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Police Violence Is a Systemic Problem Because of a System We Created

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 1, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 1, 2023 |


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Putting aside the very real fact that it took another week for the white police officer involved in the murder of Tyre Nichols to be suspended (instead of being immediately terminated like the Black officers), the fact that Black officers largely perpetrated the violence against Nichols is instructive. It illustrates that, while white-on-Black violence is a problem, police-on-Black violence is an even bigger problem. It proves just how systemic police violence is.

And why shouldn’t it be? It’s the system our nation has set up. Instead of solving the problems associated with poverty or the lack of early education in poor people that lead to crime, we pour billions of dollars into police forces designed to protect those outside of poverty from those experiencing poverty. They serve and protect … rich people from poor people. That’s the job. The whole job. Protect those with from those without.

Meanwhile, Republicans and the NRA are hiring more police officers, flooding the nation with more guns, and creating wider economic disparities. Obviously, police officers should never turn a traffic stop into a murder, but what did we fucking expect? This nation sends police officers out with weapons, a justifiable fear of guns, adrenaline, and superiority complexes to make low-level traffic stops. That system made Memphis inevitable. It makes police brutality inevitable.

Why are cops even making traffic stops? Why are we wasting police resources on this bullshit when we have cameras, EZ Pass, and the U.S. mail? When people say defund the police, they don’t mean stop using cops to arrest poor people for breaking into rich people’s houses or stop paying cops to stand around while a kid shoots up a school. They mean stop spending billions of dollars to hire police officers to make low-level traffic stops and harass poor people who are loitering, because more often than not, it’s those low-level bullshit offenses that lead to police violence against Black people.

We could be using the money that we pay police officers to pull over Black people for broken taillights to solve some of those economic and educational disparities. We could use that money to make police officers less necessary. Maybe white Republicans could stop running political ads depicting cities as war zones, and maybe the white Democrats can stop f**king falling for it (New York City), then maybe we could do something about the root of the problem instead of exacerbating it by hiring more f**king police officers who kill more Black people over bullshit crimes that do not need police involvement.