We’ve been down this road both in the US and the UK. Police officers kill Blacks and get away with it. Its very rare they get sentenced, if anything. Policing is obviously designed to be impervious, indeed legally protected, from any outrages that have ensued. Take a police officer to court and its rare they will be found guilty. There’s many arguments why police officers should have certain legal immunity and on the whole some of the arguments are plausibly valid. But a time comes when, like now, the whole concept of policing falls apart and we see what a rotten system it is.
Let me quote some stuff from the Observer:
There is a dreadful familiarity about the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by white police officers in Minneapolis last Monday. Floyd’s final moments were videoed from a bystander’s phone. He repeatedly pleads for mercy. His last words, “I can’t breathe”, have become a rallying cry for often violent protests that have since shaken cities across America.
All the same, this latest incident feels dangerously different, for three reasons. One is the sense that increasingly militarised US police forces, which often appear remote from and antagonistic to the communities they serve, have not learned the lessons of the past. This despite ardent campaigning by groups such as Black Lives Matter and the greater prominence of black people in public life. Source: Observer
I chose those two paragraphs for what they say. The first is of course how sadly typical this stuff is. Black killings (or any other minorities for that matter, even disabled people in the States are killed by police in much the same cavalier way but its unfortunately not discussed much.) What’s more is the police do not seem to learn from the past as the second paragraph suggests. That is because they are becoming more militarised. That is a response to the past, not a desire to learn from it.
That is true they, the police, nor the authorities who pass the legal frameworks by which the police are bound, do not want change. Not in the US, not here in the UK, not anywhere. Policing has always been a major problem but its often not seen as a problem in the way it should be. We, the public, are the problem not the police.
And its why policing often churns out the same, distressingly tragic, consequences.
The problem with the police/the law is it has a different sense of existence. In fact the police operate on a different level of reality to the rest of us – and in terms of this we must remember the actions of that obnoxious US police officer, Derek Chauvin… and how he sought to ignore the urgent pleadings of George Floyd. It was Eric Garner all over again.
An obnoxious police officer’s mugshots. Source: Twitter
At this point I wanted to go through the video recordings of Chavin’s actions and highlight certain elements as Floyd lay dying under immense pressure form the obnoxious police officer’s strategically placed knee. Then explain how these pertain to supremacism, the dominant paradigm and the rest of it. Yet I felt tired, strained, distressed trying to think how best I could possibly explain yet another depressing aspect of policing so decided to instead try a different focus for this post.
This article just published by the New York Times illustrates some of the points I had wanted to make.
George Floyd’s death highlights the crux of the very problem at heart. That many are completely insensitive to the struggles of others. I know this because I get it a lot from many many leading people – transport workers, the police, the public, everywhere because of my disabilities. I’ve had it ever since I was small kid and I can tell you the overall systematic discrimination that is in place has never gone away no matter who it is and no matter their political leaning. It is entrenched worse than just being a matter of racism.
Memorial to George Floyd being painted in Minneapolis. Source: Twitter (Note: This is from a Twitter account that has either been closed or suspended thus an archived image is used here.)
The actions of this obnoxious police officer (and his three accomplices too let’s not forget) could be said to have been a considerable phase transition. There was coronavirus and there were lockdowns. Many countries and their societies, were in many ways, compromised, even repressed, under a form of massive state control of a kind not seen before. In the ensuing period up to the end of May 2020 people’s senses had been sort of numbed, silenced, as everyone strived to make their own sacrifices towards a worldwide effort of eradicating coronavirus.
Just at the very moment things were sort of gently beginning to be relaxed and controls were being removed, the death of George Floyd occurred. People were understandably very angry and all hell broke loose and numerous protests spread out across the US and the world itself. Thousands were tired of the lockdowns but also so tired too of police officers murdering yet more blacks. In fact it seemed death at the hands of a police officer was a far worse fate than dying of a virus. That is sobering in fact because its almost without doubt that a black person will be killed by a US cop.
Fantastic George Floyd/I can’t breathe mural in Santa Barbara. Source: Twitter
With this particular incident in Minneapolis, the American consciousness undoubtedly changed. People were absolutely tired of this sort of thing repeating again and again. The problem for many was it would no doubt happen again for that is the clear and obvious pattern which has pervaded so far. Reform is a hugely false flag and what is very clear now is the same old tired shit simply cannot be allowed to continue.
Its been said in the past the police are the source of trouble. They are in fact like a nuclear bomb that drops itself upon very fragile and complex social situations. Many of these people are poor or marginalised and the police simply do not improve these impoverished lives. Police intervention in fact makes those already marginalised and complex lives infinitely more complex and much harder.
It is almost impossible for marginalised, disenfranchised communities to make up lost ground. When they are given new ground to make up, they already have other lost ground that has yet to be made up. A never ending circle because much of this stuff will have for some communities been going on for centuries in fact.
Invariably much of our world is shot through with inequalities and it can only mean one thing – change. My own life is saddled with perpetuated inequalities – and doing a blog I find these inequalities even more apparent because everyone ‘outside’ is almost invariably white, abled and they are in charge of the blogging, vlogging system. Blogging has been an eye opener for me. It has showed me discrimination is extremely rife. It is those very people who impose systematic discriminatons upon me (and others too) because they can’t see, not for the wholeness of their own biased systems, the actual oppression that is being garnered.
