The struggle of people of color in America with police violence is well known, well documented. In this medium, we have consistently gone back to the genesis of this problem which has its roots in slavery, the devaluation of black lives per the 3⁄5 of a human being decree. This process continued to the black man has no rights that a white man is obligated to respect, through the black codes which criminalized people for merely existing in their black skin, redlining in housing, and now to the prison industrial complex, which is a system of profit that exists based on the number of bodies that are in jail cells.
It is a system that was designed to separate the races, with the police as the new overseers, a step up from the plantation overseers and slave catchers.
America cannot change policing practices without first denouncing & dismantling those principles on which the very idea of policing was first imagined.
Ironically, as the problem worsens and the threat of mass protests and disruptions becomes an even more glaring possibility like we witnessed in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd in Milleopolis, those who support the police state and derive the benefits from it have doubled down with new laws intended to shore up the police state.
The police are violent and largely racist enforcers; that fact goes without saying. Even at its best, policing does not live up to its stated creed, ‘to protect and serve. Even in majority-white neighborhoods in so-called liberal states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and others, policing is about profit. So the citizens are heavily taxed and their money allocated to police departments to pay more and more cops, pay for more and more equipment, and expensive SUVs, so cops can hide out in bushes to terrorize motorists driving five (5) miles over the posted speed limits.
Never mind that the speed limits are generally so low that it is impossible to drive at that rate of speed without creating gridlock. But that is exactly the point, force working people to drive over the posted speed limit and then ticket them to feed the ever-hungry system.
This is what activists with brains in their heads mean when they say defund the police. By creating the incentive for police to continue to terrorize people using phony ordinances and pretexes to justify stops that infringe on their rights, you amp up the possibility for frustration and confrontation, the likes we are witnessing today.
The police are the face of Government policy; getting mad at the police is counterproductive, as I continue to point out. Politicians make the laws and ordinances. Mayors and Governors are executives in cities, municipalities, and States. How the police behave is a mirror into the thoughts of those elected leaders. The very same elected leaders come out and offer up platitudes and concern when their militias kill your loved ones. Why did I use the term ‘militia’? Well, police departments are essentially independent militias that operate to ensure the stated goals of states and local governments. In some forms, like the elected Sheriffs, they operate as a law unto themselves without any real oversight or control. They operate as entities that sell a certain brand of service to the states and municipalities.
One of the things we continue to do is speak to the importance of electing Democratic candidates; it does not mean that Democrats are the silver bullet; it simply means that they are the only ones we can lobby.
We also encourage African-Americans who are Democrats to be educated on the issues and to run for office. After all, the problems that we face will only be solved by us and our engagement.
We continue to make a case for African-American leadership within the Democratic party, understanding full well that we cannot support Black Republicans in any form as we have seen from Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Texas GOP head Allen West, et al., negroes who have sold their souls to be patted on the back by their white masters.
The reward for those sellouts, [black skin folks], usually comes in the form of a white wife or husband.
Even though the rewards of Black leadership outweigh the risks, we cannot ignore Democrat African-Americans like Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of the city of Chicago who has compromised dignity and self-respect and should have no expectation that she is deserving of or will receive any respect from now on.
On March 29th of this year, Chicago police murdered 13 ‑year-old Adam Toledo, Mayor Lightfoot (a black woman, or so we believe), saw the bodycam video of the shooting, then lied to the city of Chicago. Lori Lightfoot said she had previously seen the video. She referred to the murder of young Adam Toledo as “excruciating” but would not talk about what she saw because she said it could compromise ongoing investigations by COPA and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. She previously vowed to find the people responsible for “putting a gun into the hands” of Toledo, shifting the blame away from the officer who shot him.
We also continue to educate on how prosecutors who are supposed to look out for the people’s interest shift to protecting police when they kill and abuse citizens of color.
During the encounter in which Adam Toledo was killed,21-year-old Ruben Roman was arrested; during Roman’s bond hearing, prosecutors alleged that Toledo had a gun in his hand when police shot him. We now know that that statement was a lie.
At a news conference on Thursday ahead of the video’s release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the details of the boy’s death released in court were correct, essentially lying again even though she had seen the video.
What makes this even more galling is that Mayor Lightfoot is not an ordinary untrained person who cannot make the relevant distinctions of what is legally permissible from what isn’t. She is a trained lawyer by profession.
Right after the Mayor again lied to the people of Chicago and the entire nation, the state’s attorneys office knowing that the video evidence would uncover the lie sought to cover its own ass by issuing a statement saying that its own detail about Toledo having a gun when he was shot was inaccurate.“ An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court,” Sarah Sinovic, a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told WGN on Thursday.
That report came only hours before they were forced to release the video Lori Lightfoot fought against releasing.
Even after Lori Lightfoot saw that the kid had no gun and had his hand in the air when the cop, Eric Stillman put a bullet in his chest, she not only lied to the people of the city who elected her, she fought to keep it private, again lying that it would compromise the investigations.
After the information was released on Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot made the following statement, “I have seen those videos, and they are particularly difficult to watch ― especially at the end’. Lightfoot also called for people to withhold judgment until COPA finishes its investigation. “Simply put, we failed Adam.”
No Mayor, you and your death squad failed not only Adam Toledo, but you also continue to fail the entire city that placed its trust in you.
You are a disgrace!!!
This is not the first time that Lori Lightfoot has used her office to try to block the crimes of CPD from coming to light.
Lightfoot has lost considerable trust from the public during her time so far as mayor, especially when local station WBBM-TV released body-cam footage of heavily armed officers raiding the wrong home, breaking the door down and handcuffing a naked woman in distress. The incident with Anjanette Young happened in February 2019 ― just months before Lightfoot took office ― however, Chicago police under Lightfoot tried to block Young from obtaining video of her own trauma, and the city’s lawyers attempted to block WBBM-TV from airing the footage.
The mayor also came under fire after media outlets reported that Lightfoot spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money on covering overtime pay for police officers instead of on needed housing relief, business support and vaccine outreach for Chicagoans most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Lightfoot faced harsh scrutiny from both activists and aldermen who accused her of prioritizing the police department over working families.(Huffpost reports).
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.