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Police attacks against journalists across the U.S. since May 28 (niemanlab.org)
1125 points by laurex 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 767 comments



Disclaimer: I am a bleeding heart liberal and this may filter my observations.

I have been to a few rallies/vigils/marches lately and all incidences of violence that I have witnessed either in person or through media has been instigated by the police. As far as I know,every documented case where a formerly peaceful crowd turns into chaos has been started with police shooting pepperspray, teargas, or whatever into the crowd.

I find it really hard to not come to the conclusion that the police is desperately trying to set a narrative to justify a history of violence by escalating more violence, but please, someone, restore my faith.


It’s the same here in Seattle as it was while I was in Berkeley during Ferguson.

People protest peacefully, and police shoot tear gas into the crowd and attack whomever they can get their hands on.

I’ll admit, the outright brutality I saw in-person in Oakland was worse than what I’ve seen here in the recent days.

In Oakland, the police would purposely corral protestors into groups and literally beat the shit out of them. I saw this in-person multiple times. In Seattle, I haven’t seen that sort of corral behavior. However, police do shoot tear gas completely unprovoked and fire rubber bullets and mace without concern.

In both places, no looting was occurring at the main scene of the protests. In both cases, numerous videos show police breaking windows themselves.

In any case, it’s all the same: in a country that parades its freedom, people of color can’t protest without the president calling for them to be roughed up, and without the police willingly complying.


In a small suburb of San Diego the protest stopped traffic. Police forced the protesters off and then riots started and two banks were burnt down.

Two weeks ago a San Diego police deputy was released from jail after serving only six months after sexually assaulting (why forced oral sex is not rape I’m not sure) 16 women that had called the police for help. He does not have to register as a sexual offender.

Protesting is legal and a protest without a disturbance is not a protest, so arresting people causing a disturbance while shutting down non-violent disturbances is disappointing.


> (why forced oral sex is not rape I’m not sure)

The justice dept definition as updated in 2012 would include this. I don’t know how that plays out in state law, but what I’ve read points to that being the definition for state charges too. Doesn’t help when it’s not enforced, which is clearly the case here since the officer didn’t have to register as a sex offender either.

https://www.justice.gov/archives/opa/blog/updated-definition...


Stopping traffic risks the lives of people in ambulances so it’s pretty hard to condone that. Make noise, block access to some businesses, etc, but don’t block streets and cause traffic jams that could kill people FFS.


I have never in my life seen an ambulance be stopped by a protest, nor have ever heard of such an incident ever occuring.


Not a protest, but this exact thing occurred during the Fort Lee Lane closure scandal, when people intentionally created road closures in New Jersey. This was national news for awhile [0]

Also, a lack of media coverage for a thing doesn't mean it doesn't happen, nor does rampant media coverage mean a thing is common. Remember the summer of the shark? [1]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lee_lane_closure_scandal [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_of_the_Shark


It’s a lot harder for cars stuck on a bridge to move out of the way than it is for a crowd of people though, right?


If there's an ambulance stuck, it might be stuck behind a bunch of cars that can't move.


There are a lot of people out there who have important things that have to do with their health. Just because someone is not in an ambulance doesn't mean they don't have somewhere important to be. Not everyone with a medical condition rides in an ambulance.


But the vast majority of medical conditions where routing around a protest or road closure would cause serious harm to an individual are probably in ambulances.


Not really sure what your point is regarding 'vast majority'. How many people's lives are acceptable to endanger?

Just today, an interstate was shut down unexpectedly because of protesters. What about everyone who was trapped on that highway and could not move, let alone reroute?


The same amount that is endangered for a parade, a presidential motorcade, or road construction.


That is a terrible analogy. The key difference is that parades, motorcades, and road construction are planned events. Protesters who unexpectedly stop traffic do not give people opportunity to plan.

side comment: Loving the downvotes for a legitimate point. When did hacker news turn into reddit?


If you need to get to a hospital they all slow you down, doesn't matter how planned the event is.


detours


So just roll the dice that you’re not going to hurt anyone by blocking traffic? Who’s responsible if something does go wrong? That’s going to really help the cause.


There are a million reasons that traffic gets blocked such as parades, funerals, road construction, and traffic accidents.

And I didn't hear anyone make the argument any of those things should be banned to prevent the potential loss of life from someone trying to get to a hospital while not in an ambulance.

It really seems like an isolated demand for safety.


Terrible analogies. Those are mostly planned things which give people opportunity to plan for.


Does it matter if it's planned? If you have a medical condition and you need to get to a hospital it doesn't matter whether you had a week's notice or a days notice because the need to get to a hospital is unplanned.


Yes it matters that it's planned. There are permits, detours, announcements and emergency response planning for all of the above. Here's the process for getting a parade permit in NYC

- https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/services/law-enforcement/perm....


Another assumption that is just completely untrue. Some people have important yet routine things that are crucial to their health.

And planning does matter, because when events are planned, proper detours can be set up with signage.


So to help your cause, make sure to never block traffic. Is that a fair understanding of your position?


No.

It's that blocking traffic is a material, aggressive escalation of a protest that could have very negative ramifications to the cause. Not only does it really really piss people off, it puts human bodies in direct conflict with vehicles and could potentially block travel to someone that needs urgent medical attention.

If that's your jam then go for it. For my part, if i am in a vehicle with family and we are in a traffic jam due to a protest, i'm going to be in an agitated state...not because of the delay but because of the inability to escape. I'll wait it out, but if people start attacking my car and breaking windows, i'm hitting the gas till i see daylight. That innate sense of how i would respond and is why i think people should approach blocking traffic with caution.


The way you are firing yourself up to commit homicide over a hypothetical situation is scary. Please seek help.


jascii says>"The way you are firing yourself up to commit homicide over a hypothetical situation..."<

He's isn't "firing [himself] up.." as you say, he's thinking out what could possibly happen and considering what his options are.

If you wait until you're in such a situation (people are breaking into your car and threatening to harm the occupants) you simply don't have sufficient time to think out those options - you must think and prepare ahead of time. For those who live in places where riots or firefight break out regularly, this is the proper and usual way to prepare.

FWIW in most of the USA it isn't homicide if you kill an attacker(s), provided you are defending life or limb of yourself, others and/or your property.


I am well aware of the benefits of visualisation which is why this is so disturbing. Driving a car into a crowd is not self-defense, it is mass homicide and mentally training yourself to make that a "valid option" can be extremely dangerous.


jcims clearly stated>"I'll wait it out, but if people start attacking my car and breaking windows, i'm hitting the gas till i see daylight."<

jcims didn't say that he would be "Driving a car into a crowd..." as you state.

Clearly, if rioters begin beating a car and breaking windows the driver has the option of surviving by driving to preserve life, limb and property.

jascii says>"mentally training yourself to make that a "valid option" can be extremely dangerous."<

Have you ever been surrounded by a mob or mobs while driving a vehicle? We're discussing it here, so you've now at least considered (and possibly once experienced) such a situation: otherwise how could you claim that such an option can be, as you state, "extremely dangerous"?

Tell us your valuable experiences, please.

BTW there's plenty on this topic previously on the innertubes:

https://urbansurvivalsite.com/caught-riot-driving/

https://www.quora.com/What-are-my-legal-options-if-my-car-is...


I have worked as a UN human rights observer in several countries and have in that capacity been in vehicles in angry crowds. Standard operating procedure has always been to not engage and wait it out, and this has always worked well for me. Vehicular manslaughter is not a viable option: eventually your vehicle will be stopped and you'll have an even more enraged croud to deal with.


I've given up lol. Strawmen make good tinder...i feel like i'm being trolled.


I'm sorry if I made you feel like you were being trolled, that was certainly not my intention. I got triggered by the phrase: "i'm hitting the gas till i see daylight" which seemed indiscriminate and excessive to me.


FWIW You're not being trolled by me. Good initial post - glad you brought the topic to the fore.


You're glossing over the details of my post for the benefit of your position.


We'd still have communism here if people were so obedient and concerned about blocking traffic that millions would not go into the streets for protests in 1989.


Look people can build killdozers and flatten police buildings for all i care. The point is that blocking traffic is an escalation that could literally cost lives, either by denying travel in an emergency or by putting cars and human bodies in conflict.


We should really have laws against commuting, commuters block traffic way more frequently than protests do..

Work is an escalation that could literally cost lives..


You're just being obtuse now. It's a shame you don't value ordinary people's lives. It's a very privileged position to be in.


The simple fact is that no people have been killed due to a protest blocking the road. People have been killed by police violence.

Theoretical grandstanding over an unlikely hypothetical scenario to condemn protesters is being obtuse.


Oh really, how do you know this? Given the scale of protests over time, I bet it is likely someone has. And if someone hasn't already, someone eventually will. Saying something has never happened so therefore it won't happen is ridiculous.

This is not theoretical grandstanding, this is recognizing a potential threat.


You don't think It'd be all over "Fox News" if it did?


Sure, if it was perfectly knowable it would be. Fox news would be numero uno--no doubt. But things like this are not necessarily known. It can be a complicated thing to piece together. What IS known is that at a large scale there is a -calculable- probability that someone who needs help could get caught up, or someone like a surgeon who needs to give help could get caught up. Again, like I said earlier, if it hasn't happened then it will. I'm willing to bet it has happened (though whether it has or has not yet is pointless debate given that it will with a statistical certainty).

That's a very lazy assessment of this situation with so many logical fallacies, while also demonstrating a callous disregard for other people.


yeah like the pregnant lady who police shot tear gas into their car twice, even after the husband shouted STOP STOP my wife is pregnant! https://twitter.com/i/status/1267176238960922624


Not an ambulance, but the fire department was (allegedly) blocked from reaching an occupied burning building in Richmond (VA) yesterday: https://youtu.be/AEncQKV8k_0?t=205



The armed right-wing lockdown protestors blocked an ambulance. And a right-wing governor threw a tantrum that blocked ambulances.


Not sure why you're being downvoted. There is documented evidence of this:

> "To see this - traffic blocking the main intersection of a level 1 trauma centre, blocking the entrance and exit to our hospital. Blocking patients from receiving care that they need, makes me angry. It hurts. It hurts a lot," said one healthcare worker on Facebook.

> WLNS reports another posting: "You are currently blocking ambulances, physicians and caregivers from making it to work to care for the sick and relieve the exhausted workers.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politic...

Quotes a local news story: https://www.wlns.com/news/health/coronavirus/capitol-protest...


That first story is repeating a (false) rumor. Even the second story you posted directly contradicts it.

> Sparrow spokesperson John Foren said there are no access problems and ambulances can “get in and out. There’s no problem.”

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/0...


You're correct, I apologize.


When a Trump rally was protested back around 2016 in Phoenix, an ambulance was blocked.


> Stopping traffic risks the lives of people in ambulances so it’s pretty hard to condone that.

Social media is clogged with live footage from the protests. Can you find a single video of an ambulance being stopped by protests?

The irony of your comment is that the likelihood of an ambulance being close to a protest is linked to the extreme violence that the police is using to attack and repress protests against police violence.


> Can you find a single video of an ambulance being stopped by protests?

Why would anyone make a video of stopped traffic?


> Why would anyone make a video of stopped traffic?

Because people like you are hell bent on smearing the protests, resorting even to come up with made-up accusations like ambulances stuck in traffic, and any evidence would provide some support to those claims.

But apparently even that is hard to come by. So here we are, stuck with fabrications and imaginary "what if" scenarios.


If there was a stopped ambulance with its siren on, people would find that very interesting and record it. This isn't some boring traffic jam, it's very political.

Anyways, if you're trapped in traffic and not moving, there's not much else for you to do besides get out your phone and take some video.


Protests have been regularly shown to let emergency vehicles through, I saw videos of this yesterday.


Except for the "Open States Up" protests that occurred that had hospital personal begging the protestors to let the emergency vehicles through. But that's a different type of crowd.


This is a commonly repeated rumor about the Michigan lockdown protests, but its absolutely not true[1].

"Despite some "confusion," Lansing police had no complaints about any ambulance being locked in traffic during an emergency, said Robert Merritt, a spokesman for the Lansing Police Department. When ambulances on non-emergency runs were in traffic, "rally participants slowly cleared a path," he said."

[1] https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/0...


I don't remember hearing anything about police dispersing those crowds with tear gas. I wonder why.


I thought the right to bear arms was useless for defending against tyranny when the government has nukes and apache attack helicopters.


So maybe all the protesters against police violence should arm themselves. But considering how eagerly US police uses "I thought they had a gun" as a reason to shoot someone, I fear it would turn into a massacre.

People have done tests with white people and black people open carrying in exactly the same way. Black open carriers got a very different police response.


Do you think this might have something to do with it? https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-16/nations-bigg...


Of course it does. The police are Trump’s brownshirts, whether he knows what’s going on or not.

Edit: I mean, come on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eVPKpBKGCE


Firefly fans? Or do you mean brownshirts?


Corrected, thank you, I apparently had that embedded in my brain from 15 years ago.


I'm gunna go ahead and assume it was due to the the lack of violence and looting.


I'm gunna go ahead and assume it was due to them being conservative white guys with guns.


Turns out guns are important for protecting yourself against government overreach and abuse. Who knew?


Judging by how black people _thought_ to have guns are treated, I’d say white skin is better at protecting you.


I would say that is correct.

(Fascinating trivia: California allowed open carry until the Mulford Act in 1967 restricted it -- directly in response to the Black Panthers practicing it. The Act was signed into law by Ronald Reagan, with the explicit support of the National Rifle Association.)


Fun fact, the reason why california banned open carry was to prevent the black neighborhoods in Oakland from policing themselves as armed citizens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act


Guns work very well when you're white. Not so well when you're black.


Usually "I saw videos of this" isn't a good argument, though I do agree. I've yet to see any proof of protests causing an emergency vehicle to arrive too late, while there are numerous counterexamples. The most memorable to me was the video of a street absolutely packed in France where they made room for the ambulance to drive through.


> it’s pretty hard to condone that

You don't have to condone it. The question is whether it's appropriate to escalate to violence to stop it. And it clearly isn't, even from the very narrow perspective of the police. The phone video shot two days ago energized the huge protests yesterday, who ended up getting gassed out of a church in DC so the president could hold up a bible, which is driving literally millions more people into the streets.

Let them do their thing, and everyone will get bored. Yes, it's a dick move to block an intersection. But we don't tear gas routine assholes, right?


>Let them do their thing, and everyone will get bored. Yes, it's a dick move to block an intersection. But we don't tear gas routine assholes, right?

Never thought of it this way before, but this train of thought strongly resonates with me and makes sense. Thanks for posting it.


De-escalation Keeps Protesters And Police Safer. Departments Respond With Force Anyway.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/de-escalation-keeps-pro...


"What about" is not a helpful question here. Stay focused on the main issues.


This is a pretty short-sighted argument, isn't it? Surely the long-term harm from systemic issues people protest against (namely, police brutality) will claim many more lives than a few weeks of blocked street intersections downtown.


Your of course assuming that ambulance services don't track the protests and route around them as much as possible.


There is absolutely no need for emergency services to track pop-up protests, the very notion is absurd.

We don't have the right to block traffic to promote our political opinions.

When protestors block traffic, if the city decides they have to go, and they won't - in those situations, it's the protesters who are 'instigating', not the police.

NRA 2cnd amendment protestors, pro/anti-abortion protestors, anti-capitalist - whatever we want it doesn't matter. If the protest violates the local or regional ordinance, and the city asks protesters to move (and they do in many cases allow the protesters to stay) - they have to move, if they don't move, it's not the police's fault that they are literally required by us, the community, to move people.