In terms of the police, we too have inequalites in the UK. Of course I have seen how the police, the dear old Met, invariably act towards me in a way they act towards blacks too. Its largely because of a supremacist idea pertaining to being able bodied. Its why I have been to conferences where I have discussed with those like the Rigg family and others whose loves ones have been murdered by the Met. We have sat at the same tables and have discussed our different (or perhaps rather – not so dissimilar) experiences with the police (because the onus there it seems is to marginalise, rather than uplift the disenfranchised) and we have seen there is a sufferance from the same overall, arching, dominant and unequal paradigm that is forced unrelentingly our way. We have had meetings that have sought to express our concerns and how best the police (or the legal system) could be reformed so that it is more fair and does not expend such a long arm of discrimination as it does now.
There’s somehow, for a short moment, a hopeful sense among us minorities that things are changing – but ultimately they don’t. The big problem is the very illusion of change itself. The authorities say ‘change,’ ‘ reform,’ and people think it will happen. It doesn’t. The desire to impel these changes ultimately fades away because invariably everyone (this being the system’s beneficiaries) are comfortable with the dominant system’s package – and what it means is many become institutionalised, in fact impervious, to the inequalities that are endemic.
One often succeeds in making complaints or certain groundswell actions where the authorities will write reports and say ‘this wont happen again. It must never happen again.’ I got that a lot from the Met and no doubt a lot of Blacks too got it from the Met, from the Government, the law, other sources of systematic discrimination. The sad thing is despite these brief bursts of remorse or guilt, the big system is soon on its way once again trampling upon those it is designed to marginalise.
There may be tokenistic adjustments but these invariably too fade away. Many of us are still stuck in the same tired niches of disenfranchisement.
Some of the numerous BAME victims murdered by US police. Source: Twitter
Of course its much the same in the US. No matter who, George Floyd, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown and others, the sense of despairing never ends – because ultimately it is a certain, indeed special, kind of paradigm in charge. I mean, I’m not interested in the dominant paradigm because of its many faults, but at the same time I do not ever want it replaced by another dominant paradigm. And no, I do too do not want to see other dominant paradigms rise. There must be not one dominant paradigm in any way or any form.
What it means is ultimately the police must be massively reformed. The notion of the law must be massively reformed. Agreeably, the law is an ass because it often favours those at the wrong end of the scale and when it is challenged it can’t change because it is fixed, immutable. Its like a cancer that has slowly been growing. Its often been said Britain’s police, even Britain’s laws are some of the best in the world. It has instilled a sense of British pride which means the actual system of discrimination in fact cannot be seen clearly to any great extent.
It shocks me when people say our police, our laws, are the best and it shows these are essentially unchangeable. I have seen how the police’s cognizance is essentially unshiftable. I have met the very rare officer who agrees the whole thing stinks but essentially there’s nothing that can be done because, well, its all like treacle. Its sticky. Try changing one aspect of the entire machine and the whole stinking quagmire soon oozes in such a way this small hole of possible change is subsumed and as a result practically forgotten. I can write loads about my experiences with what many argue is ‘London’s finest’ – but in many ways its too distressing for me. In a lot of ways it is thanks to the Met that I have these long time views – being a desire that things should be better and more fairer – and without the police too. And there are others too, even organisations with this particular specific in their aims and objectives, who want to see the role of the police reduced considerably.
(As an addendum, by the time I had more or less completed this post, which was the day before yesterday (4th June 2020) the news that many organisations were starting to advocate the notion of defunding the police and putting efforts into other areas in order to resolve many social issues was indeed a good one. It does seem possible now that people are beginning to look at other ways which does not involve the police, and more crucially, involves them less. This article Movement to defund police gains ‘unprecedented’ support across US was the first such I read on this new drive to cut the police out of our lives. Here’s another, one of many over the years that have been written though, but nevertheless relevant in light of the latest issues – How much do we need the police?)
Defund the police. Source: Twitter (Note: The Twitter account has been deleted thus an archived image is used.)
The whole paradigm is like an army, a despot regime. Its like that because everyone is swept up, swept along by the same cognizance and its very hard to stand out and say, ‘fuck this shit.’ If one does that they are almost invariably incarcerated, marginalised, economically disadvantaged and the rest of it. Yet many of those of us who do protest against the dominant system do so because we are already that – we are marginalised, disenfranchised, economically excluded and the rest of it. What it means is banging the drum isn’t going to make us much more worse off than we are already.
When I protest about the attitudes of some bloggers or others (including the police) as examples within that wide sphere of discrimination paradigms) they choose to economically disenfranchise me because they have a system that can clarion call its supremacy and assert I am the trouble maker and so on. What happens is there is a supremacist effort to assert a particular line of cognizance and it tells me there’s a world that doesn’t want change. Doesn’t want fairness. Prefers to see the whole thing through blinkers or a set of rose tinted spectacles.
Yes many people are shouting out ‘inequality, racism,’ and the rest of it, but overall there isn’t change, and we must remember ultimately the whole system was begun, instigated, by dominant paradigms. Whatever country one looks at there is a dominant paradigm in operation and within each of those countries there are lots of other groups of people indelibly marginalised, discriminated, excluded, disenfranchised. Its like a fractal system of inequalities. The larger patterns have better equality whilst the smaller patterns, although they basically look the same as the main patterns, have greater inequalities in fact and its often difficult to see these because one needs a microscope to see those infinitely smaller fractals.
Its the ability to see all the different discriminations and how each of these can be resolved and prevented – without creating new discriminations in turn – that is going to be the hardest job of all.
Note: From this point onward I wrote upon references and tweets etc to illustrate the inequalities in the US system, but after a while decided I’d done the very best I could thus left the remainder out and saving it instead for a possible follow up.