Anyone who follows Twitter or other social
media platforms has seen the sickening videos of police using excessive force to attack peaceful protestors. We are witnessing in public the brutal tactics that people of color have long experienced. And we are seeing the effects of Trump’s advice to officials to “dominate” the streets even when people are exercising Constitutionally protected rights. You may even recall when he spoke to a convention of police in New York and advised them not to be too nice to the people they arrest. At the time, some police officials worried that Trump was encouraging police brutality. Of course he was.

One of the prime examples of violent action by law officers occurred a few days ago in Lafayette Park in D.C., when armed men in uniforms violently cleared away peaceful demonstrators so the president could walk with his entourage to St. John’s Church to brandish a Bible. Observers saw the political stunt as typical Trump phoniness, staged in front of a church he never attended with a book he never read. Trump retweeted a letter by his former lawyer John Dowd referring to the unarmed peaceful demonstrators as “terrorists.”

The White House has since been turned into a “fortress,” symbolizing government’s fear of the people.

Some of these videos show police beating anyone in their path. This video from Los Angeles is a shocking example. Two police officers in Buffalo were suspended for shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, where he lay in a puddle of his blood. Police used their batons as clubs to beat back peaceful demonstrators.

The imposition of curfews, intended to curb looting, has created clashes between people exercising their First Amendment right to assemble peaceably and police tasked with enforcing the curfew. See here and here

Over 400 people who formerly worked in the de Blasio administration signed a letter strongly opposing his failure to rein in police brutality or reform the city’s policing policies. The mayor was booed when he spoke at a memorial for George Floyd.

The police are supposed to serve and protect the public. They are law officers. They are supposed to administer the law, not break it.

I respect the police. I have always respected the police. I am white and privileged. Many people like me are now at the receiving end and are seeing for the first time how people of color have long seen the police, as an occupying force.

There must be a concerted effort at every level of government to stop police brutality, to weed out those who don’t respect the rights of citizens and those who are racist.

If you want to understand how people of color see the police, listen to Jitu Brown.