“Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine recognized a car from an Amber Alert and took quick action — calling police and blocking the vehicle with their truck — to rescue a 10-year-old girl who had been kidnapped.”
Watch it all.
“Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine recognized a car from an Amber Alert and took quick action — calling police and blocking the vehicle with their truck — to rescue a 10-year-old girl who had been kidnapped.”
Watch it all.
Charleston’s police chief warned South Carolina lawmakers a proposal to let trained gun owners carry their weapons openly could endanger public safety and make the jobs of law enforcement officers more difficult.
Chief Luther Reynolds was one of dozens of South Carolinians who testified Feb. 10 in opposition to the bill, joining several doctors and self-identified gun owners who said they fear the bill could lead to more violence and anxiety on the streets.
The opponents outnumbered the six supporters who testified in favor of the measure by saying they believe the training aspect will ensure guns are handled responsibly and noting that South Carolina is one of only five states that does not have any form of open carry law on the books.
Charleston's police chief warned SC lawmakers against passing an "open carry with training" gun bill today, saying it would endanger public safety.
A subcommittee approved it 3-1 anyway, keeping it on track to pass the House within the next few weeks.https://t.co/WI8bZ4LX1D
— Jamie Lovegrove (@jslovegrove) February 10, 2021
#OTD in 1709 @EpworthOld rectory, where 5 yr old John Wesley lived, caught fire. The family managed to escape, but John was trapped inside. A human ladder was formed to rescue him. All the family survived and Wesley truly was ‘a brand plucked from the burning’@MethodistHerit pic.twitter.com/u8qMGVmuuM
— Museum of Methodism (@museummethodism) February 9, 2021
When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform’s contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site’s users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now one website has done the work of cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup.
Late last week, a website called Faces of the Riot appeared online, showing nothing but a vast grid of more than 6,000 images of faces, each one tagged only with a string of characters associated with the Parler video in which it appeared. The site’s creator tells WIRED that he used simple open source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face from the 827 videos that were posted to Parler from inside and outside the Capitol building on January 6, the day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that resulted in five people’s deaths. The creator of Faces of the Riot says his goal is to allow anyone to easily sort through the faces pulled from those videos to identify someone they may know or recognize who took part in the mob, or even to reference the collected faces against FBI wanted posters and send a tip to law enforcement if they spot someone.
“Everybody who is participating in this violence, what really amounts to an insurrection, should be held accountable,” says the site’s creator, who asked for anonymity to avoid retaliation. “It’s entirely possible that a lot of people who were on this website now will face real-life consequences for their actions.”
New site features pictures of the faces of thousands of insurrectionists who attacked the capital, scrubbed from video. Site creator: "Everybody who is participating in this violence, what really amounts to an insurrection, should be held accountable." https://t.co/47toeUIIvS
— Michael S. Derby (@michaelsderby) January 21, 2021
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force released new numbers from 2020 showing the scourge is not going away and COVID-19 has only made things worse, as traffickers prey on the most vulnerable.
Traffickers look for vulnerabilities and exploit them. Fresh data from the report on how victims become ensnared by traffickers shows most of the time it starts with an ad for a job. Other times the trafficker is familiar with the victim– an intimate partner or the victim becomes indebted by receiving a loan. Soon the victim is coerced, manipulated and trapped.
“It presents a public health and a public safety issue that violates basic human rights,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson at a press conference from the Statehouse on Jan. 11.
Today is #WearBlueDay for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Our office just released the HT Annual Report, which you can read at https://t.co/fzF7DwW58v. Goes into the scope of the problem in SC and what’s being done about it. @DHSBlueCampaign pic.twitter.com/sLCAJ9Ortd
— SC Attorney General (@SCAttyGenOffice) January 11, 2021
AWKA, Nigeria — In the small family portrait gallery hanging above the television in the cozy home of the Iloanya family, only two framed photographs remain that include the youngest son, Chijioke.
He disappeared eight years ago. His parents, Hope and Emmanuel, last saw him in handcuffs in a police station run by the feared unit known as SARS — the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
They have been searching for him ever since, along the way encountering an industry of merchants peddling hope: lawyers, human rights groups and the churches and pastors who asked for the photographs of Chijioke, promising to pray over them and help bring him back.
“They give you a prophecy that he will come back,” said Hope, a devout woman of 53, staring at the gaps on her salmon-pink wall. “Whatever they tell you to do, you do it.”
