Friday, April 23, 2021

Policing Reform – Today


Have you given a thought to what happens to people when the police arrest them during a protest?

Well, the British newspaper, the Guardian, did the research and discovered the following:

“At least 90 percent of charges against Black Lives Matter protesters in a dozen jurisdictions have been dropped, dismissed or not filed, according to an analysis by The Guardian. Such a high percentage suggests that the police may have been arresting people simply to suppress dissent.”

“In Houston and Los Angeles, The Guardian found, 93 percent of charges were either dropped or never filed; in some cities like Dallas and Philadelphia, that number rose to 95 percent of charges dropped or never prosecuted. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, 100 percent of 127 cases related to peaceful protesting were dropped.”

The conclusion?

“The extremely high percentage of protest-related charges ultimately being dropped or dismissed suggests that police may have been using arrests as a tactic to prove that the protests were unruly and unlawful.”

Despite this clear record of outrageous, authoritarian police abuse, Republican-dominated state legislators, such as Florida, “…are filing a stunning number of anti-protest laws. Some bills criminalize protesting in what appears to be a stark infringement of First Amendment rights to assembly and freedom of speech that the right wing pretends to revere. Others propose legal protection for people who run over protesters with their vehicles or shoot them.”

In fact, one current Trump-wannabe, Gov. Ronald DeSantis of Florida, crowed this as he signed Florida’s version of the First Amendment-burning travesty while wrapping an ultra-right Republican ribbon around a slew of other minority-suppressing dreams, including:

  • Allowing people, “to sue local governments if their property is damaged, injuries or deaths that arise from a riot or unlawful assembly.”
  • Bumping up, “many criminal penalties from misdemeanors to felonies, meaning that, in Florida, many who are convicted under the new law could lose their right to vote.”
  • “Making it a first-degree misdemeanor for a group of three or more to try and change someone’s viewpoints by using violence or the threat of violence. The crime would be punishable by a sentence of up to one year.”
  • The governor said the bill will also target calls to “defund the police,” which he said was an “insane theory.”
  • “This bill actually prevents against local government from defunding law enforcement,” DeSantis said. “We will be able to stop it at the state level.”

Florida’s new law, and those other Republican-controlled states are adopting, are clear harbingers of future ultra-right authoritarian rule as well as high-protein food for those like-minded authoritarian police officers throughout the nation. You know them as those clad in military gear, driving blacked out SUVs, armed with the latest weapons and wearing badges. The same “law enforcement” people who are also most likely to shoot a black person for being black, as well as others, regardless of race, for not following their commands, especially if that person is also obviously not wealthy.

Can we please make USA policing reform happen today?

The Plan to End Police Misconduct -Thom Hartmann (w/ Ben Jealous) - 21 Apr 2021

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