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Police Brutality

How to Fight Police Violence Beyond Just Posting About It

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Bearing witness to the historic reckoning with systemic racism, and amplifying dialogue to drive change that delivers on the promise of racial equality.

Police violence against Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people feels unceasing. Over the last week alone, we’ve heard testimony at the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. We’ve watched as Daunte Wright was killed by police, ten minutes away from Minneapolis, in the culmination of a traffic stop over air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. We’ve watched as Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability released a horrifically graphic video of a 13 year old boy, Adam Toledo, being shot by police. 

As a Black person in the United States, my grief and fear is mounting. Each day, it feels harder to exist in this country. I do need allies, it’s true. Everyone should be outraged and heartbroken about police brutality. But I don’t need friends I haven’t spoken to in months checking on me when a Black person gets murdered, nor do I need gimmicky social media campaigns. I, and other identities targeted by the police across the country, need people to be active collaborators in the fight towards justice. Revolutions don’t happen simply by retweeting infographics or using hashtags twice a month—this means going beyond social media and making this work a core part of your life. Here’s what you can do to actually help.

Learn about and support the movement to abolish the police, full stop.

Abolition might sound unfamiliar or even scary to you. But understanding it and committing to it is one of the most effective things you can do for this freedom movement. 

It is not useful to call for “reforming” the police, either through giving more money to their budgets for bias training or body cameras, or whatever other measure they assure people will make cops stop murdering Black and brown people in the streets. 

“Reform” measures have been proposed and enacted for decades, and nothing has worked. Body cameras were once considered the best deterrent against police violence by some policymakers on the left, who imagined that they would herald a greater sense of shame, accountability, and responsibility for police brutality. Body cameras didn’t stop police violence; they just filmed it. Now, body camera footage is just another medium through which we must be traumatized by gruesome deaths.

Reforms have proven inadequate when it comes to policing and prisons. If the idea of ending policing and prisons makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone: Many people have lived with police and the prison-industrial complex for so long that abolition seems unrealistic at best and dangerous at worst. Instead of then deciding that that warrants a blanket refusal to support one of the most central tenets in the fight against police brutality, do your research. Study the work of abolitionists like Mariame Kaba, whose book We Do This ’Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice will help you only understand why we need a worth without police and prisons, but how we can help shape that world. Learn about alternatives to calling the police. Talk to your pro-cop family and friends about what you find out.

Join a protest.

It’s understandable that some people might feel unsafe participating in protests. Sometimes police respond to protests, like those ignited by the killing of George Floyd, with violence like tear-gassing, shooting rubber bullets, throwing hand grenades, and surveilling and punishing demonstrators. (Depending on a person’s citizenship status or history with law enforcement, they also may not be able to risk arrest.) 

Protesting is still one of the most powerful tools we have for enacting social change. To maximize your impact, consider connecting with Black-led organizations (your local Black Lives Matter chapter is a good place to start) and ask what specific help they might need on the ground. Because protests often need people to help uphold COVID-19 precautions and respond to police-inflicted injuries, you might be of use as a volunteer medic. If you’re white at an anti-racist protest, you can show support by becoming a barrier between Black people and the police, which was a widespread practice during the George Floyd uprisings.

Support incarcerated people.

The prison-industrial complex and brutal policing are intertwined. Supporting those on the inside who have been imprisoned and abused to feed this leviathan is a necessary, even holy, act. Mariame Kaba, the abolitionist writer and actor I mentioned earlier, compiled a list of nine actions you can take to support incarcerated people. A basic way to get started is to send letters—prison can be crushingly lonely, and contact is a human necessity. You can also donate to commissary accounts, send books, call your governors and representatives about issues affecting incarcerated people, and offer free mental health or legal help if you’re a professional in those fields or know people who would be willing to donate their services and time.

Donate to bail funds, mutual aid groups, and individual people who need financial support.

Donating to giant nonprofits isn’t inherently harmful or meaningless, but putting that money directly into the hands of people on the front lines, including individuals, mutual aid groups, and established bail funds, can make immediate changes in their circumstances.

It’s commonplace now for families whose loved ones have been killed or injured by police to set up fundraisers, as Daunte Wright’s family has done. Otherwise, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people fighting on the front lines or who have been injured or impacted by police violence, may be accepting money via Venmo, PayPal, or CashApp. If you see someone you’d like to help who isn’t actively crowdfunding, ask them if it’s OK to drop some money in their account. It’s a simple thing, but, if you can afford it, do it. You could be paying for their necessities, bills, self-care needs, or a therapy session. If someone is dealing with situations that put them into a lot of police contact, consider seeing if they could use your help to set up a fundraiser—putting in the effort of creating and amplifying a place where they can receive donations might help them out tremendously. 

