Historically, it has been law enforcement that has escalated race riots rather than protestors, the latest unrest has been no exception.
A man in a black sedan car barrels towards a large Seattle demonstration protesting the killing of George Floyd. After he stops, he gets out and shoots a protestor at point blank range. The crowd scatters in terror. The man, still brandishing his weapon, casually walks through the mayhem towards the line of police, and is apprehended without incident. The police surround him, facing the crowd, shielding him from a non-existent threat, apparently totally unconcerned at turning their backs on an armed terrorist who just shot someone. Police did not take the hero who might have saved lives by accosting him to hospital: that was left to the fire department. After the incident, the police began shooting at the crowd who had just survived the terror attack.
A man just drove through a crowd of demonstrators in Seattle and then appeared to shoot someone.
Authorities say the man is in custody, one person shot is in the hospital in stable condition.
Here's a capture from a FB livestream, via twitch pic.twitter.com/tlaqvpwGjm
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) June 8, 2020
This video shows the guy going up to police and getting taken into custodypic.twitter.com/iVPe4wvdFt
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) June 8, 2020
In Bakersfield, California, a drug trafficking white supremacist hit and killed protestor Robert Forbes, an African-American. Police refused to arrest or handcuff him, allowing him to smoke a cigarette while they protected him from angry protesters. Police claimed Forbes’ injuries (which he died from) were only “moderate to major,” and blamed the protestors themselves for causing the crash by being in the road. According to local media, the driver has still not been arrested.
Police themselves have been guilty of mowing down protestors with their vehicles. In New York City, multiple incidents of NYPD cars running over protestors have been caught on camera. Demonstrators in Brooklyn had placed a yellow road barrier between themselves and a stationary police car. A second police cruiser accelerates into the crowd, knocking multiple people to the ground before fleeing. The first car follows suit, driving into yet more people. On Saturday evening, a second incident involving the NYPD driving into crowds of protestors also occurred.
Historically, it has been law enforcement that escalated race riots, rather than protestors themselves, while MintPress reported that police across the country are doing the same, smashing windows and making “white power” gestures at demonstrators protesting racist policing. A study by The Intercept found that police have been “responsible for the vast majority of assaults on journalists.” This has included shooting reporters in the face with rubber bullets and arresting others live on television.
Medical workers have also been a target of police repression. Last weekend, the NYPD attacked 32-year-old African-American hospital worker Rayne Valentine as he was leaving his job, kicking and beating his head in until he lay unmoving in the fetal position. Valentine had to return to the same hospital he had just left, his co-workers putting seven staples in his head to stop the bleeding. Valentine himself later suggested the police may have only stopped beating him because they saw his bloodied hospital identification card.
“By arresting and charging healthcare workers in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the police have proven once again that their purpose is not ‘to protect and to serve’ the people, but rather, to protect the ruling class and private property and uphold white supremacy by terrorizing black and brown communities,” wrote two local activist groups in Left Voice, “The NYPD is the most well-funded and organized gang in the city, protected by their ‘union,’ the Fraternal Order of Police, which defends racist killer cops at every instance,” they added.
TW // On May 27th, a Tallahassee police officer shot & killed Tony McDade, a black trans man.
Since, TPD has not released body cam footage or named the officer involved.
Yesterday 100 cops walked out in protest of releasing that name.
Yes, all cops. https://t.co/1Efn22GScx
— alexis isabel (@lexi4prez) June 7, 2020
Between 2013 and 2019, 99 percent of police killings resulted in no officer being charged. Fewer still resulted in a conviction. In 2019, law enforcement killed over 1,000 people, and there were only 27 days where police did not kill someone in the United States. Black people are three times more likely to be shot than white people, with a number of police departments, including Las Vegas, Anaheim, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Scottsdale, killing black men at a higher frequency than the U.S. murder rate. Cops are legally allowed to have sex with people in their custody in 35 states, further speaking to a culture of immunity within police departments.
While many have been appalled by what they see as unjustifiable police brutality, this culture gives law enforcement themselves a totally different viewpoint. After a Buffalo cop was fired for pushing a 75-year-old chemo patient to the ground, his head immediately cracking and blood pouring onto the street, the entire city’s emergency response team resigned en masse in protest. Meanwhile, Philadelphia police inspector Joe Bologna was given a standing ovation from his fellow officers as he turned himself in on police brutality charges stemming from a video showing him attacking a 21-year-old with his club, beating him in the head.
BREAKING: @PhillyPolice Staff Inspector Joe Bologna,54,leaves @FOPLodge5 to turn himself in on felony charges for violent protest confrontation last week that severely injured @TempleUniv student,21, when hit on head with police baton @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/VsJSYSseHY
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) June 8, 2020
Incidents like these led journalist Jason Koslowski to state that, “police violence isn’t a glitch in the system – it is the system,” arguing that their role in society is to defend reactionary forces and persecute those trying to change the system. Thus, political actors will be treated very differently by the forces of repression, depending on what they stand for, with killers and even racist terrorists treated more leniently than those peacefully protesting racist violence.
Police, therefore, will be extremely alarmed at a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledging to completely dismantle the “not reformable” police force. In Minneapolis, at least, cops’ days may be numbered.
Feature photo | Delaware State Rep. Sherry Frost tweeted this photo of a New Hampshire State Trooper fist-bumping a member of an armed group of counter-protesters.
Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.