When a family’s child is taken by police, strangers show up on their doorstep. Promising help and wanting money.https://t.co/6UHgf8xVTX
— Ruth Maclean (@ruthmaclean) December 23, 2020
Police have apologised to a church minister after officers interrupted a lawful service in Milton Keynes and told him he would be prosecuted for breaking Covid regulations.
Pastor Daniel Mateola normally preaches to a full church, but since communal worship is banned under Covid rules, his congregation gets support from online worship instead.
Services are filmed professionally and streamed online, but last Friday worship was interrupted by the police who said there were too many people present.
To avoid confrontation, the church sent their five musicians home but police said the film crew was too big and called seven more officers as back up.
Pastor Daniel said: “It was very challenging, very intimidating, at one point a little bit scary too. At one point I was thinking, what’s going on here?
— Elodie Harper (@ElodieITV) December 1, 2020
The violence followed two weeks of largely peaceful demonstrations that prompted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the undercover police unit at the center of the dispute and that critics have long blasted as abusive.
But hundreds returned to the streets Wednesday — despite a 24-hour curfew enforced by riot officers — and thousands more joined solidarity marches in other countries, saying past attempts at ending police brutality in Nigeria had fallen short. Protesters in Lagos, a metropolis of approximately 20 million, said they would not stop until wrongdoers in law enforcement are brought to justice.
Nigerian protesters say security forces fired on them amid growing global outrage https://t.co/n8jTHEfHSi
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 21, 2020
In a new Apple ad, a man on a city bus announces he has just shopped for divorce lawyers. Then a woman recites her credit card number through a megaphone in a park. “Some things shouldn’t be shared,” the ad says, “iPhone helps keep it that way.”
Apple has built complex encryption into iPhones and made the devices’ security central to its marketing pitch.
That, in turn, has angered law enforcement. Officials from the F.B.I. director to rural sheriffs have argued that encrypted phones stifle their work to catch and convict dangerous criminals. They have tried to force Apple and Google to unlock suspects’ phones, but the companies say they can’t. In response, the authorities have put their own marketing spin on the problem. Law enforcement, they say, is “going dark.”
Yet new data reveals a twist to the encryption debate that undercuts both sides: Law enforcement officials across the nation regularly break into encrypted smartphones.
With more tools in their arsenal to unlock phones, the authorities have used them in an increasing range of cases, from homicides to shoplifting https://t.co/mKNHsDGc2T
— NYT Business (@nytimesbusiness) October 21, 2020
Tens of thousands of protesters brought the largest city in Africa to a standstill on Monday, mounting the biggest demonstration in a two-week campaign against police brutality and escalating a standoff with a government that has pledged to restore order.
Groups of placard-waving protesters blocked major roads across Lagos, Nigeria’s sprawling commercial capital and home to an estimated 20 million people. The city’s Ibadan expressway, the country’s busiest road, was blocked by groups chanting: “We want change.” Protesters closed off the city’s airport and stormed the terminal. In a city infamous for hourslong traffic jams, columns of Lagos residents could be seen walking along emptied streets and causeways.
The Lagos protests were the largest of a series of demonstrations on Monday across the West African nation of 206 million people that appeared to significantly raise the temperature between demonstrators and the government.
Tens of thousands of people brought the largest city in Africa to a standstill on Monday, mounting the biggest demonstration in a two-week campaign against police brutality https://t.co/kFDY15g8Tr
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 19, 2020
The chief said that under the tense circumstances following the indictment by the grand jury Wednesday, he is “very concerned for the safety of [his] officers.”
Hundreds of protesters swiftly began demonstrations calling for justice for Breonna Taylor after a grand jury decided to indict just one of the three Louisville Metropolitan Police officers who fired nearly two dozen bullets into her apartment, killing the 26-year-old during a no-knock raid.
City and state officials, who have been expecting a decision from the grand jury all week after months of outrage and anticipation, were braced for widespread protests, preemptively calling for reinforcements from the National Guard.
New story on NPR: 2 Louisville Police Officers Shot After Charges In Breonna Taylor Case Spark Protests https://t.co/vws4Pd5hXF
— Todd S. Stewart (@ToddSStewart) September 24, 2020
If you are searching for a view of the intellectual and moral slack the American far-Left is cutting itself, look no further than gentle old National Public Radio. More than a decade ago, when I lived in the US, NPR was genially Left-of-centre, but not aggressively so. Last week it revealed itself to be — in the eyes of many Americans — quite unhinged, publishing an interview with Vicky Osterweil, the author of a book called In Defense of Looting.
