I was sort of expecting to hear chants along the lines of “YOU! ARE! THE 99!” when it came time to square off against beat cops. I sort of still am. Give it a try, OWS?
I’ve seen and heard it personally. I like it but it doesn’t seem to be very effective.
I witnessed one Seattle PD officer respond to a direct, personal appeal with (and I quote) “No, I’m not like you. I’m proud to be a house nigger.”
The officer who said this was African-American. I wanted to throw up.
I don’t know how to say this without it sounding like hyperbole but we have a very serious and dangerous problem with law enforcement in this country. The job attracts violent, sadistic thugs who get off on violence. That’s what they signed up for. The expression on some of their faces as they swing their batons is one of sexual pleasure and gratification.
I used to see the same expression on my severely abusive/sadistic step-dad’s face when he’d beat me, and it’s fucking terrifying to see it employed under the color of law and order. It makes me physically sick.
I briefly had a job as a data entry technician at a police station. I manually keyed in parking tickets, as they were in the process of computerizing their ticketing system. The things I overheard most/all of the police in the station when they thought I was listening to my headphones and doing my data entry were sickening.
There was a protest scheduled somewhere in the city (which shall remain nameless) one day and the cops were excited about it, making jokes about how many hippy skulls they were going to crack. They were making jokes about anally raping protesters with their batons – while stroking their batons suggestively and commenting that they wished they could use bigger batons. Several officers were talking about what they liked best about protest duty – kneeling on someone’s throat or their face – and comparing tactics about how to best hurt people without getting into trouble for police brutality. They were literally discussing how to “accidentally” drop people on their faces after hog-tying them.
This isn’t some officers “letting off steam” and joking under stress. This was a small, quiet police department. They weren’t under stress – this was the very overt and direct enjoyment of violence.
This is what a police state looks like. The fetishism of brutality and violence. The militarization of municipal police departments. The complete disregard for the will of the citizens they’re supposed to be serving and protecting.
Unsurprisingly, people don’t want to hear or acknowledge these things. People want to respond “But that’s just a few bad cops!” without knowing if it is actually true or not, because if it’s not true, well, the alternatives are too terrifying for most to admit to themselves.
Yeah, it’s terrifying to think that these people – the people that are supposed to be there to protect you, your family and your home – are actually mostly just thugs. That they don’t really have any real function beyond brutality and violence.
That the same officer that you call to your house to take a (mostly useless) police report about a burglary or the same officer you would call if you were sexually assaulted is the same exact officer that would get off on beating you down with a club if you dared to exercise your First Amendment rights, and then laugh about it back in the locker rooms.
If you’re realizing and accepting this, you now know why people of color don’t call the police when shit goes down in the inner cities. It’s because calling the police often made things worse in very real ways. You also now know why the Rodney King riots happened.
That boot that Orwell talks about? The one stamping on a human face, forever? It’s not a military boot. It’s a police boot.
And increasingly there’s no difference between the two boots except the foot inside of it.
Please, please stand up. Our collective future and well being depends on it. Hell, my very life depends on it. I need access to health care. It doesn’t have to be free, it just has to be affordable. If you’re not angry enough to do it for yourself, feel free to do it for me. Do it for the adult life I lost and wasted being marginalized. Do it for the books I wasn’t able to write because I still haven’t found long term care for my severe PTSD and depression. Do it for the children I chose not to have.
Do it for your children.
We may not get another chance at this, ever. It may even already be too late.