Tag Archives: Police

Here’s the report on the Baltimore police department.

A protestor on a bicycle thrusts his fist in the air next to a line of police, in front of a burning CVS drug store, during clashes in BaltimoreYou can read it here.

From the Baltimore Sun: The police department “routinely” violated civil rights.

No more charges on the murder of Freddie Gray

HT_freddy_gray_v2_sk_150420_16x9_992

All remaining charges have been dropped in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year old African American who died in the hands of police in April 2015.

He was picked up healthy. He was removed from the van with a broken neck.

What more is there to say about this? That no one is responsible for the death of this man? That stuff happens? Oopsie? Jaysus. Even with the whole world watching, this is the best our courts can do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly force and poor people

Police Shooting-MissouriSince June 2015, the British newspaper, The Guardian, is keeping The Counted, a sad running list of people who’ve been killed by police officers. From FiveThirtyEight, the police are killing people at roughly the same rate as before Ferguson, when teenager Michael Brown was shot in the street in August 2014.

But go back to The Guardian, which is a damn comprehensive approach to charting these deaths. Is there a uniform reporting form, or a clearing house here in the U.S. that (officially) collects such information? I’m not finding one. But The Guardian’s one works pretty well.

These awful numbers should make us ask a lot of questions, and not just about the race/ethnicity of the victims. How many of the people who were killed were poor? According to AlterNet, 95 percent of them were living in neghborhoods where the median income was less than $100.000, though hard numbers are difficult to come by. That means, according to AlterNet’s Zaid Jilani,

that incomes below this number are overrepresented by four times compared to the income distribution in how often they are killed by police.

Whatever their race or ethnicity, how many of the victims were living on the edge, financially?

I take some exception to this Salon article, “Criminalizing the Hustle,” but it raises an interesting point, including this one:

“Over the past few decades cities have turned to policing to fulfill two functions: to surveil and discipline black populations hardest hit by economic shifts and to collect revenue in the form of fines,” emails Lester Spence, a professor of political science at John Hopkins University and the author of “Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics.” “The black men most likely to be left out of the formal economy — who have to engage in various illegal hustles to make ends meet — are far more likely to suffer from police violence than other black men.”

I just finished “The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens.” That book was infuriating and I highly recommend it.

And thanks, Leftover, for the links.

Philando Castile had a conceal carry gun permit

Philando Castile 4_1467884033134_1519460_ver1.0_640_360But that doesn’t apply to black people, I guess.

Here’s the kind of man Philando Castile was. But you know what? Even if he had prior arrests, he did not deserve to die this way.

Do that one thing. Do that one thing that interrupts violence or privilege.

Do that one thing

imagesYou’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re black/brown and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police.

You’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re white and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police and YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

And then the news breaks that there are five dead police officers in Dallas, and multiple people wounded. This happened while protesters were marching and chanting — literally — “Don’t shoot,” when things were so peaceful that police officers, prior to the gunfire, were posing for photos with protesters.

It feels like the wheels have fallen off the cart. That’s yet more lives lost, and we, the white people who are paying attention, keep asking ourselves, what can I do?

This is so corny and lame that I almost didn’t suggest it, but here’s what I’m doing, until I change the world, or until I decide this is stupid: Every day, I am going to do one thing to counter violence, or to counter (white) privilege. I have not made a list. I trust this will be organic, and I trust I’ll be creative enough to see opportunities to act on this, every single day.

For starters, I’m going to take the time to listen to people who don’t live on my privileged perch. Someone somewhere is going to start talking to me about something that makes me uncomfortable, and rather than change the subject or walk away, I’m going to stay and listen.

I’m going to tell someone I don’t know very well who doesn’t look or sound like me that I love him/her, because if I did know that someone, I probably would love her/him.

I’m going to write and study more about privilege.

I’m going to send money to charities I think are making a difference.

I probably will return to this in subsequent blog posts, but if you have ideas for me, I’m all ears.

Why the British police don’t carry guns

1927Getty_2665876cIn light of the shooting deaths by police of Alton Sterling and others, read this, from the BBC.And thanks, Tim, for the link.

Goddammit. This has to stop now.

Watch those comforting hands on the back of 15-year old Cameron, Alton Sterling’s son. Mr. Sterling was shot dead by police on Tuesday in Baton Rouge. Listen to that young man’s sobs.

And then read this. Goddammit. This has to stop. We are awash in these awful videos — including ones that show us the actual taking of life — but we can’t pretend this is something new. Roxane Gay writes in the New York Times that all these cameras around allow us to see injustice, but has anything changed? This kind of injustice and violence has gone on forever. There have always been, after all, lynchings, and the scattered photographers who thought to record them, but now we have the technology to witness what people of other ethnicities and races have been seeing all along.

And then on Wednesday, a woman live-streamed the aftermath of the Minnesota shooting-by-police death of Philando Castile, who was pulled over for having a busted tail light. From the CNN link:

The footage was streamed on a Facebook account under the name Lavish Reynolds. WCCO spoke to Castile’s family who identified the woman as Diamond Reynolds.
In the video’s first minute, Reynolds says that Castile is licensed to carry a firearm. She claims that before the shooting, her boyfriend was trying to get his ID from his wallet in his back pocket.
So this means “license to carry” only applies to white people? Jesus H. I got pulled over for a busted tail light once. The police officer and I had a good laugh about it, and then he sent me on my way. No guns were involved.
Maybe there are answers out there. Maybe the answers are really hard. Maybe we each have to take a moment every day and ask ourselves: What am I doing today to end violence, privilege, and my place in all of it?
And thanks, Leftover, for the update.