american cop

Police culture breeds cowardice

Policing is a stressful and dangerous job.  It is not, however, an especially stress or dangerous job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, policing is not even among the ten most dangerous jobs in the US.  Pilots, construction workers, miners, loggers, truckers, fishers, roofers, and even delivery drivers are more likely to die on the job. 

But, still, cops do die on the job.  Only not in the way you probably assume.  Of the 4,679 occupational fatalities that occurred in 2014, only 9% were homicides.  40 percent of deaths were traffic-related. This trend is reflected in data specific to police fatalities.  The most dangerous place to be a cop is not, as you might expect, in a densely populated urban area.  Not even close.  Police in rural areas are much more likely to die on duty—a reflection of the long distances they are expected to drive, as well as their more frequent interaction with hunters. 

On average, an American cop dies on duty about once every three days.  Civilians—a disproportionate number of them black or brown—are killed by police at the rate of more than three per day.  The majority of police die in traffic incidents.  Nearly everyone killed by police dies after being beat, tazed, choked, shot, or tortured.

Simply put, cops pose a greater threat to those they police than civilians pose to cops.  Far greater.  All data and observations and common sense bear this out.  And, once in a while, we see pictures or videos that prove it, too.  Sometimes we get two videos in two days, and a dark pall draws over our national consciousness.

When this happens, white people feel guilty, and express guilt in whatever manner suits their individual taste.  Black people get mad, and some protest. Academics respond with repellent prose about bodies and privilege. Pundits fish for hot takes and come up with either bland obviousness or the dumbest shit you have ever seen. The President gives the exact same speech he did last time, and the local police department promises a thorough review.  A week later we stop thinking about it.  A few months later we hear the thorough review determined that the officers acted appropriately and no charges will be filed.

Both of the men who were murdered this week were carrying guns.  That seals the officers’ respective fates.  No one is going to jail for this, aside from maybe the people who posted videos of the shootings.  That the murdered men were either completely innocent or guilty only of very petty crimes makes no difference.  The legality of the second man’s gun makes no difference.  The police will not face prison.

Why?  Because they have a dangerous and stressful job and they’re just humans and humans make split-second decisions and we can’t judge anyone too harshly until all the facts are out there and even when they’re out there we still shouldn’t, like, judge because you don’t know what was going on in their heads. For heaven’s sake, the suffering these poor men have already gone through is punishment enough—having their names dragged through the mud, seeing all those mean protestors hold up signs.  It would be cruel to hold them accountable.

Now—notice, the key to that last paragraph were the words “dangerous” and “stressful,” words we’ve already established apply to policing no more especially than they do to loggers or delivery drivers.  Pretend, for a second, that a delivery driver were to murder someone.  The murdered man lived in a high-crime area and was behaving erratically once the driver arrived (the driver texted the man and asked him to come to the front door, but the man failed to comply and insisted the driver meet him at his apartment).  The man reached for his wallet, the driver mistook it for a gun, and, well, you can’t blame someone for making a split second decision.  He’s got a very stressful and dangerous job, after all.

Only you absolutely can and should blame the driver.  He’s a murderer and a coward.  He got scared and then like a scared little baby he shot a man. There’s nothing defensible here, in spite of the conditions of his employment.  He’s a shitty, cowardly, chickenshit little fuck, and he deserves to go to prison. 

For all its pretenses of masculinity, the culture of policing is seeped in paranoid cowardice. From the moment he gets a badge pinned to his chest, a cop is told that he is a pewcious wittle angel, that his life is more important than those of the people he encounters, and that if he ever sees a super scary bad guy he should make his gun go boom so the bad guy goes away. 

Whenever they talk about black-on-black violence, police and other racists always cast it in cultural terms, saying it’s due to the rap music or whatever.  But then when it comes to police-on-civilian violence (or police-on-domestic partner violence, or police-on-police violence), the focus is always on the individual, his being a bad apple or else suffering a momentary lapse of judgment.  This is bullshit.  Cops are cowards because they are trained to be cowards.

You know why loggers and pizza men don’t murder three people a day, even in spite of their stressful and dangerous jobs?  It’s because they don’t operate in a culture that preaches and rewards cowardice.  They are held to standards of basic decency that reject paranoia.  They are scrutinized like regular fucking people, and so they behave like regular people.

You want to do something about police violence?  Protest.  Afterward, stop venerating the police.  Stop pretending the middling danger of their profession grants them a magic status you would afford to no one else.  Stop excusing their aggression. Stop accepting their stories at face value.  Stop cheering for them at ballgames.  Stop donating to their shitty memorial funds.

Everyone needs to scrutinize the police, at least as aggressively as we scrutinize teachers and fast food employees. This can’t happen in a culture of hero worship, and it can’t happen if we frame every account of their misconduct according to how darn special they are because they’re job is so pretend scary.  Fuck it.  They are people. Treat them like people.
Abolishing the police is a solution we need to start taking seriously
Why do we need police? It's a provocative question -- but the lies we are told about the threat of racialized bodies are equaled only by the lies we are told about the virtuous role of the police.

