have some years of ‘active’ duty. We live in a pretty ‘quiet’ area of southern Ontario. Lucky for her, she never once even had to unholster her gun. She came out of a social service worker background and really was out there for all the right reasons. She had little regard for most of the guys she worked with. Said that they were all one step away from being criminals themselves, and suspected that some of them were. There was a group that she called the meatheads – fast driving, confrontational, just hoping for a chance to use force.
    I had an encounter with one of them once. I had a job working for the municipal recreation department. We used cops to police big events, festivals, etc. They worked for us when they were off-duty, we paid them as if on contract. I was very new and didn’t know about the practice when a cop came in looking for his cheque. My lack of knowledge made him angry. He yelled at me, saying he wasn’t going anywhere until I brought him his pay. All the while he had his hand on his gun. It was frightening. My boss wouldn’t make a complaint, clearly aware of the situation but afraid of consequences.
    It really isn’t hard to see how the police became so bad. Lots of good reasons in posts here today. Like most things, we can fix it. And like most things, all it would take is political and societal will, something we seem to be lacking in so many areas (long term care anyone?)
    If I were starting a police force, ex-military people and equipment would not be welcome. No military hierarchy. Officers would not carry guns while on patrol. They would would be out in pairs and one of the pair would be a social service worker with medical/mental health training. They would be trained in non-violent communication and negotiating methods. They would mostly walk or bike ride their beats. Complaints about force or violence, oversight in general, would be done by an outside organization – not a police internal affairs dept. I’m sure others could improve upon or add to my list. It ain’t rocket science and would be a step or two on the path to a more just society.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Is there some way to find out when local police departments receive their allowances to purchase military equipment? If so, is there some way to compel them to purchase some military electric power generators and water purification systems, and maybe a few diesel carriers with pumps? I think they already have plenty of massive armored S.W.A.T. vehicles. By-the-way has anyone considered how much it costs to run one of those beasts for a mile? Most massive armored vehicles guzzle huge amounts of fuel and need more repairs and expensive spares than even the US built dark-tinted-window suburban trucks police enjoy — which are not known for their reliability or low costs of operation.

      What is the scale of the current rioting and how does it compare with the scale of the 1960s, or the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. I don’t suppose I am alone in mistrusting the way events are portrayed in the news. I think, “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” compared with what could grow from a proper mishandling of this unrest.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The Rodney King Riots largely happened in black neighborhoods, and once it spread over to Fairfax and surrounding areas, the coppers finally pushed back, and it went no further.

        The recent action in LA has started in tony shopping streets, completely different.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I am talking about scale not location. I don’t know how Rodney King Riots compared with 1960s Watts Riots or the Riots in Newark. I am suggesting the riots are smaller scale now than the new makes them seem but badly handled as they have been they could grow much bigger and wider.

          Reply
        2. Dirk77

          In the LA Times years back they interviewed an officer who worked South Central (SC). He said their job, as communicated by the higher ups, was to keep the crime there and not let it spread to more affluent areas of LA. He said there was no money to actually improve life in SC, via other methods, though they had asked for it. He clearly sounded frustrated. I wonder whatever happened to him and those like him. Anyways, the moral is yes, if you are going to protest, make sure it’s the wealthier neighborhoods.

          Reply
    2. tawal

      Good stories CanCyn, and I like your ideas. I would add that cops must live in the neighborhood they police. We have, I estimate 4,000 people living on both sides of the block on my street, apartments and condos. The pairs of beat cops for my block should all have to live there.

      Reply
  18. jr

    A small suggestion: Instead of using the term “bad apples”, perhaps we should refer to “good apples.” It’s much more accurate. For example “There are a few good apples in that police department, but the tree is wormy, ya know.”

    Just sayin…

    Reply
    1. Oh

      The police are not worthy of the title “Officers”. Scum would be a better choice. They’re all guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

      Reply
    1. Dan

      From the article:

      Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fired police chief Steve Conrad on Monday after learning that police officers did not record body-camera footage of the fatal shooting of David McAtee, a black man, in west Louisville in the early morning hours.

      “This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said.

      Ok, great. Strong statement. But, next sentence:

      Conrad’s firing comes only a month before he was set to retire after leading the department for eight years.

      So, window dressing. And the media is a willing accomplice.

      Reply

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