Osterweil made two assertions, the first being that looting is justified because it attacks the idea of private property and the world of work: “So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.”
The second is that stealing from shops is part of the wider movement for change in America: “Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police,” she said: “It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be. And I think that’s a part of it that doesn’t really get talked about — that riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory.”
None of this is robustly challenged, and this was not some sociology professor playing with edgy thoughts on campus — it was an interview conducted and disseminated by one of the most important mainstream broadcasters in the USA, a non-profit devoted to ideals of impartiality and truth.
The American Left is spiralling out of control. By the BBC’s former US correspondent. https://t.co/gfEFPzwHmg
— Jules Evans (@JulesEvans11) September 7, 2020
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Jesus’ resurrection three days after his crucifixion shows that neither the lynching tree nor the cross have the final say about those whom God values. The state thought that violence could stop God’s purposes. For the Christian, the resurrection makes clear the futility of the attempt. Further, Jesus’ profound act of forgiving his opponents provides me with the theological resources to hope.
Dare we speak of hope when chants of “I can’t breathe” echo in the streets? Do we risk the criticism commonly levied at Christians that we move too quickly to hope because faith pacifies? Resurrection hope doesn’t remove the Christian from the struggle for justice. It empties the state’s greatest weapon — the fear of death — of its power.
Hope is possible if we recognize that it does not rule out justice. It is what separates justice from vengeance. Howard Thurman wrote in his classic work “Jesus and the Disinherited” about how rage, once unleashed, tends to spill out beyond its intended target and consume everything. The hatred of our enemy that we take to the streets returns with us to our friendships, marriages and communities. It damages our own souls.
Christians contend for justice because we care about black lives, families and communities. We contend for reconciliation after the establishment of justice because there must be a future that is more than mutual contempt and suspicion. But justice and reconciliation cannot come at the cost of black lives. The only peaceful future is a just future. And because Christians should be a people for peace, we must be a people for justice even when it seems ever to elude us. Too many black lives have been lost to accept anything else.
— Esau McCaulley Ph.D (@esaumccaulley) June 14, 2020
You see, for a long time I was one of the “good blacks,” whom white friends and colleagues and associates and neighbors could turn to in order to be reassured that they weren’t racist, that America really had made a lot of racial progress since its founding, that I was an example of that progress because of the success I had attained after all I had faced and overcome.
For a long time, I wasn’t an angry black man even after growing up in an underfunded school that was still segregated four decades after Brown v. Board of Education in the heart of the Deep South.
I wasn’t angry even when I watched my oldest brother, my hero, be taken away in handcuffs for murdering a white man when I was a 9-year-old boy. He served 32 years, upending our family forever. Guilt is what I felt instead of anger. It’s akin to the guilt white liberals who go overboard in their efforts feel and are often guided by as they try to appease black people because of the racial harm they know black people have suffered since before this country’s founding.
Mine was a black guilt, a guilt stemming from the knowledge that my black brother had irreparably hurt a poor white family, guilt that helped persuade me to try to make it up to white people as best I could.
That’s why for a long time in my writings, I was more likely to focus on all the white people who didn’t yell “Nigger!” out their windows as they drove by as I jogged along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C., instead of those who did. That’s why I spent nearly two decades in a mostly white evangelical church. That’s why I tried to thread the needle on the Confederate flag, speaking forthrightly about its origins, but carefully so as not to upset my white friends and colleagues who revered a symbol of the idea that black people should forever be enslaved by white people.
Still, for a long time, none of that turned me into an angry black man….
