Why Does This Keep Happening: The Police Thread

Cachoo

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I love cops. I used to be a dispatcher and would send them to call after call after call involving disturbances, domestic disputes, fights...you name it. It was dangerous work and they had to be calm and referee. And they would have whole days of nothing but these calls. Is it any wonder cops often look so young? The burn-out rate must be tremendous.

What I want to know is what gets us from point A...which is a young person dedicated to protect and serve...to what we are seeing constantly on the news now. Did they go in disliking black people? Did something happen along the way? We can be appalled but I don't think we solve any problems until we know why this is happening. This is more than "just a few bad apples." Is this institutional? And what does that mean?

Why do you believe this is happening? Am I wrong to group these deaths of black men and boys together? Should each incident be separate? I don't think so but I want to know what you believe.
 

Vash01

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There is definitely a pattern here.

I do respect and admire the police in general. I feel that I can always depend on them, but then I am not black and I am not a man. Most of them are dedicated to public service while putting their lives at risk. There are a few that seem to be racists and have prejudices. I don't gave any answers but I do feel that if they see the wrong actions punished appropriately they may stop being so aggressive toward certain types of people. IMO the fault is with the system that lets them get away with wrong actions, and the good cops have to share the burden because of the actions of a small group.
 
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BlueRidge

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This article in the Nation addresses this question and raises a point worth considering: Do we have too much law enforcement? Why do we repeatedly see black individuals being killed by police after "routine traffic stops"? How does a stop over a broken tail light progress to the killing of the person stopped?

Well I'm not convinced it is simply that there is too much law enforcement. It is that law enforcement from the beginning of our republic has had as one of its implicit duties keeping black people down. And so we have unnecessary traffic stops. We have them escalate because the police see the black individual as inherently criminal. Or we have police seeing a boy as a huge dangerous person--because he is black.

The problem is racism. But not of individual people but of our culture and our institutions, including law enforcement.
This has always been true for black people, in one way or another. From the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act forward, public-safety officers have been empowered to harass black bodies in the defense of private capital and the pursuit of public revenue. As a result, no generation of black Americans has been spared the macabre tradition of drilling into its children tips for avoiding death at the hands of the state—not during slavery, not during the era of black codes that followed war, not during Jim Crow, not during the indiscriminate war on drugs, and not in the current era of cops functioning as tax collectors on the poor in decimated municipalities.

Debbie Nathan’s moving biography of Sandra Bland in our May 19 issue is a must-read for understanding how this modern version of the 220-year-old system functions to destroy black life. From Illinois to Texas, Bland was stalked by an overzealous police apparatus that hunted vulnerable residents who could be targeted with fines and fees, money that local governments desperately needed to fill the holes created by state and federal austerity—zealotry that begat zealotry that begat death.
 

FiveRinger

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I can't tell you why. But there is no excuse that in this country people go to jail for killing dogs and we sign petitions because gorillas are killed after attacking people, but restrained and apprehended black men are being killed by policemen without repercussions. It's disgusting and vile. These are the things that Congress needs to address, not friggin emails.
 

FiveRinger

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Don Lemon is on CNN now. He has a unique perspective, being a black man from Baton Rouge. He is horrified and extremely emotional. I remember when he was here in St Louis covering Ferguson. He is still harassed by the police because of who he is. It's shameful.
 
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gkelly

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Well I'm not convinced it is simply that there is too much law enforcement. It is that law enforcement from the beginning of our republic has had as one of its implicit duties keeping black people down. And so we have unnecessary traffic stops. We have them escalate because the police see the black individual as inherently criminal. Or we have police seeing a boy as a huge dangerous person--because he is black.

The problem is racism. But not of individual people but of our culture and our institutions, including law enforcement.
Agreed.

My sense -- again, from the perspective of a white woman, so take it for what it's worth -- is that people of color and especially black men have experienced this kind of suspicion and fear from law enforcement for many generations.

So I would ask, is the incidence of violence by police officers against black suspects indeed increasing recently? Did it go down at some point and is now again on the rise?

Or is it more that it's easier to share information now so knowledge of each incident doesn't get buried in the local press or not even there, but rather spread across the country and beyond by word of mouth/social media?

And people -- e.g., the Black Lives Matter movement -- are more likely speak out against each incident and draw attention by mainstream media.

Possibly all of the above.

I'd be interested in the statistics over time, and also by ethnicity of victims and of officers perpetrating the violent acts.
 

