Sunday, May 31, 2020

This Week's Surprise: Actual Police Officers Are Denouncing George Floyd's Murderers

Heather Digby Parton asks: "What would you think if you saw this in another country?"
I have watched dozens of videos of the protests and police response over the past couple of days. These days of rage are being documented in ways we've never seen before. There are scenes of tremendous violence at the hands of police and intense frustration among the protesters.

That video above is one of the most chilling to me.

Those people weren't rioting. They weren't looting. They weren't even protesting. There wasn't a manhunt going on or some other kind of deadly threat.

Those people were on their own front porches in a residential neighborhood simply watching the authorities go by on the street.

That's authoritarianism, people.
One thread I did not expect to see this past week is the comments from other cops denouncing the murder of George Floyd. Usually, when the police kill unarmed civilians, there is a deafening silence (or a defense of the killers) from the men and women in blue.

Not this time. Perhaps it's because of the starkness and length of the video, the absolute absence of doubt that what happened to George Floyd was deliberate, cold-blooded murder.

There are not enough words of solidarity to effect actual change and reform, and some of the outspoken officers are already retired, but even the mere existence of these words on tape and in print is a departure.

David Roddy, Police Chief, Chattanooga, Tennessee:
There is no need to see more video. There no need to wait to see how "it plays out". There is no need to put a knee on someone's neck for NINE minutes. There IS a need to DO something. If you wear a badge and you don't have an issue with this … turn it in.
Johnny Moats, Sheriff, Polk County, Georgia:
I am deeply disturbed by the video of Mr. Floyd being murdered in the street with other officers there letting it go on. I can assure everyone, me or any of my deputies will never treat anyone like that as long as I'm Sheriff. This kind of brutality is terrible and it needs to stop. All Officers involved need to be arrested and charged immediately. Praying for the family.
Eddie Garcia. Police Chief, San Jose, California:
Not going hide behind "not being there". I'd be one of the first to condemn anyone had I seen similar happen to one of my brother/sister officers. What I saw happen to George Floyd disturbed me and is not consistent with the goal of our mission. The act of one, impacts us all.
Ed Gonzalez, Sheriff, Harris County, Texas:
When bad things happen in our profession, we need to be able to call it like it is. We keep thinking that the last one will be the last one, and then another one surfaces.
Jorge Colina, Police Chief, Miami, Florida:
Do not defend the undefendable, attempt to justify the unjustifiable or excuse the inexcusable. George Floyd should be alive today.
Los Angeles Police Protective League (representing nearly 10,000 sworn personnel):
What we saw on that video was inconsistent and contrary to everything we have been taught, not just as an academy recruit or a police officer, but as human beings. Reverence for life in every incident a police officer encounters must be the floor and not the ceiling.
Police unions in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, as well as the Peace Officers Research Association of California (the statewide law enforcement lobbying group), put out similar statements.

Tom Saggau, spokesman for police unions in San Jose and San Francisco, said he and some "seasoned veterans" of law enforcement said they were struck by "the look on that officer's face, the complete indifference". Saggau said he recalled thinking:
Certainly somebody is going to tap someone on the shoulder, someone is going to jump in …[but] they did nothing. … There can't be reconciliation, there can't be healing unless each side recognizes the wrong, and it's been far too long that law enforcement has not recognized the wrong.
Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter (Los Angeles), said she was not "particularly moved" by the cops who voiced outrage. "It was not just Officer Chauvin who was sitting on George Floyd's neck."

Gloria Browne-Marshall, civil rights attorney and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice:
Any minute progress is seen as miraculous because so little has been done for so long. It's nothing close to progress or what outrage would be taking place if it was a white man as the victim of this assault.
Both women are right, but I think it's significant that active police officers are speaking out. Or maybe that's just where the new dividing line is now. Strong words of opposition, but then business as usual. We'll see.

Dermot Shea, Commissioner, New York Police Department:
What we saw in Minnesota was deeply disturbing. It was wrong. We must take a stand and address it. We must come together, condemn these actions and reinforce who we are as members of the NYPD. This is not acceptable ANYWHERE.
Police under the command of Commissioner Shea drove two SUVs into a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn, accelerated, and then lied afterwards, claiming their cars had been "surrounded".

We will see soon if that is "acceptable" behaviour in Commissioner Shea's opinion.

Some officials, like New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio defended the police.

De Blasio also blamed "anarchists" for the violence, but (surprise!) he offered no evidence for his extremely vague charge.

Elsewhere, the tired old phrase "outside agitators" seems like it's getting a revival. (Even if many protestors in Minnesota are actually from out-of-state, so what? People are livid and pissed and angry in all 50 fucking states!)

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