Black Lives Matter--Until The Police Are Involved
by C.A. Matthews
Watching mere glimpses of the Derek Chauvin trial--not the "George Floyd Trial" as it has been called in some instances--can really enlighten you on the ugly reality of the US justice system. In our criminal courts it doesn't matter about the motivations of the alleged killer. It's all about the "worthiness" of the crime victim.
In this case, Mr. Floyd has been found lacking in worthiness by the Chauvin defense attorneys. According to them it was okay for a member of the Minneapolis Police Force to murder Floyd in cold blood while other officers assisted by keeping witnesses at bay with unspoken threats that they, too, could be killed or maimed by the cops if they intervened.
You don't think these police officers were trained killers? Think again:
...Many Minneapolis police officers receive “Killology training” through the police union, where they are taught to kill rather than de-escalate conflict situations. This training violates the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which require officers to, “as far as possible,” use nonviolent techniques before resorting to force and firearms.
Prosecutors will likely try to isolate Chauvin as one of “a few bad apples.” That may be an effective prosecutorial strategy to convince jurors they should convict him. But this “rogue cop” characterization — also used after the 1991 Rodney King beating and the police killings of Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and Breonna Taylor — obscures the systemic nature of police violence against Black and Brown people in the United States. Even the best training in the world cannot teach police, who are licensed to kill and deployed to enforce a racist system, not to be racist.
Black people who are unarmed or not attacking police are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, the Brookings Institution found. Moreover, police kill Black people at more than twice the rate of whites even though Black people account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population. More than 75 percent of the time, choke holds are applied on men of color.
"Even the best training in the world cannot teach police, who are licensed to kill and deployed to enforce a racist system, not to be racist..."
Once you concede that it's not only the police who are racists--it's the entire system they are taught to uphold that is racist--then George Floyd's murder makes "sense" if only in the fact that it was inevitable. His wretched death by the actions of Minneapolis police officers was inevitable given the training and the social conditioning of his killer and his accomplices.
So, how do we make Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA Lives Matter, Asian Lives Matter, Migrant Lives Matter, Red Lives Matter, Women & Girls Lives Matter, Brown Lives Matter... if we're all constantly fighting against a system that wants to keep its divisive status quo in place?
“We say you don’t fight racism with racism — we’re gonna fight racism with solidarity,” said Fred Hampton, Black Panther founder. Hampton knew that solidarity is the ticket to overthrowing oppression. It's why he was killed--he wanted to bring many diverse groups together.
Cooperation among differing groups and organizations of Americans in a very large "Rainbow Coalition" will be necessary. This union of unions will be made up of activists who won't stand by and be silent any longer as their fellow Americans are killed by a system designed to keep wealthy capitalist, white, cisgendered males on top by any means necessary--which includes murder and intimidation.
Keep watching the Derek Chauvin trial via the live stream at Unicorn Riot, and you'll see our unjust system of justice exposed. https://unicornriot.ninja/livearchive/ Then reach out to area groups/organizations who are speaking out against police brutality and for human rights on any level. Join them and pass their information along to others and ask them to join a larger coalition of groups fighting for these goals. Solidarity must begin at the local level before it can spread to a national level and make a lasting change.
🚨 ACTION ALERT 🚨 SIGN ON NOW! Join us in support of declaring a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls on May 5th. Sign on: https://t.co/p7Y9S5QiJj.— National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (@niwrc) March 29, 2021
Please circulate widely! #MMIWG #MMIWGActionNow #NoMoreStolenSisters pic.twitter.com/ESwlerOTjQ
In 1978, the top 0.1% owned about 7% of the nation’s wealth. In 2019, they owned nearly 20%.— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) April 3, 2021
The looting is grotesque.
This campaign is a collaboration between UltraViolet and BLM Louisville community activists working on the ground to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.
On March 13, 2020, three Louisville police officers shot Breonna Taylor after breaking into her home. They didn't even call for medical help for her as she lay dying.1
But despite more than a year of protests calling for justice for Breonna, none of these officers has been criminally charged. In fact, one of the officers involved in Breonna's killing is still employed by the Louisville police.2
Enough is enough. The officers involved in Breonna's killing should all be fired and arrested, and they aren't the only ones. Our allies at Black Lives Matter Louisville have built a database of police officers who have neglected their duties and injured or killed Black people, and we have a plan to turn up the pressure and demand accountability.
Saturday, May 1, is the Kentucky Derby. It's the biggest media event in Kentucky every year, and with the state in the national spotlight, it's a prime opportunity to remind the country that Breonna's killers haven't been brought to justice. Our plan is to fly an airplane banner over the event and to drive a mobile billboard to force the national media to take notice and demand justice for Breonna. Will you chip in $5?
The officers who killed Breonna Taylor want her to fade from public view. But we won't let that happen.
Breonna was an award-winning EMT and first responder who loved helping her patients and her community. A daughter, a friend, a Black American, she was 26 years old and planning to become a nurse. Her life mattered.3
The protest movements that followed Breonna's killing led to the Louisville City Council banning the use of no-knock warrants. Two of the police officers were fired. Many cities around the country are radically reenvisioning the role of police in our communities and beginning to shift resources from punitive criminal justice toward community investment, mental health, and rehabilitation.
But the fact remains that bad cops who kill Black people must be fired. When they escape accountability, it sends a message to other police officers that they will not be held accountable for killing Black people.
The Kentucky Derby is hugely important to the local economy. The state's top politicians and corporate leaders will all be there, and the last thing they want to focus on is Breonna Taylor. That means we have leverage to our demands, and we're going to use it.
Our airplane banner and mobile billboard will be impossible to miss, but without your grassroots donations, we will not be able to continue organizing high-profile protests like this one. Will you chip in $5?
--Shaunna, KaeLyn, KD, Kathy, Bridget, Melody, Lindsay, Sonja, Kimberly, Maria, Elisa, Katie, Isatou, and Iris, the UltraViolet team
1. What to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death, New York Times, January 6, 2021
2. A Year After Breonna Taylor's Killing, Family Says There's 'No Accountability,' NPR, March 13, 2021
3. What to Know About Breonna Taylor's Death, New York Times, January 6, 2021