Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Non serviam

"Finally, the media found, the protesters were behaving according to the script — the one that casts black communities in America as powder kegs that can be contained only by the cops. Never mind that chucking hot dog buns and condiments at police and smashing up police vehicles and store windows is inherently less destructive, at least in terms of human life, than fatally severing a person’s spinal cord or shooting an unarmed man multiple times in the back. The latter two operations were performed under the sanction of U.S. law enforcement, whose behavior, no matter how outrageous, is still defended from public outrage by media and politicians alike. [...]

"The Gray family’s lawyer has described the motive for Gray’s arrest on April 12 as 'running while black.' According to reports, he ran from police unprovoked and was arrested and placed in a police van. Somewhere along the way, his spine was compromised, and he ended up in a coma, dying a week later. A pocketknife of legal size was found on his person.

"Although running from police hardly constitutes probable cause, the Supreme Court has ruled that such an act can nonetheless merit detention by cops when it takes place in a 'high-crime area' — a conveniently ambiguous denomination. [...]

"Baltimore-born pastor the Rev. Graylan Hagler also spoke about law enforcement’s long tradition of dehumanizing blacks and cited ongoing advancements in the oppressive arts, thanks to training sessions in Israel for U.S. cops. Israel’s vast experience in the curtailment of civil liberties and human rights means it’s an ideal accomplice in the increasing militarization of police, one effect of which is that sections of the domestic population end up being seen as enemy combatants. [...]

"And on Monday, when tensions boiled over and young Baltimoreans repeatedly threw rocks at police tanks and cruisers, the scene was eerily reminiscent of the Occupied Territories, which should surprise no one who has followed U.S. police militarization in accordance with the Israel Defense Forces model.

"In his speech, Hagler urged the audience to forget the issue of black versus white; the real problem, he said, is blue — the color of the police uniform. He’s right. Contemporary police behavior constitutes an affront to justice, enforcing a system of race- and class-based oppression in which blacks disproportionately occupy the lower rungs of society." - Belén Fernández


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