Opinion | I’m Finally an Angry Black Man – The New York Times
This in part is why I wrote my most recent essay on black rage. This essay is a must-read. https://t.co/GZ094CBQXR
— Danté Stewart (Stew) (@stewartdantec) June 7, 2020
To stand in the breach, to kneel in the place prayer is to hold all of this in our hearts before God: the young marching in peaceful protest; a looter and burglar fleeing the scene of violence perpetrated by his companion in crime; and all the George Floyds and David Dorns of the world . It is not only to stand in the breach, it is to have one’s heart enlarged. In the words of Edwin Corley, intercession “… is the principle by which praying people allow their own spiritual hearts to become enlarged enough to take on [through prayer] the care of others.” To share in the compassion of Jesus Christ for this world where so many people are like sheep without shepherds. To ask God’s Spirit to address our own “…feelings that have become calloused and remote for most of the people around [us].” May God work in us a deep feeling of love and compassion for His people. So we lift up those suffering from the Covid-19; those working for a vaccine and cure; those burying their loved ones either from the pandemic, the street violence or the normal stuff of life; for those who have lost their business and jobs from quarantine or fire, rioting and looting; for those who continue to suffer the weight of racial injustice; for police officers who risk their lives in their daily round of duty; and those for whom the killing of George Floyd makes the world feel less safe. That may sound almost like a litany. It is—or at least a prayer list. We pray for the light of Christ to come into our darkened world, and after this week of prayer and fasting to show each of us what the next step is, so we might fulfill the promise of our Lord. “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
— Anglican Diocese of SC (@anglican_sc) March 18, 2020
Bishops across the country led Anglicans in ‘taking the knee’ to mark the death of American George Floyd and to highlight injustice in British society.
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Martyn Snow, led others in kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a US police officer knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck.
Bishop Snow said: “I am deeply shocked by the appalling brutality we have seen against black people in America and I stand alongside those who are suffering and peacefully calling for urgent change, as well as committing to make changes in our own lives and the institutions we are part of.
“Structural and systemic racial prejudice exists across societies and institutions and we must act to change that, as well as addressing our own unconscious biases that lead us to discriminate against others.” Earlier this year he led the General Synod in a vote to apologise for racism in the Church.
Read it all (subscription).
As her church distributed masks and hand sanitizer as it does each Friday, the Rev. Traci Blackmon said that black churches “have always been on the bottom rung ladder of all of this.”
“We’ve always had to figure out how to take care of our community, to take care of our neighborhoods and take care of our seniors, even when the economy is booming,” said Blackmon, associate general minister of justice at the United Church of Christ, who leads a church in Florissant, Mo. “So in some ways, we’re ahead of the game with this, because we know how to survive with less, because we’ve always had to survive.”
She said that “the way we are accustomed to being governed in this country is being challenged in ways that it has not been challenged in recent history before.”
“So I think it is all erupting and that makes this moment very different because we are in this moment partly created by a lack of leadership,” she added. “And now we have to navigate this moment without leadership.”
Black America has been hit harder by the virus and job losses. https://t.co/j1PmB3C4Vw
— Ninja Economics (@NinjaEconomics) June 8, 2020
So now I sit in a different place. But where do I stand? I believe the following things to be true:
It’s hard even to begin to describe all the ramifications of 345 years of legalized oppression and 56 years of contentious change, but we can say two things at once—yes, we have made great strides (and we should acknowledge that fact and remember the men and women who made it possible), but the central and salient consideration of American racial politics shouldn’t center around pride in how far we’ve come, but in humble realization of how much farther we have to go.
Moreover, taking the next steps down that road will have to mean shedding our partisan baggage. It means acknowledging and understanding that the person who is wrong on abortion and health care may be right about police brutality. It means being less outraged at a knee on football turf than at a knee on a man’s neck. And it means declaring that even though we may not agree on everything about race and American life, we can agree on some things, and we can unite where we agree.
The central and salient consideration of American racial politics shouldn’t center around pride in how far we’ve come, but in humble realization of how much farther we have to go.
A story of personal change: https://t.co/BaPWDkwIVM
— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 7, 2020
The very least we can do is make a concerted effort to legitimize the pain and anger of African Americans, while defending the constitutionally protected right to protest. But this must also be paired with an unconditional condemnation of looting, stealing, smashing, burning, and destroying lives and property — none of which is protest, and all of which will succeed only in further rending the social fabric while giving would-be authoritarians pretext to crack down in the name of the public good.
If that much proves impossible for us to manage, we will have failed. And in that failure, we will have demonstrated before the world that we did all of this to ourselves.
— The Week (@TheWeek) June 6, 2020
We remember that throughout Scripture, God shows particular care for those who are most vulnerable, he commands authorities to be characterized by righteousness and justice, and he holds nations accountable for how they treat the least powerful groups and persons in their societies.
We recognize the pervasiveness of sin, we acknowledge that the bloody history of racially motivated violence in the United States continues to this day, we denounce any doctrine of racial superiority, and we join the many calls for systemic change in a nation that has often failed to uphold God’s vision of justice and has persistently worked against people of color. We pray that local officials will exercise their authority to pursue justice for Mr. Arbery, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Floyd, and countless others whose stories have been neglected.