FiveRinger

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It is also important to note that in both of these instances, the officers involved were involved in other shootings, as well. And none of these cops were very experienced.
 

topaz

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@gkelly , from my point of view as an African American it has always been happening. To quote Rage against the machine's Killing in the name
some of those who work forces are the same that burn crosses.
The song is an anthem to institutional racism and police brutality.

Now we have access to more information that's why it's seen more. There are numerous factors in regards to why black and brown people are targeted by police. Such as almost 400 years of black Lives not having the same value as white lives. 50 years of a war on drugs that specifically targeted black communities to destroy them. The war on drugs has militarized our police forces. Police forces in many metropolitan cities do not reflect the make up of their communities. Police who take their authority mentality to the extent of they feel they are justified in their actions regardless of the situation. You have a police culture that protects racist and bad cops.

I could go on, but these are some of my reasons. There is no recourse for black and brown people. It can happen at anytime for any reason. It happens to black women and men. It frustrates me when I hear talk of "terrorism ", when blacks like myself face terrorist attacks and threats everyday from the police.
 
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FiveRinger

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Unless you are a person of color, you will never understand the fear that we experience when we see flashing lights in the rearview mirror. Even as a woman, I still carry that fear. As young people you know that the rules are different for us. Drive right. Make sure your vehicle is right. Don't have more than a friend or two in the car with you. Don't do anything to draw attention to yourself. And if you get stopped by the police, don't argue, answer all questions respectfully, do not mske any sudden movements, and do exactly what they say. Period. But even now, that's not enough.
 

wickedwitch

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The biggest and most serious issue is systemic racism. But police militarization and abuse of power also plays a role. And while the long-term goal should be to end racism, that's will take years to accomplish if it is even possible. To minimize the killings as soon as possible, I'd look at addressing the police abuse of power issue.
 

Cachoo

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The president will address the nation shortly and I believe it is about this issue. For topaz and FiveRinger there is nothing new here. But for people who were disbelieving or unsure Minnesota will be the tipping point. I really believe that and thank God this woman had her wits about her in a horrific situation to get the video out. It shouldn't be crucial but it is imo.
 

Vash01

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It was amazing that this woman had the presence of mind to not only take the video but also post it on facebook in such a horrible situation. The police actually took away her phone and put her in the police car, along with her 4 year old daughter. As soon as she got the phone back, she continued to record. She has my respect, but she really didn't deserve to lose a loved one in this manner.
 

Anita18

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This is an older Storify page (from a Twitter thread) that explains my feelings pretty well. None of these cops get prosecuted because everyone who is in a position to do that "understands" their fear of black men.

https://storify.com/docrocktex26/irrational-fear-of-black-bodies-and-the-roots-of-w

"Negrophobia" is definitely institutionalized here. Even Alf (who is pretty imperfect himself about race) was like, "....did the commentator really say that??" when I was watching replays of the men's gymnastic Olympic trials. A commentator said, "Wow, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that!" when one of the black gymnasts (not sure which one) yelled and punched his chest in triumph. Would the commentator have said that after a white gymnast? I'd bet money on no.
 

snoopy

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095117.htm

This age study has been out for awhile but it doesn't address why we guess black male children are 4 years older than they are. And I'd like to see something on why people are afraid of blacks. Some of those "afraid people" will point to crime stats but fear of black people goes back to when they were being brought over on slave ships. You know, before Africans were even here. Perhaps the fear is a legacy of that - when whites had to convince themselves Africans were inherently bad to soothe their conscience over enslaving other humans.
 
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topaz

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The BLM twitter page has some great questions that ALL AMERICANS need to ask themselves.

1. How much does your state allocate for prisons and police? How much does the U.S. Allocate for military and prisons?
2. Now how much is being allocated for jobs, shelter, and healthy food vs jails, prisons and military?
3. How much does your city budget allocate for police? How much does your county budget allocate for jail and sheriff's?
 

Allskate

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The president will address the nation shortly and I believe it is about this issue. For topaz and FiveRinger there is nothing new here. But for people who were disbelieving or unsure Minnesota will be the tipping point. I really believe that and thank God this woman had her wits about her in a horrific situation to get the video out. It shouldn't be crucial but it is imo.
I hope you're right that this is the tipping point, but I doubt it. This isn't the first time something like this has been caught on video. In South Carolina they had video of a policeman coldly shooting a man in the back. If I remember correctly, that murder victim was also pulled over for a broken taillight.