Edit: I would like to invite anyone to define exactly under what conditions people think they have the right to stop traffic at major intersections for hours on end, other than of course signalling to the city beforehand.


Protests are inconvenient. But if you can amass enough people day after day to block major intersections with crowds of people, then the correct thing to do is to block major intersections with crowds of people day after day.

If people don't want their intersections blocked by crows of people day after day, then they should consider the extent to which their interests are compatible with the interests of the protesters, and if necessary and reasonable, consider joining the protesters to help them achieve their goal sooner. If seventy percent of the US population were protesting, the protests wouldn't last that long - unlike in Hong Kong.


Being a large enough crowd to block an intersection does not mean your views are valid enough to be supported by everyone else. Would you really advocate joining KKK protests just because they were large?


White supremacists are actively trying to fly under the radar in open-carry protests right now.[1] There’s a lot of weird noise in that area online and off. So just because white supremacists and their sympathizers get to protest, that doesn’t mean other people get to protest? Sounds like separate but equal to me.[2] Not for me or mine.

This was your hypothetical, but it’s actually reality. Protest is protest. It’s for the whole society to decide what are valid forms of it, at every level.

[1] https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2020/05/27/the-boogaloo-move...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_but_equal


" It’s for the whole society to decide what are valid forms of it, at every level."

That's just lawlessness.

There's not way to make up the rules as we go along, using the 'winds of the day' and what's happening on the news to determine what's a legit protest and what is not.

We do decide collectively what's what by using laws and policies. We make those, we make them clear, and then we apply them.

It seems as though you can't block traffic at a busy intersection 'because' - and so whatever the protest is today, it's not right.

We can't make up as we go along, that's chaos.

People can protest in parks, in front of city hall etc. - that works, it's peaceful and within civil framework.


As I said before, that is not backed up by Supreme Court precedent. You need to cite your claims as to constitutionally-protected protests being synonymous with lawlessness. As I read the Constitution, any act determined to be protest by the courts is legal until found otherwise. Police decisions about lawlessness are only valid in a law-enforcement context, and such police determinations are only provisional, and are not exclusively binding; they can be superseded by higher authorities in the executive branch, and challenged by the public, legislature, and judiciary, on legal grounds as well as humanitarian grounds.

You haven’t responded to my legal arguments and justifications. You are moving the goalposts and doubling down. Please keep on point or I will not have any substantial points to respond to.


> I would like to invite anyone to define exactly under what conditions people think they have the right to stop traffic at major intersections for hours on end, other than of course signalling to the city beforehand.

When peaceful protests have failed to affect change and police brutality (especially for POC) is continuing unabated.


I'll respond to this comment here on behalf of all of the responses to my point:

None of you have provided any reasonably objective definition of what could constitute an otherwise illegal, and sometimes violent protest.

These responses sound a lot like right-wing NRA 2cnd Amendment people barricading in buildings with guns and police surrounding them kind of rhetoric.

All three of the responses (at the time of my response) purport arbitrary definitions of self-determined, extra-judicial action - essentially vigilantism.

Literally, people inventing some cause and then taking over public property, sometimes causing damage, or worse.

If you accept your own definitions of 'legitimate cause' - I'm afraid you're really not going to like what a lot of other Americans would like to protest, just as violently.

If people are going to protest, especially when things can get violent, they're going to have to do so in a way that's not entirely disruptive -> like gather in a park, otherwise, it's just not going to work out.

We don't get to invent the law, no matter how passionate we are about something.

There are just a ton of better ways to create change that are totally within civil and legal framework, and there are many good examples to follow. And especially the rioting is probably counter-productive in almost every sense of the terms.


Whoa there, extremely confident used-to-being-right guy. You're digging in. I'm sure you feel threatened at the possibility you might be wrong, but take a breath, please.

By your definition, black people using or destroying a whites-only bathroom as a form of protest would be off limits. I'd recommend some time away from the keyboard and do some reading about protest and the cultural history of same. As a very basic starting point, you might consider reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest in its entirety.


I'm sure the protesters will check with you next time about whats reasonable before they dare to object.


I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the American Revolution.


A mark of any free democratic society is for the right of the public to engage in peaceful protest and for the form of that peaceful protest to be not be constrained by external parties.

For example it is not up to the government to define what constitutes an acceptable peaceful protest.

When you get to the point where the government defines what is and what is not an acceptable protest then you no longer have a free democracy society.


Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


Your priorities are reversed. Black lives being taken by police aggression are not less important than free flowing traffic. Even more so when the former has been the status quo since before the civil war.


Where I live you have to send the places and waypoints your protest will take before you start one so that emergency services can route around protest and have some units on standby in case things go wrong.


You can see in the HK protests the sea of people instantly parts to form a path for ambulances. American protesters just need to learn these advanced coordination tactics.


Blocking traffic might reduce auto accidents, saving lives. How many of those ambulances are responding to auto accidents that could have been prevented?


Race relations between Oakland's black residents and Oakland police have been fraught for decades (probably at least since the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland in the 60s). But that doesn't justify the violent actions you've described.

Unfortunately, some senior "dog whistle" politicians have labeled protesters "thugs" and "looters" and have called for "shooting" and "no quarter." These loose words are dangerous and may be unlawful: https://lawandcrime.com/george-floyd-death/republican-senato...

As a result of these statements, some armed enforcers including police, National Guard, and U.S. military may interpret these bellicose pronouncements as a declaration of war or a granting of letters of marque and reprisal against protesters and their property.

Good leadership would call for toning down the rhetoric but leadership appears to be in short supply. Gefickt, we are.


While I think Cotton is a jackass, I can’t help but notice how your first paragraph is about Oakland, California, and your second paragraph is about a guy who is a Senator in Kentucky.[1]

Oakland has had a Democratic mayor since 1977. California routinely has a super-majority of Democrats in the state legislature, and the last Republican Federal Senator from the state left office almost 30 years ago. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that the second paragraph after mentioning the “fraught” relationship between black residents and the Oakland PD should have something to do with those Democrats who have direct executive and legislative control over the city and state, who are directly in charge of hiring/firing police chiefs and operating the state level internal affairs bureaus, and who set police department budgets and make the laws. And maybe the (admittedly deplorable) coded language a Republican Senator thousands of miles away uses belongs many paragraphs below that.

[1] Interesting fact. Oakland and Louisville are ranked similarly (188 versus 194) on Urban Institute’s “economic inclusiveness” index: https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/97981/...


Oakland had had quite a bit of success in reducing police shootings as well which is sad.


Not to take too much away from your point, but Cotton is the junior Senator from Arkansas


re Cotton: Like many other markets, politics is now one large national market.


> Oakland PD should have something to do with those Democrats who have direct executive and legislative control over the city and state...

I agree. But that's not the whole story; perhaps not even the main story here. "Police act like laws don't apply to them because of Qualified Immunity": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23373329

Thanks to HN commenter @yyyk ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23382006 ), we learn that in 1967, the Supreme Court held that:

- "Few doctrines were more solidly established at common law than the immunity of judges from liability for damages for acts committed within their judicial jurisdiction... "

- "This immunity applies even when the judge is accused of acting maliciously and corruptly... " and - "... the immunity of legislators for acts within the legislative role was not abolished. The immunity of judges for acts within the judicial role is equally well established... "

- "The common law has never granted police officers an absolute and unqualified immunity" but "... a police officer is not charged with predicting the future course of constitutional law... " and "the defense of good faith and probable cause... available to the officers in the common-law action for false arrest and imprisonment, is also available to them in the action under § 1983 [Civil action for deprivation of rights]."

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pierson_v._Ray/Opinion_of_the...

After which followed a cascade of case law that granted police officers, and others similarly anointed, a "qualified immunity" to trials (including pre-trial discovery): https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/qualified_immunity

Oakland lies within the ambit of the U.S. Supreme Court so, as long as qualified immunity remains the law of the land, local officials have limited ability to change a long-standing police culture of impunity.

> coded language a Republican Senator thousands of miles away uses belongs many paragraphs below that.

I disagree. Thanks to telecommunications, social media, and other new-fangled technologies, powerful and influential persons can cause action at a distance of thousands of miles. "Thousands of miles away" is meaningless in instances in which powerful persons can transmit or impose effects tens of thousands of miles away.

Edit: formatting


"have labeled protesters "thugs" and "looters" "

Referring to looters as 'looters' is not problematic.

Calling for shootings, using code-words like 'thugs' and referring to peaceful protesters as 'looters' is a problem - but let's not lose context here: there are riots and rioters are bad news.

I think in these ugly times it's even more important to be cool and clear about things.


And the present has said "Good people on both sides" in reference to the current protests, right?


In any given group, you can’t know with certainty whether past or future looters are present; looting is an action and not a quality. It is subjective.

Is removing anti-riot barricades ‘looting’ if protesters remove them from the street and out of the control of authorities in order to exercise their right to protest?

Branding someone a rioter empowers the utterer and subjugates the one deemed rioting in your framing. You seem to think it is justified to use violence against someone because of how you perceive their actions, even if they don’t hurt people, only property. There is a subtle but distinct difference. Using force to defend yourself and others has a long precedent and is largely uncontroversial in a public context such as this. However, a citizen in public generally can’t engage someone who is running away from them as they are not in imminent danger. Unless you think they are immediately returning with a weapon, you have to let them go once they get away or chase them and perform a citizen’s arrest. Shooting a fleeing person is frowned upon by the courts. Only police have that authority.

Why then are citizens taking it upon themselves to prevent looting and rioting? Defending businesses and private property from the inside and the entryway is one thing. Chasing fleeing ‘looters’ is a situation for disaster. Besides mistaken identity, which is already causing defenders and protesters who fought looters to be detained by police while actual looters escape, there are problems with armed individuals running into crowds of undifferentiable groups of protesters, looters, and rioters. How will the defenders know when to stop beating people up? How will they know if the protester defending the person next to them from collateral damage isn’t another looter? They will see what they want to see in the situation, on both sides.

Violence is not the way. I just don’t see how property damage is a mortal harm that justifies what I’m seeing. It may not be justified to damage the property, but as an individual or small group of defenders, there is no proportionality of response that makes sense against a large group of people. To start the fight is to lose on all sides. The protest will end when it ends. Lives shouldn’t end through protest, or through its consequences. One was enough to start this one. There’s a reason people do it, even if it may have knock-on effects. That’s the point. To shutdown protest because of its intended and unintended consequences is to make a means test for our constitutional rights. It’s not tolerated well in the streets or in the courtroom.

The defenders are unknowingly or knowingly participating in a counter-protest movement against the current legitimate George Floyd protests. It is being promoted through dog whistles by the right wing. It’s actually really obvious that authoritarians aren’t wasting this crisis. They start as many fires as they put out. I’m including rioters in that last part.


>>>>>>>>>> "looting is an action and not a quality." - no, it's absolutely a crime, and a 'quality' of an individual to the extent that we definitely consider it very immoral, and we have laws against it. It's not 'protesting' in any sense of the term.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Branding someone a rioter empowers the utterer and subjugates the one deemed rioting in your framing" - a 'riot' is not a 'framing' - it's for the most part an objective fact. People trying to protest are not rioters, people smashing stores are rioters.

No doubt the press and various people will try to 'frame' in one direction or the other, but there's no escaping reality.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Chasing fleeing ‘looters’ is a situation for disaster" of course it is, it's crazy irrational, and I hope that would be illegal everywhere, though I'm not sure. I also would hope that nobody would frame that as 'defending one's property' because it's not.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "I just don’t see how property damage is a mortal harm that justifies what I’m seeing."

Now this is a really meaty question. I agree with you, and I think most people would agree - however - in these cases the police are not using mortal aggression. There are literally riots and looting all over the country, and the police are using pepper spray, shields etc. - there were lethal responses where shots were fired (and FYI police and civilians have died amidst the riots). Also - things like rubber bullets can kill, but that's due to a probabilistic problem, not any kind of intention. Maybe the police should not use those things, but it's more of a very specific question about safety.

>>>>>>>>> "The defenders are unknowingly or knowingly participating in a counter-protest movement against the current legitimate George Floyd protests. "

There are a few things to unpack here:

'The defenders' if you mean police, then they are very lawfully authorized by you and I, the community, to move the rioters and looters out of the area, arrest them etc.. We should not for a second confuse them with some crazy folks with guns or weapons attacking protestors, that's clearly immoral and illegal. And we should also not confuse 'protesters' with 'rioters'.

As far as 'right-wing narrative' - although that is true, if anyone can't see that that there is a massive and systematic 'social narrative' (left wing?) being driven by millions of participants, even those who should be neutral, is living in a bubble.

Most importantly - there is rioting and looting. This is not being done by the police, or by some secret Russians, this is being done by people within the protest movement and it's clearly wrong. It's definitely happening and it's absolutely reasonable to point that out, and to do so is not to necessarily support some kind of narrative.

In fact, to not characterize rioters and looters as such, would be an offense against the truth, just as characterizing protesters standing on a corner with signs as 'rioters' would be as well.

Because there are a lot of people driving narratives of some kind or another (pretty much every political force and most in the press), doesn't mean we're entitled to just 'go with it', we have a responsibility to try to stay 'clear-eyed', perhaps more than ever.


Hmm, I'm sorry, but we have to talk.

1. Rubber bullets kill when they are used in the exact opposite way they were intended. They are not meant to be fired at people's heads. If used, they should be fired at the legs to incapacitate. This is covered in training. I very much doubt it's an accident that they wind up hitting someone in the temple.

2. I did not explicitly authorize escalation between my city police and protestors. If you want to know what works when it comes to preventing riots and looting, read: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/de-escalation-keeps-pro... I watched in my city as protestors were turned into rioters because the police reaction to the middle finger and some naughty language was riot gear and tear gas.

3. You're very confused. You explicitly say we should not confuse protestors with rioters, and then go on to say that rioting and looting is being done by people "within the protest movement". You can't have it both ways. What you don't seem to understand is that it can simultaneously be the case that there are people who are committing "crimes" to have their voices heard, and people who are committing crimes because it's an opportune time to commit them. What you fail to recognize, is that we may disagree about what a crime even is societally. And to wit, that is exactly what we're disagreeing about right now. By strict legal definition, looting is a crime. However, the motivation for the crime colors it. If someone was starving and stole a loaf of bread it would be a crime, but the motivations for that crime color it. I would not, for instance, tear gas a starving person for stealing a loaf of bread.

-- In the end, your version of "clear-eyed" is code for "whatever I deem to be the valid laws of this society", not necessarily what is truly just.


Good point about context. Are these looters stealing bread for survival? I see them looting jewelers and high end retailers, like Gucci then torching the place. What is the motive?

If you believe these looters are doing so for justice, then know that the people who killed Floyd will be tried for their crimes and that you can not cast all law enforcement officers with the same stone. The people that pinned down Floyd all should be punished, but if you believe all of america’s officers are the same, isn’t that like condemning all blacks when one commits murder? However, if you believe that there is systematic racism in law enforcement, wouldn’t it be healthier to petition for change peacefully and specifically instead of fucking up the city because someone was murdered?

People are more important than property, I‘m sure you‘ll say, so then I can rob you and torch your home? Of course not. If these recent flashes of theft and vandalism can be justified, please enlighten me.

Also, a new bill is being introduced to end Qualified Immunity. What are the reasons for protest at the moment?


Martin Luther King Jr. on riots, September 1967

"Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.

A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society."


