The United States of Militarized Police Brutality
Time and again it’s proved that violence begets more of it.
Militarized police in the US, West, and elsewhere are by far its greatest perpetrators on city streets.
Inner city US minority communities are virtual battlegrounds. Police kill over 1,000 victims annually, mostly Black and Latino male youths.
With the rarest of rare exceptions, cops operate unaccountably, a badge serving as license to kill or commit other forms of state-approved violence.
Police brutality occurs multiple times daily nationwide, notably against inner city Black youths — mistreated as viciously and unaccountably as Israeli high crimes against defenseless Palestinians.
The latest example is ongoing nationwide in US streets against peaceful and violent protesters alike.
They’re no match against SWAT teams and other militarized cops armed with combat assault, sniper, and other rifles, submachine guns, tear gas, flashbang grenades, tasers able to cause brain damage and other injuries, helicopters, armored personnel carriers, and other military equipment — paint gun rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and live fire used.
When battlefield weapons are used on city streets against largely unarmed civilians, deaths and injuries follow, notably against innocent victims threatening no one, including bystanders.
Things are worse when national guard forces join city cops in confronting protesters. They’re now deployed in 15 US states.
Last week in Dallas, cops attacked nonviolent demonstrators with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.
In Salt Lake City, an elderly man threatening no one was assaulted by city cops.
Police cars in Brooklyn drove through protesters in the street. In Manhattan, Major de Blasio’s daughter was arrested for peacefully protesting.
In Los Angeles, a police SUV drove into a group of protesters.
After demonstrators shut down a highway in Minneapolis, a tanker truck nearly plowed through a crowd protesting peacefully.
Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities suspended COVID-19 related services while protests continue.
Sunday on Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue around midday, its Magnificent Mile, I saw firsthand the result of unacceptable overnight vandalism and looting, including against Nike, Apple, and Walgreens stores.
Workers were boarding up window displays along the avenue. They’re boarded up at the entrance to my residential building to protect the glass facade.
City authorities assigned security personnel to the Near North Side Streeterville neighborhood where I live to protect shops and residences from vandalism.
I saw damage to nearby buildings, none to my own so far that that’s been locked down, no one allowed in except residents.
Management informed us by email that “an armed Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy” was assigned to protect my building overnight as long as city cops are patrolling streets and a 9:00PM to 6:00AM curfew remains in effect.
Trump reportedly retreated to a bunker beneath the White House — instead of showing responsible leadership when it’s most needed.
An unnamed senior White House official said he was advised to remain silent over the weekend because he has nothing to say that could calm things — his tweets and other remarks last week making a bad situation worse.
Videos of police violence in US cities are circulating online via social media.
A Black woman said one of her family members, a young man threatening no one, was assaulted by police, pulling down a mask he wore for protection like many others, then pepper-spraying him.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms announced the firing of two city cops, three others assigned to desk duty, in response to body-cam footage showing use of excessive force, what the city’s police chief called “really shocking to watch.”
It showed Atlanta cops violently pulling two people from their car without just cause, tasering one, then arresting them over nothing.
In some US cities, cops attacked journalists. Photojournalist Keith Boykin tweeted the following:
“The NYPD arrested me at 96th Street and West Side Highway while I was taking photos and video to post to Twitter.”
“I told the police I was with the Press. They walked by me and then turned around and arrested me.”
Photographer Linda Tirado said she was struck in the eye by a police projectile. She’s “headed into surgery to see if we can save my left eye,” she explained.
Many times in the past throughout much of US history, police used excessive force against legitimate protests.
Two infamous incidents happened in Chicago.
In 1968 at the Dem party’s national nominating convention, Mayor Richard J. Daley ordered police to “shoot to kill arsonists and shoot to maim looters,” adding:
“As long as I am mayor of this city, there’s going to be law and order in Chicago.”
On August 22, an unarmed protester was shot to death. Brutal police beatings occurred all week.
Journalists as well as protesters were attacked. Many dozens were treated at local hospitals. Hundreds were arrested.
Senator Abe Ribicoff interrupted his George McGovern nominating speech to denounce “Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago.”
Days after the convention ended, local residents remember Daley’s freudian slip, saying:
“The policeman isn’t there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
On May 4, 1886, the Chicago Haymarket massacre occurred. It followed a May 1 general strike for an eight-hour day.
At a time when union busting in America was standard practice, police attacked strikers.
At least eight deaths occurred, numerous arrests made. Labor activists were prosecuted and convicted.
The incident radicalized social activist Emma Goldman. Imprisoned for her social justice advocacy, she emigrated to Soviet Russia after the 1917 revolution.
After her death, she was buried in Chicago near the graves of the Haymarket radicals she supported.
The 19th century Haymarket massacre became a landmark incident in US labor history — at a time working conditions in the country were deplorable and dangerous at low pay and no benefits.
Then and now, cops serve and protect US privileged interests against beneficial social change.
In 1994, then-Senator Joe Biden sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act — one of many US police state laws.
The measure called for hiring 100,000 new cops nationwide. It provided nearly $10 billion to expand the US gulag prison system, the world’s largest by far.
It authorized billions more for so-called crime prevention efforts, including expansion of capital punishment, what should have been abolished entirely long ago.
The measure also defined new crimes related to so-called hate, sex, gangs, and immigration law.
It offered nothing to address the root causes of crime in the streets — notably growing poverty, deprivation, and despair, much worse a generation later.
Nor did it criminalize police violence and excessive force as human and/or rights violations.
Annually in America, police kill and commit other violent crimes against civilians without just cause, countless thousands affected annually, over 1,000 killed by cops each year.
George Floyd was the latest high-profile victim because of the ongoing aftermath of his death.
The vast majority of others are nameless and faceless to the public and media, clearly not to their family members.
Time and again, they’re Black youths, targeted for the color of their skin above all else.
It’s the shame of the nation along with a whole lot more, a rogue state at war on humanity at home and abroad.
There’s no end of it in prospect without sustained nonviolent activism in the streets for transformation change unable to be gotten any other way.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”
“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”