George Floyd is dead after police responded to a suspected forgery. Floyd’s is yet another unpardonable story of a black man succumbing to death under brutal and disproportionate police response.
Such handling should be unheard of, but somehow none of us are surprised. While acknowledging that police are exposed to risky situations, we’ve heard self defense too many times in suspect situations for it to be believable. Heard it too many times to suppose that the police themselves are not responsible for escalating otherwise innocuous situations.
When one considers the vast injustices and crimes against the citizenry executed by people in corporations and government that routinely go unchecked in any respect, it absolutely boggles the mind that anyone could approach an individual suspected of forgery prepared to kill him or treat him with brutality. It defies sanity that anyone could similarly approach individuals for countless other ‘crimes’ that are in reality mere evidence of the lack of a healthy social and economic structure and a government with a cold shoulder for much of its populace.
No one, except perhaps for the Amy Coopers of the world, wants to call the police anymore. Since they have assumed their militarized persona, police are broadly feared, distrusted, and disliked. For people of color, the dread is unimaginable and unforgivable. And for those with mental health challenges, it’s beyond terrifying.
Our police officers aren’t just armed, they are prepared for battle, right down to the tanks. They are inculcated with the mentality to go with it. It appears that an unfortunate percentage of them are steeped in prejudices. And we pay for it with tax monies.
This just should not be, and we all know it.
I like to believe that a person is drawn to police work with an intent to make a positive difference in the world. We need to support that intention.
We need to start over on the whole concept of policing. We need to start from scratch on how our police are trained. We need to relieve them of their war weapons and de-escalate their heightened warlike mentality. We need to be done with SWAT teams. We need to take away incentives like civil asset forfeiture, military grade arms coming from the feds, and prison lockup quotas for those for-profit prisons. We need to weed out those for whom discriminatory injustice is not reprehensible. We need to decriminalize in areas.
We need police who are true public servants. These are the police that can be trusted. They are welcome and level-headed friends in a moment of need. They seek to build an inherently safer, healthier community.
We want compassionate local police who care about their community across the board. Ones who are absolutely only prepared to use a weapon or brute force as an extreme last resort. Look at a number of other countries that somehow manage with police who generally go about their business unarmed. Who woulda thunk?
While we grieve with George Floyd’s family for this terrible loss, we need to bang the drum. We want peace officers, not police officers.