NYC Police Union Stands By Their Klansman

The police have complained that the so-called “George Floyd" protests have gone on forever. This is a strange argument considering the average cop show runs for a few decades. The protests against police violence have lasted barely three months, and as Malcolm X once said, “The problem is still here."

Cops have arguably only doubled down on their desire to inflict random violence on Black people. Last week, New York City's Police Benevolent Association, the world's largest protection racket police union, endorsed Donald Trump for president, as if they didn't know Joe Biden was Irish. New York's police union hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate in 36 years, but no other president has offered cops the opportunity to “dominate" the streets without even lip service to Americans' civil rights. The Dickensian-named union head Patrick J. Lynch told President Klan Robe, “You've earned this." I can only hope both men some day hear those words in hell.

From New York Magazine:

But beyond formalizing a political alliance, this announcement confirmed what a growing share of the public has come to realize about America's police: That their most treasured entitlement is their unaccountability. The PBA's support for Trump is not only an endorsement of his unpopular social-control platform, which celebrates brutal policing. It's their latest rebuke of the notion that the ideal version of law enforcement requires partnership between the police and the public.

Donald Trump is a thug and law enforcement isn't disgusted by his thuggishness. They embrace it because they know he's one of their own. He demands respect but never shows any toward the powerless. He believes anyone who challenges his authority deserve to be beaten into submission. They should just go ahead and call him Sheriff Trump.

It's telling that during Trump's reign of terror, it's military leaders who have repudiated the president. Retired Marine general and former secretary of Defense James Mattis released a scathing statement denouncing Trump after his Tiananmen Square-style photo-op.

I have watched this week's unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

Mattis didn't use the actions of a “small number of lawbreakers" as a cowardly pretense to deny Americans their right to free expression and assembly. It's impossible to imagine any leader in law enforcement issuing a similar statement with such moral conviction. Instead, law enforcement has presented themselves as the true victims of George Floyd's murder. They dismiss entirely any fears Black people have that they could end their lives like Floyd or Elijah McClain. Or die asleep in the one place they should feel safe like Breonna Taylor. According to the one witness at the scene who didn't shoot her, Taylor lay dying for five minutes, struggling to breathe, while the police got their stories straight.

Yet, the cops are the ones who feel they are “under siege." It's not true, but the narrative endures on Fox News and rightwing radio. All cops are truly at risk of losing are padded overtime salaries, budgets that could (and arguably do) fund military strikes, and professional impunity. A second Trump term will offer an unrestricted police state, and the president won't lack for eager button-men as he “saves the world" from the “radical left."

The protests against police violence will continue for as long as the brutality continues. Our demands are only unreasonable if the police can't conceive of how to do their jobs without violating Black people's civil rights.

The protest will continue for as long as the police seek to deny the people they kill justice. In Minneapolis, Earl Gray, the lawyer for one of the officers charged with aiding George Floyd's murder, is trying to kill all that Floyd's family has left, his memory. It's a same shit, different day “defense": Officer Thomas Lane “did nothing wrong." Floyd failed to “obey commands," and really, aren't we (white people, at least) better off with Floyd dead?

From Law and Crime:

We begin with the crimes of Mr. Floyd, his lies to the Police, and the arrest he himself caused. The State would have this Court view him as only "suspected of using a counterfeit $20.00 bill," someone, given his background, that the Police should have believed in toto when he declared his innocence: "I'm not that kind of guy," I didn't do anything wrong man." When asked by Officer Lane, "What are, are you on something right now?" Mr. Floyd responded, "No, nothing." He was sober, of course.

The last line was sarcastic, of course, because Gray wants to demonstrate how little regard he has for Floyd's life. This is why we kneel. This is why we march. This is why the protests won't end until real change begins.

[Law and Crime]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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