Thanks for sharing that quote. It helps me understand your view a little bit more. Of course it’s well known that blacks experience a disproportionally higher degree of discrimination, but can we stop shifting blame for looting and vandalism over to another entity? Even if you want to blame the government, you would be hard pressed to find a law that oppresses anyone by race. Racist laws? No. Classicist laws? Yes.


It's not about shifting blame, it's about understanding that complaining about looting is missing the forest for the trees.

Protests and looting are a symptom of much deeper ills.

Also,

> you would be hard pressed to find a law that oppresses anyone by race. Racist laws? No. Classicist laws? Yes.

With all due respect, this position exposes a lack of understanding of US history, and I'm not just talking about slavery or the civil rights act.

Some things to Google if you want to open that Pandora's jar:

- Redlining

- Poll taxes

- Nixon starting "War on Drugs" to target black communities

- Federal exclusion of black families from New Deal homebuying programs

Many of the laws and policies that have targeted black people specifically are also classist through a certain lens, but when you look closer it's usually targeting poor people because poor Americans are disproportionately black.


> ...isn’t that like condemning all blacks when one commits murder?

I believe that's the case already, Ergo, racism.

If peaceful placards and singing kumbaya really did work effectively , for black people in particular all over the world, we'd have a very different discussion. Police brutality is an extension of the governments very existence - "legitimate" violence - which is turned up to war-time levels when minorities are concerned. All this is smoke an mirrors to the contempt of a man being killed by law enforcement officer in a way that would make Ted Bundy blush.

It seems whenever black people protest, the narrative seems to be of barbarians storming the city gates. An "over-reaction" if you will. Is it? The message of the protest is clear, if a tree falls - the ground will shake. Is that unreasonable?


Singing Kumbaya would fix nothing, just like looting fixes nothing - don’t strawman me. I’ve yet to see any justification for the theft and vandalism. If you believe police brutality is a systemic problem in the government, might I suggest you fix the problem in that arena instead of on the streets? If you feel compelled to protest, maybe do it in a manner that actually communicates your demands. The person who killed Floyd will be dealt with in court, and Qualified Immunity is being repealed. What are you insisting that we protest?


Looting proves that protest is amorphous, not black and white, and protest will autonomously raise the stakes when the risks associated with mass public social action is considered low, or the frequency between social progress payouts is too high, or the demand for social progress reaches a tipping point.


You should state this in a simpler way. As it reads, it sounds like absolute trash, but I get what you're trying to say.


I have seen your comments in this thread and trust you to reword it in a less convoluted way if you choose. I agree that my syntactic construction was rather tortured.

My main point is protest is what protest does: force the issue. The methods of protest are varied and of disproportionate impact to society. If protest is to succeed, social impact must be calibrated to the received response to protester demands. If no response or negative response is received, increase social impact to belligerent parties and the general public, if necessary. Protest without corresponding social impact is ineffectual at forcing the issue but can be effective in virtue-signaling, which can create a virtuous loop of increasing awareness and support, and increasing numbers of protesters.


I live in an affluent community. Many of my neighbors are police officers. When I read that an officer in the city had been shot, I worried for the people I know. I don't condone violent protests.

But I feel compelled to object to your seeming attitude that things would work themselves out without the need to protest.

I strongly believe that two wrongs don't make a right. But one wrong observed in silence is tragic.

You question the reason for protest when there is some bill being introduced. I posit that the bill would not exist without the protests. I also remind you that a horrible, terrible war was fought to end inequality over 150 years ago. I remind you that the civil rights movement was more than 50 years ago. Why protest when those already solved all the problems?

We must always be willing to step up against injustice. It is not a one and done proposition.

This in no way excuses people who are just taking the opportunity to steal a TV. Or who mistakenly channel their emotions by destroying or injuring.


By defenders, I mean those not associated with law enforcement, who defended people or property from harm or damage during protests. You seem to really believe in capital T truth as something that can be known by you and by others including police in a large protest, or riot, or looting, or all of the above. I don’t share this belief in Truth being knowable in the field. That’s why police don’t have unlimited latitude to identify criminals and respond to suspected criminal acts in the field. They must act within policing standards set by the community in stated and unstated ways. Otherwise, they may not have a job if the service they provide is made redundant through community involvement in legislatively changing police mandates, authority, and priorities.

But more to my point, police are not judges, lawyers, or most important, juries. They don’t decide what is just. They just deliver those suspected of lawbreaking to the judicial system, which determines guilt or innocence under the law. As far as the legal system is concerned, everyone has presumption of innocence. The way you are characterizing people as looters or rioters is to say that what they are doing is unlawful, but that’s just like your opinion, man. One person’s rioter is another person’s edgy protesting neighbor. It’s for the courts to decide which behavior is law-abiding. If they aren’t convicted, they were not found to be in violation of the law, yet. It’s strange for you to presume they would found guilty just because you disagree with their actions. Sounds authoritarian to me and not in step with our justice system or the times.


I understand the truth can't always be known in a situation - and I fully agree given ambiguity, he police don't have the right to use inappropriate force - however 'looters are looters' - there's no question about the illegality and inappropriateness of that, and we do know that looting is happening.

This looting causes a lot of personal damage, people are losing their life savings and livelihoods, and nobody seems to care.

I see a lot of rhetoric and populism trying to side-step the issue and it really needs to be clear - there's a very wide gap between 'protesting' and 'looting' and they are not 'shades of the same thing'.

Also, I'm not sure if it's legal or appropriate to even 'protest' out in the open, on highways or streets - I think these things need to move to controlled ares, like in front of city hall or in parks, but that's a slightly different matter.

I'm also not entirely condemning people 'caught up in a riot' as I understand these things happen in social waves, and people would be doing things they might not otherwise. It's not a big moral condemnation, it's an articulation of reality.

I'm actually sympathetic to the protesters overall, but I lose sympathy quickly when I see it out of hand. I also think we need to be sympathetic to the police, and accept that we, as citizens are giving them a nary impossible task - which is to use force to move people out of an area, and then somehow remain within perfect contraints at all times. Some of the police actions are beyond unreasonable and they should go to jail, but I'm not even sure that it's systematic. What can we expect by sending 5000 officers in to physically move aggressive, often violent people out of the way. Punches will fly in some cases. Batons, purposeful harm with weapons, irresponsible use of fire arms - this is too much obviously and has to be punished.

I'm really happy to show support for reforming police actions, but I'm not going to take sides in a 'civic street war'.

What's happening now is just shameful for almost every party.


It's shameful that you think that these protests aren't acceptable outcomes of police brutality. The protests are a direct result of the public not accepting the status quo anymore. The death of a person at the hands of the police started this fire. The police keep it going by aggressive unconstitutional protest containment actions. I don't agree with you at all, and I have laid out the legal and social basis why you are wrong to believe what you do. If I have failed to convince you, I'm sorry. I tried and will keep trying. If you choose not to agree with my interpretation, that's fine too.

Protest and looting are shades of the same idea. If you don't care about us taking up space in your streets, maybe you may care about being deprived of your corporate assets. Corporations aren't people. People are people. If harming corporations leads to an increase in human rights, that is a net gain for society. To question whether the cost is too high like you do shows you care more for property, capital, and the people who wield these asset classes, than you do for those who have cause to protest. Just because you don't share their cause célèbre does not invalidate it.

Reasonable people can disagree. It's impossible to be reasonable or disagree if you're killing someone or being killed. The police actions up to this point have been unreasonable, and so the response of the public is currently outside the scope of actions that can have a reasonableness standard applied to them. Protest is inherently justified by the Constitution. The response to police brutality and lack of internal reform proves the police think they are right to kill people and don't need to change. That's why the protests continue. To stop protesting now would be to negotiate with terrorists. The protests must continue as long and until the police come to the table with protesters and stakeholders, and they all negotiate a solution.


Here in Santa Monica the police ignored nearby looters to fire upon protestors. The two groups were largely unrelated and physically separated, making the police’s actions very hard to justify.


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Instead of dismissing it all as “bullshit” it would be more helpful to elaborate on what you deem to be inaccurate.

For example, in my limited opinion, “the police willingly complying” is an overstatement as our country does have many responsible law-abiding police officers who would not heed incitement from anyone including the president.


No, we really don't. The videos don't lie, trump does.


In all seriousness, what is incorrect about that statement? Take a look at all the video taken since Saturday, then compare it to, say, the protests against lockdowns just a few weeks ago. Surely you see the very notable difference?


> Surely you see the very notable difference?

Is it the open carry of long guns? Is that what peaceful protesters should use to de-escalate the situation? Makes perfect sense. Cops love guns! Just some cool doodz having a chill gun party, come have a beer and a doobie, officer. Show you mine if you'll show me yours?


I’ve changed my mind on this recently; I suspect that if the protestors today had been heavily armed and armored, the cops would not have attacked them.


Actually, it absolutely is the best deterrence.

Numerical advantage of firearms means the first person to shoot downright loses. Both sides will do everything they can to not be the aggressor.

When you have disparity in ability to apply force vs ability to weather the response, that's when the violence actually happens. Nobody comes looking for a fair fight. Therefore you never find them when the stakes areas high as they are.


That sounds better on a bumper sticker than when you think about it even slightly longer. The police have tons of guns, armored vehicles, and the backing of the largest military in the world. If you threaten them, do you really think they’re going to back down instead of getting bigger guns?


The big bad military isn't going to end up doing squat, because the moment they are employed, odds are unless there are a hell of a lot more people out there perfectly fine with watching what are largely peaceful protests get steamrolled. Furthermore, it'll be a tacit admission that the State's legitimacy is significantly compromised.

Many in the military are, contrary to popular belief, quite patriotic, and very concerned withthe integrity of the system. It is not a foregone conclusion a dearth of volunteers to put the boot to countrymen may manifest.

Furthermore, to the sibling poster's assertion that's a great way to ensure gun control laws get passed, when the State's legitimacy is already in question, further clenching of the iron fist (particularly from the American viewpoint I grew up with) will exactly not yield the quiet compliance one might imagine. In fact, it would result in quite the opposite given any active attempt at confiscation.there's also the problem of who you intend on having do said confiscation, and just how bulletproof they are, and where on the "persons I'll comply with" spectrum they'll fall on .

Also, again, once the guns go, all the other far more destructive, nigh-impossible to regulate means of destruction and mayhem creation get put on the table. You don'thonestly think that all that new anger will just go home and sulk while you have the government of the United States running around fielding the least hyperbolic stormtrooper initiatives on American soil, do you?

If you think things are bad and violent now. Get back to me when you start actually pulling the pages from the dictator's population subjugation handbook.

This entire endeavor is remarkable in that it is trivial for this turmoil to bedissipated bythepolice deescalating and being open to a a greater degree of civic oversight,and being held to a higher standard. Or so the protestor supporters seem to repeat. The refusal to make a meaningful gesture in that direction suggests to me that it what we're going through is a macro-event. Something that's been building for a long time, and isn't going to ground out without substantive structural change.

It's anyone's guess how this'll go; but I'm wagering the first time the military proper gets involved it may be a sign of the end days of the country I was brought up loving.

Then again, I've been wondering if that was the case since 2001... So... Yeah. Take it or leave it.


Well said internet stranger. I'm not American so I may miss some vital context but it really seems this protest has, at least execution, some parallels with the French yellow Vest Protest. The content of the protests could not be further apart but your observation, in the sense that this American protest is the resultant course of a long smoldering grievance, is apt. The situation is not helped by the American president being so cavalier about abusing the powers of the state. A dictator is like an angel compared to a democratically elected despot. Reminds me of a certain Indira and her son.

In some democratic countries and my own, the military is a respected, even hallowed institution. We never hear anything about them except the rare event some lose their lives in some UN mission or they have the rare parade in memorial events. No politician in his right mind would even utter, in the slightest, the deployment of the military for internal strife. Not even as a joke. So we trust our democracy as valid, imperfect, but in the best interests of the people.

But in the end, the American issue does strike one as strange. A people who believe themselves - self-proclaimed leaders of the free world - must surely ponder why they are at a junction such as this. The solution is simple as all hell and yet, here we are.


My view may be colored by living in occupied DC, where there are a lot of armored vehicles and heavily armed federal security forces, some of whom appear to be quite comfortable amping up the violence levels. Given their past actions, black people with guns would be a time-honored excuse to say they felt threatened.

I have a number of coworkers who are veterans and while they’re generally confident that the military would refuse to follow general orders to attack civilians, nobody wants to test what might happen in confusion if they’re deployed to backup the police. All you need is one mistake and a lot of people can get hurt before the confusion clears.


I think you nailed it.

It’s tough to say which state will use Trump’s magnanimous offer to deploy the military, but similar to the lockdown, I can imagine a cascade across state governors taking the offer, and even more hilariously - a partisan split of Republican governors taking it and Democratic ones not. Perfect to bait back the base that secretly seethes at the racial undertones of events like this. The collective sentiment will be invisible in pre-election polls, but Trump knows how to conduct the silent orchestra. It seems unimaginable, but beware the hidden vote.

We’ll have to wait and see, but the stage for this to turn into a mockery is mostly set. NYC is on day two of a mandatory curfew.


Historically, that's been a pretty effective means to get gun control laws passed.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act

https://historylink.org/File/20649


If you don’t see how inaccurate several parts of that statement are, I am afraid that it would likely not be a productive discussion for either of us.


I see we’ve already downgraded to “several parts” of the statement. But you’re right, if you refuse to actually articulate your objection then no, we cannot have a productive discussion.


"numerous videos show police breaking windows themselves"

I don't believe you.

The umbrella guy breaking the AutoZone window with a hammer has no connection to any police department. Someone made that up on social media and people shared it because that's what people do.

The only video I know of showing officers breaking a window is out of Seattle. It shows officers responding to a burglary in progress at a Target store. The officers had to chip away at the already broken glass windows so they could safely get in. (The burglars had broken the glass to get inside.) Once inside, the responding officers found and arrested the three burglars they had come for.



How much clearer can you get that the police are committing property destruction and using it to blame protesters? Like there is no justification for the police doing this outside of using to make their own narrative so that they can bust some heads at the next protest.


More people should see this!


"numerous videos show police breaking windows themselves"

I replied "I don't believe you."

You responded by showing one video. I'm still waiting.


He just had a nervous twitch.


That looks very suspicious, but if this were really a widespread technique by the police, I'm assuming there would be more than a single video taken.

I mean, we know the black bloc and similar groups engages in these tactics, they've been doing it since Seattle WTO 1999. I've seen it in person to protests I've been to (as a protester). It's very hard for me to believe that all of a sudden those people are no longer active in protests, and their place has been taken by (insert your politically-convenient group here).


> That looks very suspicious, but if this were really a widespread technique by the police

Giving your comment the benefit of the doubt, that does not address the fact that a while platoon of police officers witnessed a fellow police officer vandalize public property without any reason or justification, and they didn't even flinched or complained or even frowned upon that brand of unprovoked abuse.

That's pretty much one of the central points of the whole protest.


> they didn't even flinched or complained or even frowned upon that brand of unprovoked abuse

I have seen dozens if not over a hundred videos of the police acting inappropriately over the last few days. I have only seen a single video in which any of them were stopped or reprimanded by another cop and that one "good cop" was a woman of color. If this inappropriate behavior is done by such a small percentage of the police force and is frowned on by all the other good cops, why is there so little evidence of police policing themselves?


The video of George that started all this has 4 cops in it. The 3 cops that allowed him to kneel on georg's neck for 7 minutes are not being charged with anything at all. The one female cop even remarks that George should be moved to be on his side, then when she's ignored, doesn't bring it up again. Why should they police each other when nothing happens when they dont


I thought they were all males and it was the rookie that said it


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>Have you seen dozens or hundreds of videos of civilians acting inappropriately?