Protestors are being arrested all over the country, and many need cash bail to be released. The National Bail Fund Network has a large directory of community bail funds to donate to. If they become overwhelmed with donations, they will often redirect you to other community mutual aid groups like these: The Philadelphia Mutual Aid Fund, The D.C. Mutual Aid Fund, and the Detroit Sex Worker Mutual Aid Fund. Here are some funds to check out and give to: 

Call or text your elected officials—yes, even though Trump is gone.

Police brutality is still flourishing, even after the administration change. Continue to call your elected officials every day and tell them that you demand this violence stop. Use this directory of federal, state, and local elected officials to point you in the right place. If you’re not sure who to call, here’s a primer on finding the best elected official to speak to about a given issue. Here’s a basic guide to calling policymakers about police violence, if you need tips about what to actually say.

Use ResistBot for another amazing, quick way to get in touch with politicians—you can simply send a text that will be sent to your officials as a fax or an email. (It’s free to use, but consider making a donation to offset the service’s operating costs.)

Convince your academic institution to divest from policing, mass incarceration, and fossil fuels.

Many academic institutions have financial connections to policing and mass incarceration, or to environmentally deleterious investments and endowments that have destructive consequences on, particularly, nonwhite people’s homes and health. Start a divestment campaign to pressure them to withdraw from those financial relationships. Black students and allies at Harvard University have been doing this work for a long time. Campus policing is also corrupt—and often overlooked. Amplify grassroots efforts that you’re involved in on the ground, in community with others. 

Follow Nylah Burton on Twitter.

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Police Brutality

Thousands Protest Against Alleged Police Brutality – The Berlin Spectator

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In Berlin, some 5,000 people rallied against claimed brutality and racism in the German police on Saturday. Some participants even demanded an abolition of the police as a whole.

Berlin, May 8th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — There were “too many isolated cases” of police brutality in Germany, a banner at one of today’s largest protests read. Organized by left-wing groups, participants said they wanted to abolish the police altogether. “All of Berlin hates the police”, people chanted while they marched through Kreuzberg. The accuracy of some of their claims did not seem to be too important.

Strong Presence, Low Profile

“Against racism and Nazis in the security authorities”, a big banner held by six protesters read. “You are the problem”, “Stop racial profiling”, “Stop police violence” and “Stop the Nazi networks in the police and the military” other signs said. Cops were accused of being fascists as well.

The very same police the protesters provoked with baseless allegations kept a low profile, probably in order to make sure they did not provide a target for the radicals among the many demonstrators. A total of 1,300 officers protected the city from them. The Berlin Police Department ordered a strong presence because they feared protesters would attack them again, as they did during a “Revolutionary May 1st Protest” a week ago, but the officers stayed in the background as much as possible. On May 1st, all policemen and policewomen on duty had come in full riot gear. This time, they did not.

Fireworks Lit on Roofs

The rally was peaceful as it moved through Berlin’s Kreuzberg borough towards the Neukölln district. At Hasenheide, a major street, the march stopped when police temporarily arrested a man who had scrawled something on construction site fences with a big marker. Once the officers let him go, the rally continued. During the event, a spokeslady for the police confirmed it had been peaceful. Some little incidents were reported. Unknown individuals lit illegal pyrotechnic articles from the roofs of buildings the rally passed.

Almost all protesters wore protective masks. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The reality is that there have been some police scandals in recent months, for instance about officers in the federal states of Hesse and Berlin who were caught exchanging racist views and Nazi propaganda in chat groups. But, especially in Berlin, the state government is putting a lot of effort into combatting racism and other forms of extremism in its police force. Last summer, Interior Senator Andreas Geisel and Police Chief Barbara Slowik even introduced an extremism prevention concept designed to filter out extremist individuals before they even become police officers.

There were dozens of protests in Berlin today. On this 76th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, the victims of fascism were supposed to be commemorated at a big event in the German capital’s Alt-Treptow neighborhood.

We have a request: The Berlin Spectator has been online for 28 months. We deliver the most relevant news from Germany along with features about Berlin, culture, people, tourist magnets and other subjects, and we garnish the whole thing with entertainment and other extras. The Berlin Spectator thanks the thousands of readers we have every day.
But we also need support. Would you consider supporting The Berlin Spectator? You can do so directly via Paypal or you can go to our Donation Page first. Thank you so much. We would really appreciate your support.