This past week, Toronto Police were disinvited from the city’s Pride parade after a brave action from Black Lives Matter; Sheila Fraser was appointed special adviser to address widespread and systemic sexual harassment in the RCMP; and American cops were caught on video executing two Black men – the latest in an endless index of lives lost by a ruthless organization incredulously referred to as our nations’ “finest.”

If the police were a foreign state, we would have invaded and removed its regime. If it were a workplace, we would have busted the union and closed it down. How many Black people need to be murdered, how many Indigenous women need to disappear, how many female cops need to come forward with accusations of endless abuse before we start referring to decent cops as “one good apple”?

I say this as a white man who has never had my life threatened by the police, as a middle-class person who relies on them mostly to protect my private property and as a Canadian citizen who depends on them to patrol the boundaries of my state and preserve my nation’s wealth from scroungers and miscreants.

It is impossible to overstate how dysfunctional our police forces are – even before we add the charge of murderous. Police spending in Vancouver – one-fifth of the entire budget – has been the only municipal core service to see its funding increase every year since 2008. The Toronto Police Department saw its budget pass the $1 billion mark last year and no one seems able to even suggest it might be time to rein it in. Meanwhile, crime rates languish at historic lows.

Rape arrests and conviction rates are a national shame. It should come as no surprise. A class action in which at least 380 women have alleged systemic workplace sexual harassment while working as RCMP officers sought certification last spring. The lead attorney, Sandy Zeitzeff, expects the number of plaintiffs to grow to 1,500. The RCMP tried to fire at least two of the women named in the class action.

The epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls continues to disgrace an entire country and our Boys in Blue have shown little interest or aptitude to stop it. Aboriginal people are disproportionately incarcerated for minor crimes and the racist practice of carding continues to be defended by Toronto police and its allies.

With this kind of calamity passing for a public service, why aren’t we asking law enforcement to stand up and defend its existence? It’s a question worth asking: what is a police force good for?

The answer is elusive. David Graeber wrote last year that only 10 per cent of the average American police officer’s day is spent pursuing criminal matters “of any kind.” The rest is annoyance: ticketing, infractions, bureaucracy, regulations. “The police,” he writes, “are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons.”

Between 2008 and 2012, the VPD issued 1,448 bylaw infraction tickets in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada, the majority against street vendors. The rest of the city saw just 76, combined, over the same period. One homeless man in Montréal was ticketed over 500 times and accrued a bill of $110,000.

Transit police in Vancouver – the only armed transit cops in the country – apprehended Lucia Vega Jimenez in 2013 for riding the SkyTrain without a ticket and turned her over to the CBSA for deportation. She hanged herself in her cell a few days later. Medical marijuana shops across the country – in the face of the Trudeau government’s promises to legalize the stuff – continue to get raided and shuttered by law enforcement with other ideas.

In his blistering essay in The Nation last year, Mychal Denzel Smith called to abolish the police. It’s an audacious demand to say the least, and one that doubtless invites bafflement, if not hostility. But it is not naive.

When I say, “abolish the police,” I’m usually asked what I would have us replace them with. My answer is always full social, economic, and political equality, but that’s not what’s actually being asked. What people mean is “who is going to protect us?” Who protects us now?

Who indeed. And the answer to that question – if you are Black, Trans, homeless, Indigenous, disabled, female or otherwise vulnerable – rarely wears a uniform.

And while “full social, economic and political equality” would be nice, I’m not sure we have to wait that long. The fact is that most of our communities already function and flourish without police. Most social interactions do not require surveillance and intervention by armed guards of the state. What do police add to these existing relationships of compromise and negotiation?

And besides: it’s been done. Restorative justice models and “no-exit” cultures provide social alternatives to criminalizing and incarcerating difference backed by state-sanctioned violence. The Paris Commune of 1871 stripped the existing police prefecture of its political attributes and turned it into an “agent of the commune,” paid at a labourer’s wage and rendered its privileges revocable at any time. Compare this with the six-figure salaries and latitude to murder Black boys in the street many current officers enjoy.

So why do we need cops? It’s a provocative question, without a doubt – but the lies we are told about the threat of racialized and colonized bodies are equaled only by the lies we are told about the virtuous and noble role of the police.

If it’s a question you can’t answer easily and convincingly, abolishing the police is a solution we need to start taking seriously.