Yes. I have also seen countless videos in which civilians were reprimanded by other citizens for acting inappropriately. They are trying to police themselves. Why can't the police police themselves?

>If a “woman of color” was seen starting a fire, would you be comfortable saying things like “black women start fires”? I sure hope not. Even if you had dozens of examples, it would still be wrong to make such a statement.

I don't know what you are trying to insinuate with this comment. I was not making any blanket statements about anyone beyond the general group of "police".


I was not making any blanket statements about anyone beyond the general group of "police".

Yes, that was the point. Blanket statements don’t work in either case.


Joining the police is a choice. Being a woman of color is not a choice. Making a blanket statement about those two groups is therefore entirely different.

My blanket statement about police was also framed as a question. I said I have seen very little evidence I was wrong. If you think I am wrong, you could try providing an answer to that question rather than attacking the question itself.


Means of employment and racial characteristics are not the same thing. Only one is voluntary.


If it were me, and I had a first hand account of what he did and whether he had a justifiable reason, I would have it documented and escalated after returning to the office, hopefully anonymously, or at least confidentially.

I would also keep an eye on that officer to see if there were more violations.

I would not break formation and try to handcuff another officer in the moment, because it would be strategically unwise.


> If it were me

Right. Maybe that's why you aren't a police officer.

> I would not break formation and try to handcuff another officer in the moment

Maybe you should be a police officer.

> because it would be strategically unwise

Things need to change now.

When the police can demonstrate they are able to rein each other in, we can all go home and celebrate.


Way to not read the post. You’re perhaps being a little naive. There is more than one way to accomplish things, and your way is not the most effective way.


"This doesn't happen"

(shows a video of it happening)

"This isn't widespread"

So how many videos do you need to see? 2? 10? 15???


Would you find it acceptable to shoot some footage of a handful of looting/arsonist incidents and proclaiming “protesters are doing X”, just like we are complaining that “police” are doing X?

Or would you correct someone and say that isn’t happening, and when confronted with a video of someone somewhere doing a bad thing, inform them of the fact that a few cherry picked anecdotes do not represent the activity of the broader population?

You don’t have to answer.


No one disagrees that in any group only a small number of bad actors are causing this issue.

However, when a civilian acts inappropriately there are legal consequences. When a police office acts inappropriately there are few legal consequences and they are very-very-rarely enforced.

I'll ask the question differently,

"Is destruction of property what you expect from rioters?" Yes, 1% or less of rioters are going to be stupid. "Should they be reprimanded?" Sadly yes, and we have specialized government entities that can utilize appropriate-force to reprimand them.

"Is destruction of property what you expect from police?" No, not even from the 1% or less that want to be stupid. That is unacceptable, their job is to protect and serve. Even from each other. "Should they be reprimanded?" Yes! but we as civilians have no legal way to do this, and even the "good cops" have no good way to do this.

What are your answers to these questions lawnchair_larry?


Aha, but the analogy that you made with those questions has a critical error. The correct analogy would be questions that read:

Is destruction of property what you expect from civilians?

Yes, sadly, 1% or less[1] of civilians are are going to be stupid and riot instead. And that is unacceptable.

Should they be reprimanded?

Absolutely. And we have specialized government entities that can utilize appropriate-force to reprimand them.

Is unwarranted destruction of property what you expect from police?

Yes, sadly, 1% or less[1] of police are going to be stupid and abusive. That is unacceptable, their job is to protect and serve. Even from each other.

Should they be reprimanded?

Yes! but we as civilians have no legal way to do this, and even the "good cops" have no good way to do this.

[1] We do not have data for either of these figures, so 1% is being used as a placeholder, and is not meant literally. I suspect that the percentage of criminals in the general population is far bigger than the number of police who destroy property for no reason, but I admit that I have no data for that.


And should reprimanded citizens continue to be citizens afterwards?

Yes, in almost all but the most extreme of cases. (And the people who make that determination are called "judges" not "cops".)

Should reprimanded cops continue to be cops?

No, in all but the most trivial and excusable cases. (And the people who make that determination should also be called judges not cops.)

If you get given a badge and a gun, and job that demand people to people to respect your authority, you not only get held to a higher standard than those of us without, but you also put your livelihood at stake if you choose to behave in a "stupid or abusive" manner.

It's abundantly clear to people outside the US that the cop who killed George Floyd needs to be fired and prosecuted for murder, the three cops who stood there and let him do it need to be fired and prosecuted for accessory to murder, and those four cops chain of command also needs to be investigated for culpability and almost certainly fired if not prosecuted as well. It seems unbelievable that some US citizens think otherwise. I expect that from cop unions, who've proven themselves time and time again to be completely devoid of humanity or morals, but find it unthinkable that anyone else can't see it clearly as evil thuggery from people who society has to demand better from. All four need to never be in any position of authority again. At least one of them needs to be in jail for life.


From what I can tell your only change was to add the word “unwarranted” before destruction.

Could you please help us understand your position on “Should abusive officers be reprimanded?”

And if we agree they should be reprimanded, what are your thought on how we build that system?

The system where we the civilians who witness or are victims of the abuse and other “good cops” who witness the abuse, can get legal ways to highlight and reprimand those few abusive police officers[0]?

[0] such that the person/people accusing (with evidence) the abusive police without worrying other police officers will “hold it against” the accuser.


He seems happy to accept that 1% (as a placeholder) of cops are murderers, and there's nothing we can do about that.

(He claimed that in the context of property damage, which hides the actual implications of that carelessness, because it wasn't police property damage that triggered this current unrest...)

I _strongly_ disagree. A cop committing assault or murder, while on the job, is a thing society needs to take great care does not happen. It's abhorrent to me to take a "shit happens" attitude to cop killings.


Parent said property damage, not me. So your uncharitable assumptions about my intentions are way off on that point. If you want to reframe the issue from property damage to killing unarmed civilians, take it up with the parent. We were talking about the video of the cop randomly smashing windows.

Not surprisingly, your straw man is just as bad. Nobody said or implied anything remotely close to a “shit happens” attitude. Did you just not read the next sentence or something?


You said "stupid and abusive". Not the sort of terminology usually used for "property damage".

And yeah, I read (and just reread) your next sentence, and it still reads as a "shit happens" attitude to me.

As I read it, you're saying there's nothing we can possibly do to ensure that rate of "stupid and abusive" cops is any lower than the rate of "stupid and rioting" civilians. (Or the most optimistic reading of it I can see is that you think we can't do any better a job of ensuring a lower rate of stupid and abusive cops than we have now.)

I think we need to do a _way_ better job of screening cop applicants before giving them a badge and gun, and hold them to a way higher standard that is currently the case.


You completely missed the point then and are absolutely wrong about what I said. Have a nice day.


Do you mind please responding to my most recent questions for you?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23398553

Thank you either way.


Perhaps you missed the note that got passed around that said something like:

"The police have been acting, and continue to act, with impunity. This needs to change ASAP".

If you genuinely missed that, then we're letting you know this is the problem. And it's a widespread problem across many countries.

If you're intentionally being dishonest, then piss off.


It's well known that some people in society are crazy, so an occasional video of someone acting crazy doesn't really mean much. Police though need to be held to a higher standard. So a video of police doing something bad is much more impactful. And this isn't just a police officer doing something all alone, there are a ton of officers surrounding him and not stopping him.


> Would you find it acceptable to shoot some footage of a handful of looting/arsonist incidents and proclaiming “protesters are doing X”, just like we are complaining that “police” are doing X?

It's very easy to attribute actions to the police, since they very commonly wear easy-to-identify uniforms and it's illegal to impersonate them. The video above was of a uniformed police officer in the company of maybe a hundred others. It's the literal job of police to stop crimes, so if you see an officer commuting a crime and his colleagues see and don't intervene, you can assume some level of assent to the officer's criminal activity.

Even if you found a video of a looter/arsonist, how do you know they're a protester at all? If they are a protester, how do you establish what their faction is (BLM, anarchist anti-capitalist, Neo-nazi agitator, etc.)? How do you judge the attitudes of the other protesters to to their actions, given protesters aren't equipped to enforce the law and don't have the mandate to do so?


Yeah, at least 5. I've seen >50 videos of rioters destroying and looting, maybe 5 of them engaging in violence, and maybe 10 of police engaging in excessive force, so I feel pretty comfortable having established that there's a pattern in those activities.

I'd like to see about 4-5 of such videos. The more the merrier. I'm totally open to changing my mind.


There's no point in telling us how many videos you've watched in those categories, because "number of videos someone personally watched in each category" tells us more about that person's viewing preferences than the prevalence of those incidents. For example, here's a twitter thread of 170 (so far) videos of police excessive force. If you watch all of these then your updated statement has a different tone.

https://mobile.twitter.com/greg_doucette/status/126675152005...


I wasn't providing those numbers to prove "my side", or any side. I was providing them as a benchmark for how many instances of an event became a pattern in my mind.

If you had read the comment carefully instead of rapidly responding with a "rebuttal" based on your ideology, you might have realized that.


https://old.reddit.com/r/actualpublicfreakouts

https://old.reddit.com/r/2020policebrutality

Are both accumulating quite a lot of evidence that police are using force recklessly and capriciously under the color of law without consequences.


I find the bigger issue to be the videos of police doing nothing to thwart blatant vandalism, and the contrast of those videos with the unprovoked attacks on what appear to be peaceful protesters.

The “politically convenient group” seems to be anyone being destructive, like ...

https://twitter.com/SARAHKSTUDIO/status/1267371809084567554/...

... white women?

The sum of causing unnecessary damage and turning a blind eye to vandalism at least gives me confidence that there is a desire by many police officers to see property destroyed.

From that I can only guess at what the reasoning might be, but given that we’ve seen this method of undermining protests in the past, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume racist intent until there is evidence that begins to support an alternative conclusion.


Considering that police are being beaten badly and some killed attempting to stop "protestors", I think it's not surprising that many have chosen to do nothing. Better safe than sorry.

Actually, there are dozens of different videos showing police being badly beaten as they attempt to stop vandalism. They just don't make the news as this isn't "progressive".

https://abcnews.go.com/US/small-town-police-chief-killed-off...

https://www.insider.com/george-floyd-protests-violence-again...


So is this how we've decided it's going to be? We have all protesters on one side, and if any protesters do anything bad, all get punished? (I also find some moderate irony in you claiming something doesn't make the news, then linking a news website.)


I can link a dozen twitter videos showing all kinds of people getting badly beat up by protestors - none of which ever made the news as it doesn't fit the progressive narrative - but I don't think its worth it. And frankly, it's not hard to find these by yourself.

Everyone now considers general violence and looting as legitimate actions in response to a crime committed by one police officer.

Floyd's death was a tragedy and Derek (the police officer) responsible must pay heavily for it - a 2nd or 3rd degree murder conviction should be handed down to set an example. That case should be scrutinised heavily - and it will be.

But I really don't understand why other people must suffer for one person's crime. The larger focus should be on the US police needing remedial training. Call up congressmen, call up senators. Rioting on the streets doesn't solve anything.


Calling up congressmen and senators hasn't solved anything. This has been an issue for thirty years, and no progress has been made. Violent crime is down, police use of force is up. What's going on wasn't working.

If you think this is one man, think again. Give me a city and I can give you the unarmed black person killed by police - Dallas, it's Botham Jean. Miami, it's Trayvon Martin. New York, it's Dwayne Brown. Years and years and so little done.

And now, people are now in the streets in reaction to police violence against people in the streets. If you see protesters being shot with tear gas for the crime of kneeling and shouting, people are going to come out and make their voices heard.

And this is working. Minneapolis Ward 3's district commissioner is calling for police abolition. For once, for absolute once, the media is actually on the side of the protesters, because once they got over the shock, they saw their own being attacked by police just as much. So before you say it doesn't solve anything, look at what it's already accomplished, and look what it can accomplish soon.


I got police sensitivity training when I travelled to the US - not a joke. How to talk to a US police officer, etc. Make sure you don't get out of your car - a lot of rules that Americans know implicitly.

But police abolition is not going to solve anything for you folks. It will mean an extraordinary increase in crime. I have lived in multiple nations and a strict police is better than police who do nothing. You will be at the mercy of crime lords. And no business store owner will open a shop in a police-free district.

All these rioters for freedom and dignity are fine on the TV. When people are on the wrong side of the mob, they change their minds pretty quick.


Measures implied by "police abolition" have been given a good voice here: https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/06/police-abo...

What I advocate for is a series of measures where trained members of the community, as a job, are in charge of primarily, defusing conflict, secondarily, preventing crime, and as a last resort, enforcing community standards and laws. No arrest quotas, limited jail, no cash bail, no mandatory minimum sentencing. This sounds like what I hear police are like in other places, but existing police power structures are powerful and resistant to reform, so wholesale replacement appears to be the best tactic.


I read through that article - naive and idealistic. I guess only a first-world citizen will believe it works. And not to put you down - I admire your innocence that you think this will work. This all breaks down as soon as someone from outside the community or someone powerful in the community introduces drugs which kill, a crime boss decides to beat up a few people for protection money, poor people or addicts decide to invade homes to steal your stuff, folks involved in 'community policing' decide to flex their muscles and make their 'fair' judgements which favour their own. You will feel utterly helpless.

Maybe you think all this won't happen. I have lived in poor and powerless communities earlier in life and seen all these things happen without a proper police presence. I had my sister assaulted when I was young and was unable to do anything about it. I despise 'community policing'. The cliques it creates is far worse than the full hammer of the full armed forces.

Anyways, I wish USA the best of luck. I really hope the looting and rioting in NY stops soon.


"Agent Provocateurs" are an old and well documented technique with examples varying from history through the civil rights era to the current day protests.


https://eurweb.com/2020/05/29/jacob-pederson-minneapolis-pol...

Hard to evaluate the accuracy of that story.

But it's also hard to dismiss it out of hand, given known true police behaviour. A very common view from the public is that cops are totally capable of that kind of behaviour. And whether the story about the cop setting the first fire is true our not, the believability of the story is as much a problem as the possible truth of the story.


> we know the black bloc and similar groups engages in these tactics

How do you know this? What's the process by which you established this as a known thing?


> What's the process by which you established this as a known thing?

Primary, by power of observation. But OK, I'll make this as vague and 100% foolproof as I can, to start: there are people who dress in black, and masks, and destroy stuff and commit violence at protests. That's from actual observation. It's not just 1-2, there are groups of them. That's my personal observation from being at 2 protests with such groups.

Now, combine that with all the sources references in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_bloc

Along with many, many, many dozens of media reports like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr0i6piW_ak

I'm able to discern a certain pattern.


People who dress in black and destroy stuff like this guy?

https://eurweb.com/2020/05/29/jacob-pederson-minneapolis-pol...

Yeah, I smell a pattern too...


OK, so what was the group dressed like that in black who were doing it in the video I posted, in the Trump inauguration? That guy is textbook black bloc. There are hundreds of mainstream media videos showing guys dressed like him burning and destroying in prior protests, from Seattle WTO 1999, to Occupy, to more recent protests.

I urge HNers to read that article you posted and decide for themselves if it's credible.

Then, read the wikipedia article I posted, refer to the sources at the end, google around, and decide for yourself.


> That guy is textbook black bloc.

An agent provocateur will always, except where it is physically impossible such as when no one of the right race is available for a group distinguished by race, outwardly appear as a textbook member of the targeted group. That's kind of central to the idea.


