Hi friendlies. As usual, long time no post. Although, this year I think I’m not the only one having a hard time getting content made. I hope you are all staying safe in these pandemic times, wearing masks and washing your hands.
The title says ‘quick’ but this is actually a bit of a long post. I hope you will read all the way down anyhow.<3 It is brought to you by the huge movement of protests that we are currently seeing in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the wave of police brutality that has risen up to try and drown them. I’ve never really gone into it here, but there is a LOT of emotional abuse in my past, and I often struggle with speaking up when I should… even in spaces that are ostensibly mine. So this post is also brought to you by the knowledge that I need to try harder, and be better at using my small voice to help people who don’t have the privileges that I do.
And very specifically, this post is here because a relative of mine put up a post on facebook, asking people not to let “One Bad Apple” spoil their perception of all police officers. I think most people know that what is going on, what has been going on for many MANY years, is well beyond that. But, in case someone needed to read some sort of counter to that mentality, I decided to post my response here on my blog as well.
[This is SLIGHTLY different from my facebook post, but mainly in using bold vs capitals]
Please don’t allow a few good cops you may personally know to blind you to the level of violence and brutality that is being perpetrated by police, against unarmed civilians, across the nation.
There is video after video online of un-instigated violence, of police officers intentionally cornering peaceful protesters and brutalizing them. Over a water bottle? Because someone’s umbrella dipped over a barricade? Because of an ‘incendiary device’ that is very super clearly (even labeled) a prayer candle?
-A small child was maced/pepper sprayed in the face. Not on accident, as part of a crowd that was being ‘controlled’. The police officer put his hand down directly into a little girl’s face and sprayed her with a chemical agent on purpose.
Yesterday the man who filmed this horrifying assault was arrested (with something like 5 squad cars for one man), supposedly because he was suspected of using a laser pointer at a protest.
-Police have intentionally shot pepper bullets/baton rounds/ tear gas at journalists. Journalists who were nowhere near them. Journalists who were in the middle of asking where the police would like them to move as they cleared an area. Even journalists who had been publicly praising police response a couple of days before. At least one has lost an eye.
-Police also intentionally attacked medical tents and medics set up at protests. They have shot pepper bullets, baton rounds, and tear gas at clearly marked medics who were literally there only to help people. They beat them with batons. They destroyed medical supplies.
-A young black man and his pregnant wife, lawfully stopped at an intersection with no protesters, had tear gas/pepper bullets shot into their car. When the young man got out to yell at police, across the intersection, that his pregnant wife was in the car, they shot at him.
-A young woman, walking home with her groceries, was shot in the head by a baton round, also known as a ‘rubber bullet’. Not one that had bounced off the ground, one that was intentionally shot at body/head level. She lost her eye.
-Another couple had their car doors ripped open while stopped at a stoplight. Four or five police surrounded them, tased them over and over, and dragged them out of the car while they screamed, and screamed, and screamed.
The next day it was revealed that there wasn’t even probable cause to order them out of the car.
-A 75 year-old man walked up to a couple of police officers in Buffalo, alone. They shoved him, he fell backwards and cracked his head on the pavement. They left him there. As a pool of visible blood formed around his head, the entire patrol/battalion walked over him. Somewhere around fifty police officers let a old man lie bleeding on the pavement and walked over him. They physically held back their own comrades from kneeling to help him. They arrested a civilian who tried to come to his aid.
And in their report on the incident they said that he had ‘tripped and fallen’ during a ‘skirmish’. When the two officers who pushed him were suspended (because it was caught on video) the rest of them resigned from their task force in ‘disgust’. In solidarity with two men who pushed an old man down and left him bleeding, barely moving, on the pavement.
Today they pled ‘not guilty’ and were let off with zero consequences.
This is not a ‘one bad apple’ situation that we are dealing with. This is a system. A system that actively protects people who abuse their power, who brutalize and murder those whom they are supposed to protect. A system that is designed to crush good apples until they begin to rot. A system that black people have been trying to tell us about for a very long time, because up to now it has been mainly focused on them. We should have been listening to them. Our deaf ears and our silence have put blood on our hands.
To any police officers out there who would never do these things, those who have never stood by while their comrades perpetrated harm and hate on black people, or anyone else that they are bound to protect and serve, this is not about you. I sincerely salute you. I love and value the true, selfless heart that is in you. And, I ask that you strive to lay aside any defensiveness belaboring your good hearts and take a stand with the people who are trying to fight back against those whom power has corrupted. Against the police who are terrorizing people, for the sin of talking back to them, of filming their brutal assaults on citizens of this country. For the sin of the color of their skin.
[As a final note: While I hope this post is somehow helpful, please be mindful about keeping black people at the center of this movement. Please remember to lift up their voices and truly listen, even when it makes you feel uncomfortable. If you can, please give money to aid protesters, and the black community at large… not just now, but all the time.]