When widespread protests erupt, especially when destruction of property is involved, there is inevitably a great deal of media attention on the “more interesting”–i.e., violent–aspects.
Peaceful protests rarely get attention.
But what happens when the law enforcement expected to return peace to tumultuous demonstrations inflame violence instead of helping to prevent it?
As attention shifts away from the suffering the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is causing this country and toward the violent protests exploding nationwide over the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, we can no longer deny the role police practices have in contributing to generational cycles of violence.
In New York, for example, NYPD vehicles drove into protesters, reminiscent of activist Heather Heyer’s death during the Charlottesville, Va. protests of 2017 after white supremacist James Fields plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
NYPD officer just called a female protester a “stupid fucking bitch” and threw her to the ground pic.twitter.com/18YUHYmqQa
— Jason Lemon (@JasonLemon) May 30, 2020
In Brooklyn, an officer threw open his car door into a protester as the officer sped past.
Police car just drove by demonstrators on Classon Ave in Brooklyn — some of whom had been throwing cement — and opened passenger side door into a protester. pic.twitter.com/vd8Lq60TXC
— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) May 30, 2020
Scenes from Brooklyn today.
The police aren’t stopping violence.
THEY ARE CAUSING THE VIOLENCE. pic.twitter.com/uNCOBKgrbG
— Ryan Knight 🌹 (@ProudSocialist) May 30, 2020
In Louisville, Ky., police shot NBC reporter Kaitlin Rust with pepper balls.
This just happened on live tv. Wow, what a douche bag. pic.twitter.com/dQKheEcCvb
— Christopher Bishop (@ChrisBishopL1C4) May 30, 2020
CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested live on the air early Friday.
A horse-mounted Houston, Texas officer trampled a peaceful protester.
— vik (@vikthewild) May 30, 2020
In Minneapolis, police operated in tandem with the Minnesota National Guard to fire paint canisters at people standing on their porch.
Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling “light em up” #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/bW48imyt55
— Tanya Kerssen (@tkerssen) May 31, 2020
And, in Atlanta, Ga.:
While it is true most police officers are decent, honest, moral people dedicated to upholding the law and keeping peace, it is also true that some of those laws and practices they are upholding are racist and reactionary.
We will never see an end to violence as long as we continue meeting violence with brutality.
We will never see an end to police brutality until we address the systemic inequalities permeating a law enforcement system still operating as if it is enforcing slavery.
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”