I'm characterizing the black bloc mostly by their tactics. Are you saying this guy blends into the group because he's dressing in black and destroying stuff, just like they do?

I think that we should publish short-sleeve mug photos of all these groups, because both anarchists and white supremacists often have identifying tattoos. Let there be light. The more transparency the better.

But unless I manage to convince myself that, somehow, police agent provocateurs or white supremacists were staging riots and destruction at Trump's inauguration (see video below[1], there are many others from those riots by mainstream media outlets), then my prior is currently that most of the people engaging in these tactics are the same people who have done it for the past 2-3 decades, which I've witnessed in person.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr0i6piW_ak

To clarify, are you suggesting that all this the riots, looting, and assaults are being done by agents provocateurs? Most of them? Some of them? Just that one autozone?


I'm not denying that "the public" do it.

I'm pointing out that _cops_ do it.

And they absolutely need to be held to a higher standard than "the public", because we give them guns and state sanctioned use-of-force. They cannot do their job without respect of their authority, and they do not have that respect, and they are doing the exact opposite thing of winning it back.

While not condoning the "textbook black bloc" actions, I can see why 2 centuries of systematic oppression might lead some people in some sections of society to think there are no other options.

I have no explanation for the current police behaviour that's more sympathetic than cynical South Park quotes. And if _that's_ how they want to be portrayed? Well, I guess they're achieving it...

(And as I pointed out elsewhere in this thread, I too have doubts about the veracity of that article I posted - but it's at least in mu mind, more than plausible. And _that_ is a serious problem. I too urge HNers to decide for themselves if they trust their local police force to think none of them would ever use unnecessary force, or go agent provocateur. If you have any doubt, you have a big problem.)


Multiple people have replied with evidence in this thread.

I don’t know your view on the matter, but somehow I doubt that seeing videos will do anything to change your view on the matter anyway. I say this because in a thread about police brutality, you cherry-pick an argument counter to what videos have already shown.

I do hope the continuing videos showcasing police brutality, during protests OF police brutality, do something to convince people that it is a very real problem.


It's actually worse than that. Even in the killing of Floyd the Police claimed he resisted arrest, which was a lie[0], the coroner said it wasn't asphyxia that killed him (despite all the videos) and a private autopsy found that's not true[1].

They did all this amidst a huge public outcry, what do you think happens to some poor schmuck when no camera is around.

Like this[2] and this[3].........

EDIT: Here is one where the cop force the poor guy to grab his baton and leave his fingerprints so he can accuse him of whatever he wants[4].

EDIT2: What do you know "his death [Floyd's] is on their hands [protesters and looters] as much as it is those officers"[5]

[0]: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/video-george-floyd-contrad...

[1]: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/06/george-floyd-au...

[2]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2018/07/27/...

[3]: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-woman-shot-killed...

[4]: https://v.redd.it/yo3bpzzt9h251

[5]: https://youtu.be/tIBoxt9maJs?t=64


"the coroner said it wasn't asphyxia that killed him (despite all the videos) and a private autopsy found that's not true[1]."

The county coroner's report was technically true in a way meant to imply a false result.

Floyd didn't die from lack of airflow, he died because the knee stopped blood flow to the brain, that is the brain couldn't receive Oxygen despite the body being able to breath.

The county coroner carefully checked that Floyd could breathe, but not blood flow to the brain. Once asphyxia was ruled out (not really, since strangulation is not the only way to get it), the coroner was free to imply whatever was comfortable to the police.

I wonder how many other autopsies done by the same coroner were also misleading, and whether other cases will need a retrial.


You are correct. I found this great analysis of the official report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egRf84EqaJI

The autopsy was purposely vague so as to give as much leeway as possible to the police.


Was this the coroner or medical examiner? I didn't think the coroner did a report. The medical examiner released their full report shortly after the preliminary one and did state the death was ultimately due to asphyxiation. I read that the initial medical examiner's report didn't go this far b/c they had not completed their review and they needed to get a report out quickly so that the officers could be charged.


IIRC we're talking about the initial report. Later on, they backtracked, but their original report was patently flawed. Given the direction and obviousness of the flaws, one must question whether the flaws were only due to haste.


This officer claimed he feared for his life. No charges were brought. The dashcam video is supposed to be exculpatory, but that's not how I see it.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/04/zachary-hamm...


In the video I watched (the one with multiple viewpoints from security cams, dash cams, etc.), Floyd did resist when they attempted to take him out of his car, and then again when they tried to put him in their car the first time. Of course, none of that should have resulted in a death sentence.


[flagged]


> Sure, clearly the cops handled this wrong, but what got Floyd there in the 1st place?

What? Seriously, what? Are you suggesting that the police should be free to pick and choose who they kill based on whether they are a "model citizen/saint" or not?

"Do not kill a person unnecessarily" should be a universal rule the police work to. It doesn't matter one bit who they are interacting with.


[flagged]


Between this attack and the flamebait in your other comments, you're crossing into bannable territory. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting here.


An Attack? Pointing out the truth is an attack and flame bait? I see - only the hive mind is allowed.


"Do you have a reading comprehension disability" is plainly an attack.

"Pointing out the truth" can certainly be an attack or flamebait. It depends on which truth and how it's used. One middle schooler "pointing out" the acne on another's face can be quite an attack. The hardest substance (truth) makes the sharpest weapon. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23381247 on the "it's a fact" defense, the most beloved of trolls.

For example, let's assume that your comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23396054 was factual and that George Floyd was intoxicated when he was killed. Bringing that up in this context, as if it somehow mitigates anything about his killing, is certainly flamebait, true or not.

Re "I see - only the hive mind is allowed" - that's also a common response. Everyone always feels like the mods are against them, secretly siding with the opposition: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu... We oppose your favorite sports team too, and conspire with the highway patrol to make sure it's always you who gets the speeding ticket.


I can’t respond to your earlier comment: but people aren’t saying he’s a saint; they’re making him a martyr of sorts. He died from police brutality, and instead of trying to fix that (over the past few decades), the police and President have waged civil war.


[flagged]


Black leadership has been bombed, assassinated, and jailed. Their neighborhoods are targeted for predatory financial extraction and are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards like waste processing plants, dumps, etc.

The Black Panther party had significant leadership and unification, social programs like food, educational programs, etc. They were killed. Bombed in fact. Prominent leaders were shot in their beds by the government.

Black Wall Street existed, utterly peacefully in fact, and they were utterly destroyed by white riots.

The black community has tried repeatedly to address things and in every turn they were beaten back down.

What do you recommend?


It will take a long time, generations, to fix this. I remember the 1981 race riots in London.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Brixton_riot

There was a public inquiry afterwards that led to the creation of a Police Complaints Commission. But that was largely ineffective for at least 20 years afterwards.

Ultimately I think integration and education are the only solution. My parents didn't meet a non-white person until they were in their late 20s. At my school there were a few black families. At my kids school there was a lot of diversity; and differences in race, sexuality and religion seem to be "old people's problems" to them now.


Integration has been resisted with violence- see busing.


Maybe they could try respectfully taking a knee at football games? Surely that'd work? /s


Deflections are not really a productive discussion tool.

That aside, why do you think that is? Could hundreds of years of systemic economic repression have any causual effect on that? Do you have any suggestions how we as society could bring those numbers down?

Lastly, how in bleeps name does that justify police violence?


Then why does it matter whether he is a "saint" or not? I could see your argument if he was angrily brandishing a gun and they had to make a quick decision to act, but that's very obviously not the case.


Exactly. He could have done whatever criminal things prior, but it has nothing to do with the specific scenario. He wasn't resisting arrest and was unjustly killed. Whatever he has done in the past has no bearing on it.

People tend to forget that others are just mere humans, and no one is a saint. Ffs, even MLK, for all the great progress he brought about, was cheating on his wife, which is imo pretty immoral and universally condemned. But it doesn't diminish his accomplishments in any way.


He plagiarized part of his thesis too, but this kind of begs the question what constitutes plagiarism in theology.


[flagged]


Even if he was DUI, no one has canceled due process. And even with due process, I don't think we give people death sentences for DUI.


[flagged]


Please don't attack another user or post in the flamewar style like this to HN, regardless of how wrong or provocative another comment is. It only makes this place even worse.

Note this guideline: "Don't feed egregious comments by replying; flag them instead." That's our indirect version of please don't feed the trolls. Other users flagged the comment, and it was rightly flagkilled. That would have happened sooner if you had followed the guidelines also.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I don't always agree with you, but damnit, do I respect you. Thanks for the work you do, esp. if you aren't getting compensated.


I'm compensated, which I mention because it's relevant to the health of HN. When people aren't paid to do something, they extract compensation in other ways, and that would exercise a distorting influence if it happened here. Being paid is part of what allows us to be relatively neutral. Also, the job can be a little intense, so one needs to remind oneself that one is choosing to do it, and being paid makes that relatively easy.


FFWD a couple months and Trump will be praising the police while fixating on the original coroner report.


First, this evidence there was 'no resistance' is not evidence at all, in fact, the claim by CNN is 'the lie'. There are many minutes of the interaction we don't have insight into, in particular the moments leading up to the 'kneeling'. That doesn't mean the police are not lying, but it definitely means the 'proof' offered by CNN is not 'proof'.

Also, city coroner made one claim, the coroner hired by the family made a different one, the claim that somehow the coroner hired by the family is 'correct' is just flat out inappropriate. Personally, I'm slightly more inclined to believe the city coroner, and that there were probably some complications. When the victim initially came out of his vehicle, it seems he fell to the ground in a manner that didn't seem to be due to a struggle, which would indicate something was wrong, physically, already at that time, obviously exacerbated by the police brutality.


The county coroner changed their report and labeled the death a homicide after the outcry that the original report was a cover-up. They no longer have any credibility.

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867219130/george-floyd-indepe...

> In charging documents released last week, prosecutors said that preliminary results from an autopsy "revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation."

>However the new report from the medical examiner did not include such language.


If this is true, it's all very terrible, it makes me dubious of the entire situation and I would hope that there would be an external (Federal? Non-Barr appointed?) investigation.


To me, it was pretty clear that the police in Santa Monica and Long Beach allowed the looting to occur while treating the protesters like criminals from the outset. This isn't to say that other local precincts weren't significantly better in their treatment of protesters, but there's clear evidence that many police departments are either corrupt or completely inept in addressing violent crime.

This has been a long time coming, too. In the last few years, many police departments around the country have thrown their hands up and publicly stated they won't be bothering with most property crimes. The way they see it, the only crimes worth their time involve people not committing real crimes at all or crimes involving guns or knives. Anyone who doesn't get why people don't trust the police has been living under a rock. This goes beyond just racism.


The police seem to clearly be allowing looting on purpose. SoHo was looted two days in a row. Where were the NYPD? There are 10's of thousands of uniformed officers Maybe you can say the first day they somehow missed it, but two days in a row? Come on. I refuse to believe that they didn't see this coming - they brag about how they're "gathering intel" on terrorist groups, but they couldn't check twitter to see #soho trending?

They want the story to be about rioters so they're letting them riot. It's a way to shift the public opinion (same way some cops have been seen breaking car and store windows).


On the topic of police refusing to do their job in order to punish backlash.

https://twitter.com/MplsWard3/status/1267891878801915904

> Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards. After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long.


That is just evil. That's police using their power as a protection racket. It should be illegal, and the officers involved should be put behind bars.


I have no context on this, but just reading that sentence, why wouldn't a budget cut raise response times? Is there context that suggests they're lying?


It wasn't an actual budget cut, it was a cut to a proposed future budget.


Huh, interesting. I was presuming the police department propose their budget and then the city alters/approves it as they see fit. If they lower it then that would be fairly accurately described as "cutting money from their proposed budget". Is that different from how it works here?


This is them shaking the public down and saying they decide which laws to enforce.


Agreed, I actually think it's both - it's punishing the public and shifting the story.


The Seattle PD tried this during the 2001 Mardi Gras riots. It earned the police chief (Kerlikowske) a higher level position


So they didn't try, they succeeded.


Kerlikowske stood them down and it was controversial.


Ah, it wasn't clear from the phrasing. I thought he got promoted for being "tough on crime".


> saying they decide which laws to enforce

In practical terms, they already do it and US law allows them prosecutorial discretion.


> SoHo was looted two days in a row. Where were the NYPD?

Local news reporting tries to explain what's going on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJGT06zIUiY&t=2m01s

"What you've been seeing is basically a cat and mouse game all night. The police have been here with a huge show of force, but they can't stop people, because they don't know that they've necessarily been looting. And so they're waiting for somebody to do something, police move onto the next block, and then someone does something."

I don't know one way or another whether this is the whole truth, but it appears to play a significant role according to the reporter.


What would you have preferred? If the police shows up and the looting does not stop, they can either use force (aka violence) to make it stop, or they can go home, essentially giving up the rule of law in the area.

Not showing up can be a tactical decision: you don't have to generate more bad press and more cries about police brutality and you also don't need to quasi-officially hand over the area to the looters.

The state's power isn't real as in "we can crush you", it rests only in everybody's fear of the state being able to crush them. If there's a chance that the state has to back down, not seeking the confrontation sounds like a smart choice to me, even if it comes at the price of a day or two of looting.


But they were already violent, just to the peaceful protesters. So why was there a massive police force at a peaceful protest, where they were already willing to brutally engage with the protesters, but not in soho where there were looters two days in a row?

Your argument can't possibly be "Because they didn't want to escalate" or "They didn't want people to think they're violent" when they did escalate and were violent elsewhere.

I am in full agreement that it was tactical - it allows them to punish a neighborhood and to shift the story.


The state's power is not just fear alone, it's legitimacy. What stops people from looting under normal circumstances is the belief that looting is wrong and will be punished, and people will agree punishment was justified.

Failing to respond to looting damages the state's legitimacy. Responding to looting and failing to stop it damages the state's legitimacy. Even responding to looting and successfully stopping it damages the state's legitimacy, because mass looting signals that looting has become more acceptable.


Oh, absolutely, but there are different levels of damage.

Germany has an issue with criminal clans from the Middle East, our law enforcement system isn't equipped to deal with them and our laws in general aren't either. The approach is pretty much "try not to engage", because while it's damaging to have "extended families" with hundreds of members where basically everyone of them has a criminal record, the other option is either locking up everybody (terrible idea in Germany) or trying to reason with them and failing (showing the state tried to handle it but failed). Not engaging is just the cheapest option and does the least amount of damage (I'm not suggesting that's necessarily true for the situation in the US, I don't know it well enough).

If the Leviathan shows its teeth and the problem doesn't go away, it has to bite. If it doesn't, everybody will see that the teeth aren't that sharp any more, and that will encourage more challengers.

> The state's power is not just fear alone, it's legitimacy.

For the people that don't require laws and punishment to behave morally, yes. For those that do, they obviously don't care about legitimacy or that looting (or any crime) is wrong, otherwise they wouldn't commit it. It's only those people that any society needs to worry about, and it's only those people that the state needs to convince that it is stronger than them.


> Germany has an issue with criminal clans from the Middle East, our law enforcement system isn't equipped to deal with them and our laws in general aren't either.

There is a big disconnect between the crime statistics in Germany, that show low crime levels by international standards and recent reductions in crime levels, and what the German public believe about the prevalence of crime in Germany due to alarmist tabloid reporting.

Cf. e.g., https://www.dw.com/en/crime-in-germany-drops-10-percent-in-2...


Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that the (real and perceived) level of some clans are terribly high. And I still believe that "don't touch it" is the right call to make, the cost of trying and failing is too high, and the probability of succeeding is small.


