Shaun King (the author) has collected years of valuable data on how police are treating citizens. While he has some cogent points on people’s perception of “phones and social media making it feel” like police brutality is getting worse when the numbers say it actually is, as you may expect I have a different take on the topic.
I think whether people feel police brutality is getting worse or not is irrelevant. Here’s why: If social media isn’t just showing what was once hidden behind a blue wall, then of course we should do something about it. Police brutality getting worse is a symptom of the US sliding farther into fascism.
But here’s my point – even if people were correct in saying that police brutality has always been this bad, that is even more reason to stop them! If police brutality has always been this bad and we just didn’t know it, then that police brutality has been killing people in the thousands and ruining families by the thousands on casual missteps by police for decades and it has gone unnoticed! Well, unnoticed by the US white population.
So what do we do about it?
1) Change how police do policing. Change training to focus on de-escalation first, and to use violence of any sort as an absolute last resort. Though harder to do, also helpful would be changing law to remove the blue blockade that allows murderers and rapists to get away unscathed and to easily get hired on at police departments.
3) If you see a person of color getting confronted by police, pull out your phone and video it. This is especially important if you are white. Use your privilege as a tool to stop violence.
– Note that you may risk threats of arrest by videotaping, but it is legal to video anyone in a public place, including police. Remember that you are doing it for the other person’s safety, not your fame, so don’t post the video. Just record it.
There is a lot more you need to be aware of, so read
– Always remain polite and never physically resist a police officer
– If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is _“Am I free to go?”
_If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. But until you ask to leave, you’re stopping voluntarily.
– If you are detained, politely ask what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Hat tip to JAP and Christopher Thompson for the share