In my entire life, I've experienced being pulled over by the police only three times. All three times there was at least one person of color in the car with me. Two of those times I was in the South. What are the odds?
 

MacMadame

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095117.htm

This age study has been out for awhile but it doesn't address why we guess black male children are 4 years older than they are. And I'd like to see something on why people are afraid of blacks. Some of those "afraid people" will point to crime stats but fear of black people goes back to when they were being brought over on slave ships. You know, before Africans were even here. Perhaps the fear is a legacy of that - when whites had to convince themselves Africans were inherently bad to soothe their conscience over enslaving other humans.
The crime statistics don't support their fear. Not only has violent crime gone down quite a bit since I was a kid, but it's gone down at a faster rate among Black men, at least recently.

I hope you're right that this is the tipping point, but I doubt it. This isn't the first time something like this has been caught on video.
It's not just that it was caught on video. It's that the man they shot was exemplary. They won't be able to point to an ancient arrest report to support the narrative that he was a "thug" who obviously must have done something wrong. He was beloved in the community as well.

The video helps because you can see how hysterical the cop is while the woman, who has a right to be hysterical, is calming him down. It's clear that he over-reacted and for a while I was afraid he was going to shoot the woman too because of his fear. It reminds me of that video where a cop pulled a guy into a gas station for a traffic stop and told him to get his license and registration and then shot the guy when he did it.
 

Allskate

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It's not just that it was caught on video. It's that the man they shot was exemplary. They won't be able to point to an ancient arrest report to support the narrative that he was a "thug" who obviously must have done something wrong. He was beloved in the community as well.
People believe what they want to believe. It doesn't matter. Others shot have not been committing major crimes. It was petty stuff. Selling cigarettes. Failure to signal or a taillight out. If people think that these are capital crimes and the victims "deserved" it, then they are going to find some excuse for why this guy deserved it. People stereotype.

Unfortunately, they stereotype cops and kill them too. In Dallas tonight there was a protest of these murders. MSNBC is reporting that two snipers with assault weapons started shooting officers. Ten officers have been shot and three are dead.
 

Allskate

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And now the Dallas Police Chief said that they fear a bomb has been placed in downtown Dallas. Federal specialists are being brought in.

This is all so awful for many reasons.
 

Buzz

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A fourth police officer has now died of his wounds.

Thoughts and prayers tonight the families of the dead officers and hope that no more of the wounded officers dies.
 

Spun Silver

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To hell with "Black Lives Matter." All lives matter, including cops's lives. Does that movement have no idea what it is doing to public safety -- to black lives! -- across America?
 

VGThuy

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I'm saddened and angry about all of the violence that has happened. Nobody deserves this sort of violence. I have a friend who lives in Dallas right where this is occurring. She's ok, but she says it's like a war zone. I hope they find who is responsible for the harming of the police officers, and that people don't lose sight of what happened to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and many others similarly situated.

To hell with "Black Lives Matter." All lives matter, including cops's lives. Does that movement have no idea what it is doing to public safety -- to black lives! -- across America?
Yes, blame movement giving a voice to people who have suffered from historical and systematic police and state-sanctioned violence and a movement that itself that does not condone violence, but not the actions of the individuals who are killing the police or committing violence (a privilege given to a certain select "mentally ill" few I guess). The fact that you're so quick to blame the movement that is simply letting black people express their rage and anger is part of the problem of seeing black people as dangerous.

If the motives of the snipers are due to anger, then they just took advantage of the fact that a huge gathering of people came to march in downtown Dallas knowing full well that police presence would be there. The movement itself may be an outlet for the expression of such anger, but it's not the cause nor is it where this anger is really coming from. Think of all the publicized violence by the police (whether you think it was justified or not) against people of color and the needless deaths from some of that violence, and that's only a morsel of what the mainstream media has decided to talk about. Again, if anger about that violence was a motivating factor for the unfortunate, inexcusable, and heinous murders of the police officers and the violence against cops, then the seed would have been planted just from the media reporting of the numerous incidences described above that seemed to just keep coming with no signs of justice for the victims or it stopping since that behavior has pretty much been justified and excused. You can blame BLM for speaking out about those incidences and therefore causing it to be publicized and for having protests where large groups gather that would have police presence, but that wouldn't really help matters except to silence opinions different from yours.
 
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Cachoo

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Is is Texas law that the person of interest pictured can walk around with that sniper rifle legally? How many of those officers saw their killer long before the shooting started? It only gets worse.
 

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