> If the Leviathan shows its teeth and the problem doesn't go away, it has to bite. If it doesn't, everybody will see that the teeth aren't that sharp any more, and that will encourage more challengers.

But that's effectively what doing nothing does. The state has teeth (the police) and it doesn't bite.

That's a completely unambiguous signal to both criminals and law-abiding citizens. And the results of this policy anywhere in the world is the problems have just grown in size and gotten worse.

> because while it's damaging to have "extended families" with hundreds of members where basically everyone of them has a criminal record

Remember when these "extended families" were an order of magnitude smaller and we applied the same policy of non-intervention? And look what that got us!

When are we finally going to apply the only acceptable course of action?


> But that's effectively what doing nothing does. The state has teeth (the police) and it doesn't bite.

Kind of, but not really. If you send the police to confront the looters, you are showing your teeth, you're saying "this will stop right here and right now, or else". You have to have a plan for the "or else" part.

If you don't send the police, you're not saying anything. Everybody is aware that the police exists, but unless you assert your power, there is no challenge.

This is obviously not a possible long-term strategy, because not having any power and never asserting the power you have are functionally the same. I don't think that anybody assumes the rioting will be a long-term problem though, so that may not be an issue.

> When are we finally going to apply the only acceptable course of action?

We won't. We're doing harm-reduction, both on a society level and, for politicians, on an individual level (and for management in large companies). Kick the can down the road. Attacking the big problems before they become unavoidable isn't something our systems are set up to do, not causing disturbances is incentivized, be that in law enforcement, dealing with dead industries surviving only on subsidies, education, pollution and emissions, health care, public infrastructure etc pp. "Spending $5m on that bridge now will save us lots of money in the future" isn't what the public sees - it's "they want to waste $5m on a perfectly fine bridge".


The looting is giving them political cover to attack those who directly threaten their identity. It's quite clear from their other actions where their priorities lie.

They have no (personal) reason to stop the looting, and at the same time, occupying their attention, the opportunity to strike out at that (very personal) threat.


They are still out crushing people. They've decided to target nonviolent protestors instead of looters. Softer targets perhaps.


So logically you would welcome Trump sending troops to end the looting?


[flagged]


> You decided you were better off without me, fine, save your own store.

For what it's worth, this is why people hate cops! No one said anything about all cops being worthless, and you're saying that victims of crimes deserve it for not praising police brutality.


The expectation of the public is that police should prioritize deterrence and investigation of property crimes above assembling a massive show of force to deprive peaceful protesters of their 1st amendment rights to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition government for redress of their grievances.

Cops that are busy kettling up protesters for later official intimidation and violence are not available to respond to crimes happening elsewhere.

Business owners are better off with insurance, alarms, and dedicated private security that won't abandon their protective duties every time they feel like pepper-spraying a liberal in the face for no apparent reason.


Right, but then why have the police at all?


Is that a rhetorical question?

There is no reason to have police that don't follow the Peelian principles.


You say that now, but when the school shooter is at your kids school, suddenly you’ll think that a police force is a good idea.

We can’t not have police, don’t be ridiculous.


I think if you throw away the existing system, you can still call what we replace it with "police" but it would be unrecognizable.

We need something closer to social service workers, the vast majority of which do not require arms.


Please don't descend into strawman arguments and false dilemmas.

It is not a binary choice between the militaristic, public-hostile police we have now, and no police at all.

As it is, the police in schools frequently do inappropriate things, such as bodyslamming 40kg girls or putting children in handcuffs for acting up in class. A school security guard, charged with protecting the students and staff, with no authority to arrest or punish anyone, would do fine.


You literally said “this is why people hate cops” right before saying that nobody said that about “all cops”.

There are other examples all over this thread. Nobody is complaining about a specific cop, they’re generalizing everything to “cops”. That’s what that is.

you're saying that victims of crimes deserve it for not praising police brutality

How do you expect anyone to take you seriously with such absurd fabrications? Anyone can scroll up and easily see that I did not say any such thing.


Yes, when you said

> You decided you were better off without me, fine, save your own store.

That was you saying that people who don't support police don't deserve police protection.


I love how certain types of people offer the false choice of unjust and unaccountable police or no police at all.

I guess it's too much to ask that police obey the law they are supposed to be enforcing.

This is why the country is in flames right now.


> I guess it's too much to ask that police obey the law they are supposed to be enforcing.

Historically, we see that any group given power eventually starts abusing it. For modern definitions of abusing power, anyways. Past societies would have seen it differently, perhaps the divine right of kings or some such nonsense.

A fascinating example would be the wealthy nobles of the late (western) Roman empire. They shielded citizens from military service, and in exchange expected work from them, generally on their vast estates. After the collapse of the empire, this relationship eventually evolved into the feudal lord/serf relationship. Also, Diocletian's reforms didn't help, but that's a topic I'll leave for another post.

I guess this is kind of a long-winded way of saying this, but what you're asking for does seem unreasonable in the long term. Human beings don't seem to work that way.

That all being said, the long term I'm referring to is the 250+ year timeline. We might be able to goose the current system along for another few generations if we do it right. If it's worth it or not depends a bit on your perspective.


I’m not sure why you made this comment. As far as I can see, nobody is doing your first sentence, and we all agree on the second. Police should definitely obey the law!


> You decided you were better off without me, fine, save your own store.

How should we have read this sentence?

Why couldn't you have instead said, "You decided you were better off without a shitty abusive police officer, fine, call me or other police instead." ?


I'm not sure what it is you're suggesting they do. If they arrest the looters, you will complain of "police brutality", since as a rule, criminals do not go into custody willingly. If they do not, you will complain of "looting". They also can't individually go after looters in this situation - too dangerous. Whatever they do they have to do as a group, without dispersing.


The looters take advantage of the chaos. The chaos seems willingly and knowingly caused by the police. I would at this point consider the police atleast somewhat responsible for the conditions that lead to the looting.


> willingly and knowingly caused by the police

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.


Are you living under a rock? Reddit has a compilation thread of dozens of examples of police escalating situations, attacking press, pushing old men with canes to the ground, shooting residents ON THEIR doorstep, randomly grabbing civilians and assaulting them. The list doesn't seem to stop.

Since 2001, police have taken more American lives than all other terrorist activities combined.


Dude, you've justified torching a residential building in another thread. I think you should sit this one out, for your own good.


Oh please, nice try. You'd have to be desperate to make that assumption, just like the previous person that tried to pull that.

Supporting protestors and civil unrest doesn't mean you support violence, but I'm not a naive child that thinks great change happens without bad things accompanying it.


https://old.reddit.com/r/Seattle/comments/gv0ru3/this_is_the...

Extraordinary enough? A birds eye view, of a protest that was peaceful for hours, until police grab for an umbrella, and start attacking the crowd.

Here's an ant's eye view of the same event, by the way. @26:30 - the gas masks arrive, @28:20 - the gas masks take their place in the line, @30:00 - the umbrella gets grabbed, and the crowd gets attacked.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1022002103584874...


We have no information about their action or inaction, we could only guess that ; judging now seems pointless.


This was also the case at Fairfax and 3rd in Los Angeles. Violence erupted only when the police arrived, not before. They escalated the moment they arrived.


This does not align with my experience. I off 3rd street, right by the La Cienega where significant looting occured. I intentionally walked outside while looting/vandalism was occurring and there was absolutely no police presence whatsoever except for police helicopters.

I walked down third street until I reached the point where the riot police set up a barricade and didn't allow the protesters further. It was really a peaceful scene where the police were setup, and I thought it was being handled very professionally with the goal to not incite violence (There were also 6 police helicopters circling the area) Everywhere the police were not there was looting.

The amount of misinformation being circulated is staggering.


Or, apparently anyone criticizing them. They’re very invested in stopping that.


and I thought these Raymond Chandler novels describing the cops of "Bay City" were fiction...


>the police is desperately trying to set a narrative to justify a history of violence by escalating more violence, but please, someone, restore my faith

Seems fairly accurate. I'm just annoyed that many people can't grasp that awful police behavior and awful behavior from other actors are not mutually exclusive. There is lots of unjustified police violence and provocations against perfectly peaceful protestors. There is also systematic vandalism and arson by people who aren't peaceful protestors. And there is massive amounts of opportunistic vandalism and looting. All three can and do co-exist.

This is not a two-sided conflict. More like three- or four- sided mess.


One of the sides mentioned has a monopoly on the lawful use of force. Shouldn't we expect better from them in return?


One side of this coin is that the police have a monopoly on lawful force and therefore should be held to a higher standard. The other side seems to me that police derive their tasks from laws (handed down by the same institutions) and a certain degree of pressure is therefore accorded to enforce said laws.

I agree that we should expect better from the police and authorities in return, but also that we accept their use of limited force (even when not physically harmful) when necessary as the means to do so.

I personally lean towards presumably the same direction as you: that police should first and foremost be held to a higher standard before their legitimacy is accepted. However, I think it's not that far from the views of some that see their role in this conflict as imposing harsh law and order.


No, the police do not have a monopoly on the lawful use of force. Not in the USA... or, at least, not in most areas of the USA.

It's ironic that the people trying their best to change that are also the ones who are most closely aligned with the victims of police brutality, politically speaking. One of many things I don't understand.


What are you hinting at? A second amendment thing? Because that really has nothing to do with the monopoly on use of violence. You can be violent without a gun. Who gets to be violent in a legal manner is an orthogonal issue.

And how is it ironic? When has the second amendment ever done anything for victims of police brutality? How often has widespread gun ownership been used as an excuse for excessive police force?


The second amendment has everything to do with the question of whether the police (or any other state-sanctioned agency) is entitled to a monopoly on the use of force.

But like I said, I don't understand any of this. Maybe others can offer some insight.


You can hold a gun. You can't, and shouldn't, shoot police with it.

Even Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground cannot help you if you are being attacked or harassed by the police.

I'm anti-gun, but as I understand it, the second amendment only "helps" against state actors if the population as a whole is willing to overthrow the current government. At that point what "is legal" changes, like when George Washington's troops took America from the UK and wrote the constitution.

However, from a legal standpoint (i.e. based on the current government), the police has a "monopoly on lawful use of force".


Even Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground cannot help you if you are being attacked or harassed by the police.

Sounds like that might be changing for the better, given what transpired in the Breonna Taylor incident. I understand they just dropped the charges against her boyfriend, who shot at the police when they broke in.


I disagree, for the reasons stated. But I'm not a constitutional expert, less so for a country that is not my own. That said, you haven't answered my questions.


"Monopoly on violence" or "use of force" is the way I've seen it put by political scientists defining what it means for a state to be sovereign (that quality is really high up the list of things that go along with that). It doesn't mean only the state can legally engage in, say, violent self-defense, but it means the state is capable of dictating where and when "legitimate" violence may occur, and backing up those dictates with its own violence, with great effectiveness.

Not that this means a sovereign state may choose to make violent self-defense legal, for example, without any risk to its sovereignty, provided it's still the force deciding whether a given instance was legal and backing up those rulings with threat of or actual violence. It's the unchallenged (un-successfully challenged, at any rate) arbiter of what is and is not permissible violence.

The police are the primary point of contact between the citizenry and the state monopoly on violence when it is most acutely exercised (rather than merely threatened or practiced more softly), so framing this as the police personally having (been invested with) that monopoly, in the context of a meeting on the street between non-police citizens and the police, seems reasonable to me.

A state that finds itself unable to claim or maintain its monopoly on violence is at serious risk of loss of sovereignty, usually to whichever group is having success challenging that claim. Understanding how that balance sits can be a way to insight into the de facto power structure of a governmental system—for example, the de jure sovereign power of a state might be the civil government, but if it effectively operates at the pleasure of a military bureaucracy that has demonstrated the ability to topple the civil government and maintains a tacit threat to do same again in the future, then at best the civil government shares sovereignty with the military bureaucracy, and at worst it's a kind of puppet-state of the actual sovereign power (this, specifically, is why strong standing armies are seen as a risky tool for a state to keep—rather than increasing the power or control of the supposed sovereign, they can easily turn to challenging it very effectively). Turkey's operated this way, at times. Egypt, too. Not that uncommon an arrangement, the de facto sovereignty resting less securely with the de jure rulers than one might suppose.

Looking elsewhere in the thread, reports of police deliberately failing to use their (threat of or actual) force to uphold the law in the districts of politicians who've tried to do something they don't like (reduce their funding)—assuming they get away with it and aren't brought to-heel (apparently they have not been)—is another example of a force-bearing arm of the state threatening the sovereignty of the civil government.

[EDIT] on a more personal note, I'm highly skeptical of the utility of widespread private ownership of small arms as a means of keeping the state in check. I've not seen them to be a significant factor in successful resistance against a state, and especially not against one's own state. For one thing they're plenty likely to be used to enforce tyranny or perpetrate injustice on behalf of the government, officially or unofficially (often the latter—see the post-reconstruction South for a close-to-home example) and for another they seem to be neither necessary nor sufficient for armed insurrection to succeed. The critical factor seems to be overt or covert support by part or all of an actual military, whether foreign or one's own, to provide materiel and direct support (e.g. no-fly zones, factions of the army joining the rebels in a civil war, that sort of thing). I see them as a distraction. I wish the left would stop talking about them because it just drives some people away and they've made little progress on restricting firearm ownership anyway, but I also don't see them as somehow key to preserving liberty, simply because they seem secondary at best in any successful rebellion I'm aware of (except maybe against very weak states with tiny militaries that fail to levy more loyal soldiers before the shooting starts, but that's not, you know, the US, at all).


Orwell, writing about the Spanish civil war, gives the release of arms stockpiles to trade union militias as a key factor in the early fighting against Franco. That war saw a combination of foreign intervention, plus soldiers and police choosing either side, but militias still played a crucial role.

It's not clear whether arms stockpiles would have the same impact on a modern war, but they might.


Maybe a counterexample, but it's also a really weird situation. The arms in that case were seized from government arsenals (that's how I'm taking "public arsenals", evidently under the authority of the government pre-seizure, anyway), and the whole thing was a reaction to a very recent military coup, plus the elected government was still kinda trying to resist Franco and the army at that point. At any rate, the rebels here were the military faction under Franco. Plus the scrappy resistance using looted public arms lost :-(


Disclaimer: I'm not trying to set any narrative, just giving my own data point, no one should extrapolate this more broadly.

In my neighborhood, the event organizer wasn't even from my city and she was doing everything she could to get the crowd angry at police. Many of the others who spoke were calmer, more reasonable, more positive, sincere, etc, but she was trying to get people ramped up. The police weren't at the protest originally and she tried to use the lack of police presence to anger people ("look, the police don't even care about protecting you!") and then they merely showed up and it was the other way around ("the police are here to stop us!"). Seemed like she was trying to agitate people into provoking the police. Even still, the protest was generally peaceful on both sides; as far as I know, there was no police violence nor rioting/looting/etc. Proud of my hood.


I can weigh in a bit on what the police claim happened here in Indianapolis. They won't account for all of their CS deployments, which I think is crazy, but they did address why it started the other day (Saturday?). Their claim is that what they saw was some police inside the city/county building and a single person started hitting the glass on the building. Simultaneously, "previously peaceful" protesters started locking arms at one end of the street, blocking emergency vehicle ingress, so they let loose a bunch of (13 year expired)_CS gas.

Is that believable? Sure, but locking arms is also a common thing during protests. The road was already blocked off and cars weren't going through. Also, they fired CS into crowds of protesters blocks away, claiming that they think the protesters are coordinating by secure communications and instantaneously turning violent across the city. Most of it seems like bullshit, and even if it's all true, locking arms on one side of a closed street is not at all unusual. They should have arrested the one guy hitting the glass and let the protest continue.