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Police Brutality

Almagro condemns vandalism and police brutality in Colombia — MercoPress

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Almagro condemns vandalism and police brutality in Colombia

Saturday, May 8th 2021 – 08:41 UTC

“The OAS General Secretariat recognizes peaceful protest as a fundamental basic right that must be protected by democratic institutions,” Almagro said.
“The OAS General Secretariat recognizes peaceful protest as a fundamental basic right that must be protected by democratic institutions,” Almagro said.

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro Friday condemned “the cases of torture and murders committed by the forces of order” in Colombia where unrest reigns supreme since April 28.

 

Multiple protests have taken place in Colombia since President Iván Duque submitted to Congress a tax reform bill which was going to be easy on the wealthiest and harsh on the middle class in contrast to the world’s current trend of shifting the burden towards those who can afford it, as it has already been the case in Argentina and Bolivia and which is encouraged by world leaders such as US President Joseph Biden or United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

 

These demonstrations have been crushed by police forces with unprecedented brutality which the world was able to witness through homemade videos that went viral over social media. Colombia has so far recorded 37 violent deaths this year according to the NGO Tremors.

“The OAS General Secretariat recognizes peaceful protest as a fundamental basic right that must be protected by democratic institutions,” Almagro said.

He added that “ the right to protest is a right of individuals and society and must be highly valued as a form of political participation”, he added.

Almagro underlined as well that those who do not protest also have rights and these cannot be violated when fundamental rights of the population such as health, work, education and free movement are affected. “In this sense, the cessation of the blockades is urged when these fundamental rights of the people are violated and a broader social peace is supported within the framework of the demands that they want to make,” said Almagro about road blockades that have affected the normal supply of food and medicines to various cities nationwide.

But he also regretted state-endorsed violence: “We especially condemn the cases of torture and murder committed by the forces of order,“ he said.

”We value the report sent by the Ombudsman’s Office to the Attorney General’s Office regarding the prosecution of criminal responsibility by those members of the public force who have exceeded themselves and who have committed a crime violating fundamental rights of citizenship,“ Almagro went on, as he called for the prosecution of those who have committed actions of a terrorist nature against the institutions and authorities of the State.

”The OAS General Secretariat demands that external and internal actors who induce violence and destabilization of the country stop these actions and calls on organized violent groups to stop their criminal actions,“ Almagro pointed out.

The Organization of American States supports the conversation process led by the national government and calls for all social and political forces to work together towards this goal.

The United Nations have also called for a stop to criminal actions in Colombia and opposed the ”loss of life, incidents of violence and the disproportionate use of the force during protests.” The UN stood in favour of “the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to protest to be guaranteed, and [insisted] that any action by the public force must fully observe the protection and respect for human rights.”

“The Peace Agreement signed in 2016 offers elements to regulate these guarantees and strengthen citizen participation,” the UN said. It also condemned any form of violence, such as vandalism against infrastructure, serious cases of sexual violence and actions that violate human rights, which is why it urged the national government to accelerate the process of ”investigation, prosecution and punishment” of those responsible.

 

 

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Police Brutality

Protests held in Bolivia against Colombia police brutality

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La Paz, May 7 (EFE).- Dozens of people held a demonstration near the Colombian embassy in La Paz to demand an end to the alleged brutal repression of protesters in Colombia, resisting a controversial fiscal reform by President Ivan Duque.

Activists and some Colombian residents had organized the demonstration, blending music with harsh slogans against the Duque government.

The protesters marched to the embassy complex in the Calacoto neighborhood, accompanied by a group of drummers.

“Down with Duque. No to repression,” and “Long live the rebellion,” read some of the banners carried by the demonstrators.

When the march reached the embassy gates, a group of Bolivian riot police came out to guard the complex.

David Guillermo Caicedo, a protester from Bogotá, who has lived in Bolivia for more than five years, told EFE that they decided to demonstrate “in a peaceful and artistic way, raising their voices against the abuses in Colombia.”

He wondered how could the Colombian government impose new “tax reforms that will further impoverish the people amid the pandemic.”

He said the armed forces must stop killing people and join the protesters instead of supporting “the corrupt, lying and mafia political class that kills their own people.”

Colombia has seen a wave of protests since Apr.28 against the reforms.

At least 24 people have died in clashes between police and against anti-government demonstrators, an official count said.

But nonprofit Temblores indicate that 37 people have died.

The Colombian president has called politicians across the spectrum for dialog to find a solution. EFE

gb/ssk

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