We repent of the ways that we as Christians have far too often failed to adequately stand against the evil of racism and violence: diminishing its severity, averting our gazes, and even perpetuating such injustice deliberately or complicitly.
We realize that for many of our brothers and sisters, the revelation of these deaths is but another reminder of an everyday reality, and that even now as we lament the loss of these lives, many others are overlooked while being subjected to cruelty and death due to the color of their skin. Even still, we remember that “nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”
As an African American parent, Cassandre Dunbar in Charlotte, North Carolina, always knew she and her husband would have “the talk” with their son, the one preparing him for interactions with law enforcement.
But she never dreamed it would be necessary at 5 years old.
“I thought the cops were supposed to help us? Are they only helpful to white people?” he asked after taking in TV coverage of protests and overhearing his parents discuss the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Ms. Dunbar explained to her eldest child: “Some people have a hard time understanding that skin color doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of person you are. I said that, yes, cops are meant to help us all, but some cops aren’t good cops and the bad ones really aren’t helpful to people who look like us.”
Many parents of all races are struggling with similar conversations after a week of outrage and sadness that spilled into streets worldwide after video of Mr. Floyd’s death emerged. It came after months of family togetherness in coronavirus lockdown, a time when kids have been cut off from schools and peers.
Research suggests children as young as two begin internalizing racist ideas. Amid the unrest around protests, parents and educators are flocking to anti-racism literature to help navigate challenging conversations. https://t.co/z0S97jwRfL
— The Christian Science Monitor (@csmonitor) June 4, 2020
According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, where race relations can also be tense, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. The American gap is narrower than it was in 1970, when African-Americans earned only half as much as whites. But all the improvement happened between 1970 and 2000, and since then things have worsened again. The black income gap has been eased somewhat by post-covid federal spending increases. But it may soon yawn wider because African-Americans have many of the low- or unskilled jobs that could be most vulnerable to a coronavirus recession.
Income numbers understate the real economic disparities because they only describe people who are in work. According to a study by Patrick Bayer of Duke University and Kerwin Charles of the University of Chicago, a stunning 35% of young black men are unemployed or out of the workforce altogether, twice the share of whites. This huge number seems to be connected with the high incarceration rates of African-Americans: besides those in jail, many have given up looking for work because employers will not offer jobs to former felons. Hence the judicial disparities at the heart of the protests over Mr Floyd also reinforce income and job inequalities.
The wealth gap between blacks and whites is even wider than the income gap.
In 2017 the median net worth of black Americans was only a tenth that of white Americans. The gap is the same as it was in 1990 https://t.co/s3WbNn8JNI
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 4, 2020
We have all been stirred by the events surrounding the death of George Floyd as well as the protests happening across the country. I wrote, “George Floyd, a Central Park 911 Call, and All the Places Without Cameras,” last week. Over the weekend, I invited John Richards to write a guest post, “Letter From a Quarantined Home: Expressing Disappointment with Some of My White Brothers and Sisters in Christ.”
To better understand the reaction to his death, to think about how we can respond as believers to the protests, and to consdider how we should address looting and riots, I interviewed my colleague and friend Esau McCaulley. The following multi-part series will walk us through that important interview. You can listen to that interview on my Moody Radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, right here. Or, we will post the interview in several parts here.
Read it all (and make sure to catch all 4 parts).
— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) June 2, 2020
The Republican politicisation of protests has continued to the present. Donald Trump’s rise in 2016 has been linked to his continuing campaign against immigration across the southern border, but many of his supporters may have had the Ferguson and Baltimore riots of the mid-2010s in the back of their mind. It is no empty generalisation to say that Republicans rely on whites—and Democrats, non-whites—for their electoral successes; according to a study published by the Pew Research Centre on June 2nd, 81% of Republican voters are white, whereas only 59% of Democrats are. Offered a choice between Joe Biden and Mr Trump, African-Americans pick the Democrats’ presidential candidate nearly 90% of the time, according to The Economist’s latest polling data from YouGov.
The Republican Party’s increasing whiteness over the years has made it less amenable to making progress on racial justice. Although white voters generally agree with African-Americans’ grievances on police brutality, they focus on the violence and looting in the ensuing protests rather than on the broader social context. A majority of both whites and Republicans told YouGov that they thought race was a major or minor cause of George Floyd’s death, for example. But most also said that the protests were the result of black Americans’ “long-standing bias against the police” rather than “a genuine desire to hold police officers accountable”.