By the way, they used this event to justify the curfews that haven't been raised since then.


> blocking emergency vehicle ingress, so they let loose a bunch of (13 year expired)_CS gas.

That doesn't make sense, unless they wanted the driver and other people in a not airtight emergency vehicle to end up in the gas cloud as well...


I'm in Richmond, Virginia, and according to people monitoring the unencrypted fire department radios on twitter (one of them a fairly reputable community organizer, but rate the source as you will), this exact situation supposedly happened on Saturday night. Fire department got called to a shoe store fire, they faced some impediment reaching the fire, police showed up and dropped tear gas all over the area, and the fire department ended up back on the scanner requesting an ambulance for the commander on site for tear gas exposure, and additional PPE from another department to help the other fire fighters cope. The building ended up being marked a complete loss, although I'm unclear of the nitty gritty details like timelines, source of the fire, etc.

EDIT: I will also note that this, among other events, was used to justify calling for a curfew in town, and today, the mayor and police chief have condemned their own police officers for deploying tear gas on peaceful protests prior to the start of the curfews last night, and then putting forward a false justification (admitted by the police chief to have been a false justification, to be clear) for doing so.


Right. And this is the justification given during a press conference the next morning; it's not some on-the-spot question asked to the deputy chief of Indianapolis Police. It's a dumb excuse. Plus, it's literally one block long. If you want police on that block, they can stop around the corner and walk in. The building isn't touching the street; it's a couple hundred feet back.


As another observation, I've been to the protests in Raleigh, and at least 75% of the initial violent actions have been from individuals in the protest.

(I say 'individuals', not 'protestors', because the latter are peaceful people. The instigators are rioters and looters, a small minority of the people hiding within the former group.)

The other 25% has been initial violent action from the police. Things like shooting gas and charging forward when protestors were simply standing still.


Welcome to Russia . Actually, since 1993 police actions in Russia were never that outright violent and cruel as they are now in the USA . I'm watching news coverage with disbelief and anger, and I'm wondering if the pot will continue calling various kettles around the world black.


So, I not the only one feeling that the situation feels ominously similar to the august putsch, and 1993


I'm seeing the same. Even when people are acting out, the police are supposed to be a professional, trained force that is capable of keeping them selves in control and knowing when to back-off and regroup when things aren't in their control.

All I see is crazed fighting from them. Wide eyed with fear, wild swinging, just indiscriminate violence. Is property damage bad? Sure. But good lord stolen Nikes are so inconsequential to what I'm seeing from the police right now.

I am not a bleeding heart liberal, nor am I some apparently crazed republican. I just don't like seeing my fellow Americans getting killed and beaten. The fact that they are totally immune from prosecution and oversight makes the power dynamic of it all that much more infuriating.


On the other hand all incidents of violence that I have witnessed so far was from the protesters to other protesters, and some against shops, shopowners, counter-protesters, and drivers. Although I am not doubting what you said, in my experience it seems that the protestors scatter and do not cause any unjustified violence when the police starts chaos.


What events were you at? Everything is on video these days somewhere. Can you point us to an online video example that you were at?


Sorry, for the safety of myself, my fellow demonstrators, and my family I am not going to state the actual events I was at.

Others have already shown examples, however here is an news article covering some incidents: https://www.newsweek.com/fbi-asks-evidence-individuals-incit...

I have so far not seen any evidence of the opposite taking place, I would certainly appreciate some counter examples.


I certainly don’t think the police cars in NYC going through those pedestrians - the first example on the page - is a good example.

People crowded around the vehicles and starting throwing things at them. While I would expect police to have more restraint/less fear than they did, that wasn’t the police starting violence. I would expect almost anyone to have the same reaction they did.

There was another NYC incident that people were up in arms about without context and it turns out one of the police had been hit in the head with a brick.


Two different police vans drove up to a barricade and there were virtually no people behind them. Where do you think they were going? Why do you think they drove into the barrier to begin with? Why could they not back up?


The barricade was put by the protestors in front of them, and they were apparently responding to a call.

Yes, they should have backed up. My point is that they were attacked first, nothing else. It was kind of a play stupid games scenario - if you do that to someone chances are they’re going to freak out and at best be unpredictable.


They weren't attacked first.


They were. Check out the video. You can clearly see the drivers window is broken, things are being thrown at them left and right, windshield is broken, then the next cop car shows up and people surround it and start punching the windows and windshield.

https://www.insider.com/nypd-cruisers-ram-down-protesters-vi...


There is clearly a lot of space behind them when they drive through the crowd.


From what I've seen is everything is peaceful during the day time, but after the curfews or when it becomes an unlawful gathering (i.e. blocking interstates etc.) is when police intervene. Which is what they job is supposed to be. The methods used for crowd control are acceptable when things reach the above mentioned criteria. Protests during daylight hours, and not breaking other laws is fully protected by 1st amendment, and I have seen no sign of police missteps in my city during these lawful peaceful demonstrations.


If you’ve never seen videos of police tear gassing peaceful protestors, or driving into them with their cars, you’re living a very sheltered life.

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867532070/trumps-unannounced-...


And if you haven't seen many clear examples of opportunistic looting and people clearly thrill-seeking, you're living in a bubble:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5C38kayWI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5sKN2vOtZM

https://tuckbot.tv/#/watch/gvc5pt

https://tuckbot.tv/#/watch/gvimlx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RokxrLLBjKA

And many more examples are available...


There's still no need to aim for close range headshots like this and many other incidents https://i.imgur.com/medV8y6.gifv


There are plenty of daytime abuses by the police in this twitter thread.

https://mobile.twitter.com/greg_doucette/status/126675152005...


In at least some cases it has been initiated by protesters/rioters. E.g. in the spread sheet row 17: https://twitter.com/Stephon_Dingle/status/126656092123893760...

And of course there was the case of the riots at the CNN headquarters.

But I think this clearly & quantitatively shows that in general actions against journalists are initiated by the police force, which I don't find surprising.


I was at a peaceful rally in Seattle last night, and a bunch of cops kept closing in and started shoving people.


From all the videos/pictures circulating I see both sides doing cheap-shots to escalate the situation and prove that their narrative is the right one.

But when will people take a step back and start asking themselves; who profits on this turmoil?


Do you have any concrete examples where the protesters instigated the violence? I have not been able to find any.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Wz69m4hKsw

Someone at a protest was stabbed. Police was called to arrest the stabber and take the victim to hospital. They were actually leaving when some people started throwing rocks and bottles at them.


Well a police officer was killed trying to prevent a store being looted. But many people here consider looting as justified and warranted in the current circumstances - shop owners should grin and bear it for the greater cause - so it may not be what you are asking for.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/small-town-police-chief-killed-off...


Police is actively avoiding helping victims of lootings. Helps to discredit the protests and US police NEVER have an interest in helping anyways.

Just from personal experience in ca. 2012, the Binghamton, NY PD has openly threatened to plant drugs on us following a a noise complaint.

We talked to officers trying to cooperate but as we weren't following ORDERS such as "Don't scratch your arm right now!" the cops escalated and one took out a tazer. We were all white btw. and as a European I couldn't believe those cops. We calmly talked and suddenly we face a tazer? Because those authoritarian scumbags didn't want to hold a conversation with the people THEY confronted? Over a noise complaint?

Something is super wrong in the US when it comes to police. Maybe start educating them before letting them lose on society. It helps.


I agree that the US police in general needs desperate remedial training. My experience with them wasn't pleasant either.

I simply don't agree with the massive general violence and looting going on at the moment. That must be stopped. And police officers attempting to do so are being beaten to death. Some are also being shot while trying to prevent looting. I disagree that all police should pay for one person's crime.


Super late, but maybe you see this. I do not agree with the looting at all and believe these people have to be stopped and held accountable.

However, I think that the situation is so difficult, that society is incapable of finding a real helpful solution and as injustice keeps being comitted by police across the country, the emotions find a channel to break out.

How long can they violently treat citizens without consequences? The negative energy just seems to burst out here and it appears to be the natural consequence (which doesn't make the looting right, but maybe explains the negative energy a little bit).


I don't understand how you can think that all violence everywhere was started by the police. Yes, the police has probably been guilty of that, but do you really think all protestors are unanimously and inherently peaceful in every single place? Even in Sweden most protests are filled with bad actors and professional rioters who just want to cause a stir.


I never made any such statement, let alone "keep pushing". I simply asked for counterexamples to some of the examples shown in the media.

Do you have any concrete examples in your situation in Sweden?


>As far as I know,every documented case where a formerly peaceful crowd turns into chaos has been started with police shooting pepperspray, teargas, or whatever into the crowd.

Question to Americans: if the police really are acting this badly, why aren't y'all exercising your second amendment rights to defend yourselves? My naive understanding as a foreigner is that it's exactly what the second amendment is supposed to be for: protecting yourselves from an oppressive government. If the current situation doesn't warrant it, what situation would?


> Question to Americans: if the police really are acting this badly, why aren't y'all exercising your second amendment rights to defend yourselves?

Because that is a fever dream. The reality is that if you use a firearm on the police you get killed on the spot or it turns into a siege and you are killed some time later.


Even when the protesters vastly outnumber the police? The police used much less force against the anti-lockdown protestors, who were armed, than against the unarmed BLM protestors. I don't think most police would be willing to risk their lives confronting a large crowd of armed protestors.


They're wearing full bulletproof vests, shields, helmets, and drive up in armored personel carriers. What, pray tell, would a semiauto rifle do against that, other than get you killed?


The example gun-nuts usually point to is that Afghani farmers (and Vietnamese rice farmers) did a pretty good job of giving US soldiers trouble even though the solders were way better equipped.


I don't think that worked out very well for them though.


As a non-American, I'm thinking the exact same thing. The whole system is completely broken.


You are absolutely correct. A lot of these protests start out peacefully and are then instigated by police.

Here's a video of the Seattle police instigating violence: https://www.reddit.com/r/Seattle/comments/gv0ru3/this_is_the...

A cop felt so threatened by a pink umbrella that he just had to have it, at all costs.

I've been watching (and attending) a lot of the Portland protests and it's the same story here. Peaceful protesters, violent police. They're all fully geared and armed, and yet feel threatened by water bottles being thrown at them. They feel so threatened by the people that just having protesters get close to a fence around the Justice Center will cause police to start firing rubber bullets, flash bangs, smoke bombs, and tear gas at unarmed and unprotected protesters. Police feel so threatened by unarmed protesters that they now need the help of fully-armed, fully-geared, completely decked-out national guard. This is an embarrassment for police.

Not that any of this is a surprise, anyway. A police officer felt so threatened by an unarmed, handcuffed black man that the had to murder the unarmed, handcuffed black man.


Nobody shot tear gas into the crowd that burned down the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis. It was the exact OPPOSITE. Police left the premises hours prior to the gathering.



The police are being told by the governors who are being told by the POTUS that the protestors must “dominated”. I’m not editorializing or interpreting here. Listen to Trump himself say it over and over again in the course of this phone call:

https://soundcloud.com/the-daily-beast-politics/trump-audio

I can’t stress how useful it is to hear this context first hand yourself.


Why else would the police get all this military equipment that they are so eager to try out?

Never mind that you always see them as law enforcement and not a service to the community.


I think at some level, police are rioting to keep their jobs.

I came around to prison abolition once I realized it was a goal that was meant to be achieved piece by piece.

Cash bail. That's one piece. None of those people need to be in jail. They haven't been convicted of a crime and they overwhelmingly show up for their court date if released. The only thing they can't afford is their bail and that is used to get them to plead to crimes without the police having to prove anything. That's 470k people on any given night. *

Drug possession. Like to smoke weed? Well, that's your choice and no need to throw you in jail over it like 1.4 million people each year.

The other pieces are more radical or require replacement programs or just don't even have proposed solutions. But just above are two pieces of the incarceration system that the many people will agree could just be turned off.

So, if you turn those off, what's the staffing change in police departments and correctional facilities? We're not talking about firing for performance (yet), this is just run of the mill right sizing. Gotta be efficient--can't give people jobs as a handout.

What if you kept going down this line of reasoning. What if you ended racial profiling? Across the country black motorists are 20% more likely to be pulled over. Either black people are being targeted (the consensus) or white people are being given a free pass (my personal experience is that this is also happening). So either hire more police to pull over white people more often. We are doing hella drugs, driving drunk all the time, texting while driving, etc. Or, more along the lines of what everyone wants, there could be a 20% reduction in the staffing of highway patrol.

I think if the will of the people was respected, police departments would probably be reduced by 25% across the country. Certainly in NYC, which has one of the highest cops per capita in the world even though we have the highest density and cops shouldn't have to walk far to do their jobs.

If it were my policy though, probably 50% of police could be eliminated.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html

https://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/drug-war-statistics

* https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/us/police-stops-race-stanford...


Possible explanation: (Note: I am not saying this is what happened in any specific case, merely that it is plausible.)

Police are on a common radio channel and coordinate their actions. Protesters aren't. If one protester takes violent action, most protesters may be unaware but all police will be. What you see as an unprovoked, violent response may actually have been provoked by something you simply weren't close enough to witness.

This explanation is pure speculation. However, if true, it does prompt us to ask if police can find ways to localize their responses better. i.e. If violent response is necessary in a specific location, is there a way to make police relatively far from that location aware of it without signalling imminent personal danger to them, thereby priming them to over-respond to whatever is happening at their location?

e.g. Instead of just hearing "They've pulled out knives!" over the radio, they might have a corresponding heads-up display showing where that message came from and where they themselves are in relation to that.


I've had the opposite experience in Chicago. I live in a high rise in the loop. I was able to watch the "protests", "riots", whatever from above. I'm sure I'll get flagged but these are my honest impressions on the behavior of the CPD and the protestors.

My biggest takeaway is local events translate to global action in the crowd (police or protestors). And it leads to all this misunderstanding. "What I was just standing here. Why are you pushing me?". Because jackass, a group of people 10 feet away from you threw rocks and bottles at the police. Sorry you got shoved but shit happens.

Below are my unorganized thoughts. Just wanted to get them out.

---

There were like 100k people at 2:30 (maybe more I didn't count I'm just guessing). These people were mostly peaceful. The worst thing they did was chant obscenities about the police and jump on the cars of bystanders. Not the worst thing in the world but not the nicest way to protest either. I don't hold it against them.

By 6ish there were maybe 10 or 20 thousand hardcore protestors remaining. The people legitimately concerned about police brutality but not clinically-insane-enough-to-march-for-four-hours-saying-the-same-thing-to-no-one-in-particular went home.

These diehards are mostly a bunch of power tripping assholes. "Fuck 12", "ACAB", "Pigs", running up to the police line and trying to 'punk' them out. Just stupid. The weaker and frailer they are the more it seemed they had to say. They know they have all the power when they're with the crowd. Its simultaneously the most pathetic and the most terrifying thing you've ever seen because one of these cracked out weirdos is probably going to try to light your building on fire soon.

And then the fires start. Police cars, a 7-11, doesn't matter. The protestors block the street when firefighters roll up to put it out. They eventually move but I couldn't tell you why. Big shoutout to CFD for being total badasses. I wasn't about to walk out in the crowd even if I were disguised as a "protestor". They make their way to the fire, get it out ASAP and roll out before the crowd has a chance to completely engulf them. Though I never saw the bulk of the crowd leave the police lines.

I have to criticize CPD a little here. I was legitimately concerned my wife and I were going to burn to death in our apartment. I didn't have faith that the CPD could prevent someone from lighting my building on fire.