My hate towards american cops is beyond, recently a cafeteria school worker Philando Divall Castile got shot and killed around 9 pm in Falcon Heights by a white cop because he “thought” that a gun is going to be drawn at him but Philando just wanted to take out his ID from his wallet. In the front seat his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds captured the scene with her phone to show what’s really happening. Their four year old daughter was in the back seat crying because she doesnt know whats going on.
This fellow man was a loved school worker and a very loved family man and not only is he gone but also died in a tragic way because of white ignorance. #RIPPhilandoDivallCastile

YOU CALL ME RACIST THO, RIGHT? 🖕🏾crackers….🐸☕ ️The Memphis, Tennessee Police Department is threatening to demote dozens of African American police officers simply because they are standing up to racism in the department. Officials with the Memphis police say that African American cops would be forced to pay back money they earned after receiving promotions if they don’t back down from their claims against the department.

The Memphis Police Department has had a decades-long history of being criticized for their racism and discriminatory practices against African Americans in and off the police force. In recent decades, African American officers have claimed that they were deliberately passed up for promotions when they had been on the job longer, and had better records than some of the people who they were passed over for. #blackfacts #lawenforcement #police #cops #whitepeoplewednesday #detroit #michigan #blackpeopleproblems #confederatestatesofamerica

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One group is responsible for America’s culture of violence, and it isn’t cops, black Americans, Muslims or rednecks. It’s men
On Thursday morning, a fire alarm in the Los Angeles Times’ building went off. Fortunately, the dozens of office alarms I’ve heard over the years have always been drills or misfiring systems. For the first time, instead of begrudgingly grabbing my belongings and traipsing downstairs, I was afraid. For the first time, the thought in my mind wasn’t “drill” but “shooter.”
By Los Angeles Times


Philando Castile was apparently asked to show his license and registration, he said okay and went to get his wallet out of his back pocket (where most men keep their wallets). While reaching he proceeded to tell the officer that there was a weapon in the car. Before the man could say he had a carry permit the officer fired four shots into the man in front of his girlfriend and her little girl. Can’t wait to hear you all try and justify this one.

American cops are incompetent.

My fellow blacks! 

Let us go shoot more innocent people to prove the point that black lives matter! 

Even if they weren’t the cops that killed African Americans, all cops are bad, so they all need to die!

Black lives matter!!!! So let’s kill whites!!!!

Aha, see how fucking stupid the movement is?

No point in having it. It’s not doing ANY good.

All lives matter. ;) There’s nothing racist behind that. I’m not just saying that to be included. I’m saying that because I think everyone deserves the right to live, no matter their race, sexuality, or religion.

But let’s kill cops, because black lives matter.

Fucking idiots.

Every time an unarmed black person is ‪murdered by law enforcement the media digs dirt on them. Applying the same kind of dirt-digging to ‪Dead Cops‬ you might care to note (Because the media NEVER will) one of the dead ‪Dallas‬ Police officers was a ‪Nazi‬.

Johnny Islamabad, Working As Intended: The Inextricably Wound Threads of White Nationalism and US Law Enforcement, Empire of Loathing

“A few friends and acquaintances of mine did the legwork and discovered that slain Dallas police officer Lorne Ahrens was a proud, open white supremacist. His ring finger bore an Iron Cross tattoo, his Facebook cover photo was a massive Thor’s Hammer symbol, and his left arm was emblazoned with a “crusaders’ shield,” common to those right-wing Christians who believe that Christianity is engaged in a centuries-long war with Islam. His Facebook likes included pages which bore similar iconography—more Iron Crosses and a Confederate flag or two. The real surprise here, of course, is that this news is gaining any traction whatsoever. Historically, the police and the violent far right have always enjoyed a, shall we say, cozy relationship.”

Dear America’s police: Please stop killing black men. I am a black man. Police have threatened and harassed me while I was doing nothing wrong. I do not know why you hate people like me so much. I have no criminal record. I hope that you will reflect on your behavior and subsequently do a better job of stopping the foul, horrible, and criminal behavior that routinely takes place in white communities all across these United States. Those in denial about the war by American’s cops on people of color will say they are “shocked” by what is quite common. White denial–perhaps most so when embraced by people of color–is one of the bedrocks and cornerstones of white supremacy.

anonymous asked:

Do you think that all white people should be associated with the kkk? Because saying that the whole BLM campaign is violent because a group of people decided they wanted to act out does not mean that every protester is violent. Also saying black lives matter does not mean that we hate cops or think that African-American cops are better cops. We know we have issues and other problems like gang violence. But just because one black person did something does not mean that every person is wrong

Associating every white person to the KKK is not comparable to associating every member of black lives matter to the shooters. Being white doesn’t mean you’re part of a group that condones violence. Being part of black lives matter does.

I would never say that because one black person does something wrong that all black people should be held accountable for it. Not every black person is a part of that movement. I actually know quite a few black people who think that it’s ridiculous.

Furthermore, I don’t hold every member black lives matter personally accountable for the shooting. I do think that the violent rhetoric that the movement is spewing motivates people to take action. What happened in Dallas is one example of that.