White Democrats, on the other hand, have moved to the left on racial issues, a product of political polarisation and “partisan sorting”. As Democratic elites adopted the ideas of African-American activists, so did the liberal whites who remained in the party. This has also changed the portrait of the average protester. Black Americans protesting against police violence are now joined by whites and Hispanics, the young and the old. Demonstrating against police brutality has become political and ideological, not just racial.
America’s political parties have not only grown further apart racially; they have also become angrier at each other https://t.co/RYKEWsiUCQ
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 2, 2020
Consider what we have experienced in recent days and weeks:
— ACNA (@The_ACNA) June 2, 2020
“Recent events in the United States of America have once again drawn public attention to the ongoing evil of white supremacy. Systemic racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. Our hearts weep for the suffering caused – for those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced persecution, those who live in fear. God’s justice and love for all creation demands that this evil is properly confronted and tackled. Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.
“As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘In a real sense, we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Therefore, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
“We pray that God’s abounding wisdom, compassion and love will guide leaders across the world to forge a better society.”
“Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated.”
— The Church of England (@churchofengland) June 2, 2020
How do you think our current era of criminal justice and policing is a continuation of that past?
I think the police have been the face of oppression in many ways. Even before the Civil War, law enforcement was complicit in sustaining enslavement. It was the police who were tasked with tracking down fugitive slaves from 1850 onwards in the north. After emancipation, it was law enforcement that stepped back and allowed black communities to be terrorized and victimized. We had an overthrow of government during Reconstruction, and law enforcement facilitated that. Then, throughout the first half of the twentieth century, it was law enforcement and police and our justice system that allowed people to be lynched by white mobs, sometimes literally on the courthouse lawn, and allowed the perpetrators of that terror and violence to engage in these acts of murder with impunity. They were even complicit in it. And, as courageous black people began to advocate for civil rights in the nineteen-fifties and nineteen-sixties, when these older, nonviolent black Americans would literally be on their knees, praying, they were battered and bloodied by uniformed police officers. That identity of violence and oppression is not something we can ignore. We have to address it. But, rather than address it, since the nineteen-sixties, we have been trying to distract ourselves from it and not acknowledge it, and not own up to it, and all of our efforts have been compromised by this refusal to recognize that we need to radically change the culture of police.
Now, the police are an extension of our larger society, and, when we try to disconnect them from the justice system and the lawmakers and the policymakers, we don’t accurately get at it. The history of this country, when it comes to racial justice and social justice, unlike what we do in other areas, is, like, O.K., it’s 1865, we won’t enslave you and traffic you anymore, and they were forced to make that agreement. And then, after a half century of mob lynching, it’s, like, O.K., we won’t allow the mobs to pull you out of the jail and lynch you anymore. And that came after pressure. And then it was, O.K., we won’t legally block you from voting, and legally prevent you from going into restaurants and public accommodations.
But at no point was there an acknowledgement that we were wrong and we are sorry. It was always compelled, by the Union Army, by international pressure, by the federal courts, and that dynamic has meant that there is no more remorse or regret or consciousness of wrongdoing. The police don’t think they did anything wrong over the past fifty or sixty years. And so, in that respect, we have created a culture that allows our police departments to see themselves as agents of control, and that culture has to shift. And this goes beyond the dynamics of race. We have created a culture where police officers think of themselves as warriors, not guardians.
“Everything we are seeing is a symptom of a larger disease”: the civil-rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson on the frustration and despair behind this week’s protests.https://t.co/wbewSqvEBH
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) June 1, 2020
Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people out of their homes and onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases.
While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus.
More than 100,000 Americans have already died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. People of color have been particularly hard hit, with rates of hospitalizations and deaths among black Americans far exceeding those of whites.
The protests in dozens of cities have been spurred most recently by the death last week of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis. But the unrest and outrage spilling out into the streets from one city to the next also reflects the dual, cumulative tensions arising from decades of killings by police and the sudden losses of family and friends from the virus.
“Tear gas & pepper spray, which police have used to disperse crowds, increase respiratory secretions from the eyes nose & mouth further enhancing transmission. Police efforts to move crowds can result in corralling people closer together into tight spaces”https://t.co/nKEyXdqHPM
— Amy Coopes (@coopesdetat) June 1, 2020