Thankfully it never came to that.

The police were completely outnumbered and were generally powerless to do anything when the crowd was in its full force. There were people with hammers breaking up the sidewalk to use chunks of debris as weapons against the police. The police just stood there unable or unwilling to prevent it.

In my mind, the police were present to A). soak up as much of the crowds rage as possible and B). prevent the really heinous shit from going down. I'm not talking murder. I'm talking burning an apartment building down with all the people inside heinous. Several murders happened behind the crowds (i.e. bad people are using the crowd as a human shield to do whatever they want). The police didn't (maybe couldn't) budge. Even if they did try to prevent it the crowd would have raged at their intrusion into "their" space.

After curfew the cops went on the offensive. The police began to march. Pushing the remaining "protestors" further and further south outside of the loop. This involved rubber bullets and I assume tear gas but I couldn't actually see this part. Along the way the rioters looted every business (aside from the Crocs store hilariously enough) from Wacker all the way to Roosevelt. I assume they looted further down but I didn't feel like walking any further through the ruins of my city.

That's basically it.


I think you're underestimating the effect of corralling people with bridges and police lines. And then shutting down CTA. It's subtle escalation, but it's escalation. There's a very blurry line between "control the people after our jobs" and "keep people safe" and nothing about CPDs behavior looked like "keep people safe".

Police escalate conflict simply by showing up, especially in riot gear.


I respect your opinion but...

If the police were not there my life would have been at imminent risk. And if the police show up their lives are at imminent risk. So the cops have to show up and they have to wear riot gear.

I've had to live with months of protest downtown. People protesting to release prisoners because of coronavirus. People protesting to lift the coronavirus lock downs. In those cases there was no riot gear. Minimal police presence. When Friday's protest came around it immediately felt different. The people were much more angry and much more hostile.

People were looking at the Minneapolis riots with envy. People were shouting about the righteous cause of riots and looting. "Its the language of the unheard." Despite noble protestations that they were only going to loot the wealthy corporations with fat insurance contracts, they ended up looting everything. They ended up shooting each other far from police lines. They ended up burning police cars that were parked far away from police lines. They lit buildings on fire that could have very easily spread to neighboring apartment buildings.

You said:

> nothing about CPDs behavior looked like "keep people safe"

I disagree. "People" are more than just the rioters. They are rioters. They are residents in the immediate area. They are residents outside the immediate area who were spared the carnage by virtue of CPD's actions.

You can talk all you want about "subtle escalations". But truth be told anything the "authorities" do will be considered an escalation because the mob is not rational. It is primed to perceive anything and everything as a reason to execute its collective will.


Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems in line with what I'm reading elsewhere.


> As far as I know,every documented case where a formerly peaceful crowd turns into chaos has been started with police

If it's documented, it should be easy to produce documentation backing that claim, because to me that sounds incredibly unlikely.


Yeah, I don’t believe it. Rioting is natural human behavior. In Bangladesh we have violent riots after every election. The police aren’t instigating them, they are nowhere to be found. Why would I believe that Americans are any different?


>Why would I believe that Americans are any different?

We don't have violent riots after every election, for one thing.


America certainly had violent riots during elections. Also after sports games. It happens.


>America certainly had violent riots during elections.

Not in recent memory, and certainly not as a regular occurrence.

>Also after sports games.

Ok, you got me there.


I’m sure you know who Shibir and Chhatra League are? Who are their American counterparts?


There are instigators involved in the hartals, no doubt. But working with the police?


It's different now. Early in the presidential campaign, anti-Trump demonstrators were blocking the road to the Reagan library to deny access to people heading to a Trump/GOP fund raiser

I remember thinking, America is in for it now, the Rubicon has been crossed. Since then politically motivated violence has been embraced and celebrated by many luminaries. Welcome to the normal.


What do you make of Trump's many pleas to handle the opposition and journalists with violence while campaigning?


I've seen quite a few videos and read a lot of articles about what's going on, and from my perspective Law Enforcement are scared Sh&^less they will lose control and get completely over-run by the protesters.

Realizing how angry the people are and how massively outnumbered they are they've decided to come out hard with violence in an attempt to squash the protests, which makes sense.

I don't think it would take much for the people to overcome the Law Enforcement with their overwhelming numbers. Once the news gets around that it's happened in one place, that will embolden others to do the same. I just hope it doesn't get wickedly violent if it happens.


Overcome the police to what end, though?

All most of the protestors want to do is protest, ie partake in some of their 1st amendment rights. So the protestors "overrun" the police and then what? Continue to stand in the street chanting?

This feels like straight projection, and focusing on the few people taking advantage of the situation by looting etc. The police could solve that in a heartbeat by deploying small units into the protest crowds and working with the peaceful protestors, but first they'd have to give up on the goal of disrupting legitimate protests.


I don't know.

I'm not saying it's productive or a good thing, I'm just saying that's what it feels like.

People are only going to stand and watch their fellow citizens get shot point blank in the face with tear gas canisters, pepper spray and rubber bullets for so long.

Law Enforcement are denying people their right to demonstrate, and I feel like people are going to fight hard to keep it.

EDIT: I mean, watch this [1]. Those look like Police who are desperately trying to maintain control with the only means they know how - violence.

Do you think everyone will continue to just watch them swing batons like the first few seconds and do nothing?

[1] https://twitter.com/JordanUhl/status/1267968926761312256


I usually try to understand all sides of an argument, even if I disagree. But I just don't see what the reasonable police position could be here, apart from the police forces that actually engaged with protestors (ie their employers) about their concerns. The hostile police would seem to insist on asserting baseless anti-American top-down control without reason or responsibility, similar to Trump, which explains the sympatico.

Constructively, maybe if the protestors do "overrun" the cops, then the protestors could setup a new justice system, arrest the criminal conspiracies, and try them under RICO. If there were enough protestors willing to work this justice system, it could even be a good time for cities to say farewell to the incumbent union and hire the new system to keep order instead.

But practically yes I agree things will get ugly if we keep going down this path. But since the police are over the line by aggressing against basic American values, the only peaceful resolution is for them to simply stand down and stop attacking protests. I don't see any other option that wouldn't be bargaining with totalitarianism.


They're not scared overall though. Yes, the guys on the front line against the riots, maybe. Those shooting at press, people on their porches, spraying directly in the faces of unarmed people passing by... no, they're not afraid.


Why did the police shoot teargas and pepper spray into the crowd?


My guess would be curfew, crowd was told to leave, and it didn't. That's when teargas starts getting fired from my experience ( crowd told to go home and it doesn't ).


I read this as "stop using your constitutional right to protest or we will attack you". These curfews are clearly being used to suppress protests, and I think disobedience is crucial here and does not justify police brutality in any way against otherwise peaceful protesters. Again as others have pointed out, a small group of violent protestors does not give police the right to attack clearly nonviolent protestors either.

I think if we banned police from getting near these protests at all / only getting involved with people causing physical violence, it would be a great step to actually minimizing the exact things the curfews are intended to address.


To clear the path to some good ol' fashioned bible-thumpin'


To get to the other side.


Without having any sort of insight into police behavior, I'm assuming two likely options:

1. They are given rubber bullets and mace without any form of de-escalation training, so they just use the tools they have at their disposal.

2. Just like any kind of organism, the police force needs to preserve itself and make sure it is necessary. The military doesn't like peace, and the police cannot thrive with peaceful protests. They do what they see fit to make themselves irreplaceable.


I can't speak to your experience, but I've been in multiple riots, and you are right, teargas make some peaceful protestors violent and angry.

From what I've seen, teargas and mace are used after a small minority of protesters become violent and the crowd is lawfully ordered to disperse.

I can't say if these are the right tactics, but I have not seen police use these things for no obvious reason.

The one situation where this wasn't the case is when peaceful protesters were blocking one of the two roads that was going to be used to transport multiple heads of state off of a peninsula after high level discussions. I assume this was due to some security consideration, but I don't know. The crowd was passive.


Police do use teargas and mace for no reason. There are dozens (hundreds?) of videos of exactly that from the last week, including an aerial shot of Seattle PD instigating with mace at point blank range on protesters who were behind a barricade.


Were they lawfully ordered to clear the area before using force?

If the lawful order was give, was it because criminals were using the peaceful protest as cover?


No, and no. Here are some sources:

* https://www.reddit.com/r/Seattle/comments/gv0ru3/this_is_the... - Main reddit thread, with aerial footage of the incident, as well as lots of other sources in the comments

* https://www.facebook.com/omarisal/videos/10220021035848747/ - Livestream of 30+ minutes leading up to the incident. The interesting stuff starts at 26' in, but he gives a lot of good context on the protest leading up to then. The livestreamer was at the front line when they started pepper spraying, and in fact you can even see him in the aerial footage as he's next to a pink umbrella that makes a good landmark. It's very clear from ground eye view the violence was deliberately premeditated and coordinated by SPD and not in response to any immediate threat. No orders to disperse, or do anything else for that matter, are given prior to pepper spray, teargas, and flashbangs.

* https://mobile.twitter.com/izaacmellow/status/12676798206006... - Official SPD story claiming incident is a "riot" and was forced on them: " Crowd has thrown rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers and is attempting to breach barricades one block from the East Precinct."

I don't think you can watch these videos and come to the conclusion that at least in this instance, it's not the protesters rioting but rather the police. Then they're officially lying about it.

Edit: formatting


Who decides when to enforce that law? Who decides if something is lawful or not?


The police.


Normally, in healthy police forces, the police is in contact with protest organisers to cooperate on weeding out the violent troublemakers to ensure the protest remains peaceful. This has always been very effective in many countries, including the US, before US police abandoned this approach and started training for escalation instead.


> 1. They are given rubber bullets and mace without any form of de-escalation training, so they just use the tools they have at their disposal.

From what I've heard , they aren't even using the rubber bullets they way they are designed, but instead in a more dangerous way. Incompetence or maliciousness, take your pick. I wager its a bit of both.


It was the same 20 years ago when I turned up to these things.


Well I would hope that many BHLs or similar, I am a Libertarian, as asking themselves, how did blue cities get to this point. The Democratic Party has been pretty much in control of politics in most major US cities for decades; it is only common rebuttal here on many stories that cities are losing out to rural suburban areas at the national level to Republicans.

The question they should ask is, why did the party turn from the people who put it into power and become beholden to public employee unions which encompass police, fire, education, if not regular government employees. Easy answer, the support where the money comes from. People decry corporate money in politics but this money is more poisonous because of its out sized influence because of pressure they can put on any politician who tries to stand up to them; just go google stories of these unions protesting in the streets of the homes of politicians making moves against them, they have bought billboards and even homes nearby to put pressure down.

TL,DR : This is all about money. The politicians have been more than willing to turn a blind eye to police malfeasance; if not problems in fire departments and education; because the money is too good and the groups involved have very big influence over the citizenry.


How did blue cities get to this point? An interesting observation here is that while the police forces are supposed to represent the populations they serve, the police unions (FOP) endorses Trump and so clearly takes a stand against that representation in "blue" cities.


Were you able to observe whether the police instigated the looting too?


Last I heard, protesting is enshrined in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights and you cannot use the crimes of other people to crack down on all protesters.


So it's ok if the police use violence against protestors because there were a few looters?


The looters take advantage of the chaos apparently willingly and knowingly created by the police.

I'd say holding the protestors responsible for it is a bit missleading.


You think there is a clandestine 400 IQ policy such as this?


The following is a heartfelt text that one of my friends in my PhD program sent. She wishes this to be shared to raise awareness, so I'm sharing here for people who might not have a good understanding of the context. This is related to the relationship between the American police and the black populace, so imo relevant in this context.

"Sorry for this lengthy message but here goes: My ancestors are African and Native American. My African ancestors were taken from Africa, brought here to America, beat and killed, and forced to be slaves since the late 1600s. Of course as slaves you have no rights, so my great-great grandmother was raped, which is how my my branch of the family came about. So I actually have white and black ancestors. The Civil War occurred, which most people think the north fought to help free slaves, but actually the north just didn't want the south to have slaves anymore because it was giving the south an economic advantage - not because they wanted to free black people. And although the north won, no one told slaves in the south this for many years, so they had no idea because they were not allowed to read. But eventually the word was spread and black people learned that they were technically free, but they could not own land, so they had no where to go. A few more benevolent slave masters gave some land to the slaves because, like my ancestors they were raped by the slave master and therefore the kids were part-family. This is why you see different shades of black people in America. My grandfather (born 1920) was forced to flee Texas as a young boy in fear for his life. He could've been another Emit Till. If you don't know who Emit Till is, please, please just search the name. It will break your heart (Also sidenote: the woman who was the cause of the Emit Till murder announced on her deathbed that she lied about it all). Moving along...so my grandfather moved to Detroit where things were just a little better for black people. He was the only black person in his engineering program at Michigan State, and endured brutality and abuse for just trying to get an education. Then we had WW2 where he was not allowed to vote or have rights, but served as a Tuskegee Airman, a troup of all black pilots who literally saved America's ass from Germany. If it were not for the Tuskegee Airman, we would have lost WW2. But he comes back after the war, and still has no rights, no freedoms. Blacks and whites were segregated and when black people made our own financial district and economy it was burned to the ground because it threatened white capitalism (see 1921 burning of black wallstreet in Tulsa Oklahoma). And then Jim Crow laws were put into place. Basically this meant that white people could legally discriminate against black people, which also included violent acts without repercussions. POLICE were created during this time to literally "police" black people because the slave masters did not have control anymore. So police did the slave master's dirty work and it was still legal. This is why people are protesting against police brutality with a focus on black lives. Because the police were specifically created to take our lives, but not the lives of others. And you can see this today, for example George Floyd. So when people say "all lives matter" it is just another way of covering up the real reason police were created, and it hurts that 400 years later we are still trying to get justice, within a country that we literally built with our black hands. We are the economy, which is why when we created our own economy, it rocked the US economy so much that they burned it down. We have tried to march peacefully, we have tried to kneel peacefully, we have tried to protest peacefully, and it has gotten us nowhere. So that is why many people feel that the only option left to make our voices heard is to hurt the economy. And that's what the rioting and looting is about. I'm not saying I condone it, but believe me, I understand it. Also if you have been following any of it, the vast majority of people being violent and breaking things are not black people, but actually white supremacists who dress up as protesters. They are trying to make black people seem violent so that the police take violent action against the protestors. Things are never as simple as they seem, so you have to know the history to understand the full scope if the situation, and guess what....they took the real history out of the textbooks! So yes, this is a heavy time for black people and I hope you all can start to understand why this is happening. Thank you for reading and being open-minded."


I am not a bleeding heart liberal in Austin, TX but I live downtown and check it out everyday on my bike, I've seen the same thing.


Consider that the police are heavily networked, whereas the crowd is not. It's possible that one section of the crowd is antagonizing the police, the police respond as a whole, but you have no idea why because you were 200' away in a different section of the crowd and didn't know about what that other section was doing.

> that the police is desperately trying to set a narrative to justify a history of violence by escalating more violence, but please, someone, restore my faith.

The police is composed of a bunch of individuals. It is highly unlikely that there is any kind of conspiracy to set the narrative of excessive violence by being...excessively violent? It doesn't even logically follow.


I'd say people misbehaving doesn't justify attacking non-violent people 200' away from that. Many examples of the recent days can not explained by "someone nearby did something, so it was an unlucky accident", and their police departments and local governments don't seem to care all that much. Which is fueling the anger, given this happens at protests against overreacting/overly aggressive police.


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