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Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:41 PM

No, I do not think we need to "reform" the police . . .

No, I do not think we need to "reform" the police. Allow me to explain.

To speak of policing reform is to suggest that we can address the problem of systemic racism in American policing through a combination of efforts to address the individual racism of some officers, to change certain police methods or tactics, and requiring a few more racial sensitivity workshops. But these efforts have all been tried repeatedly over the years, and none of them have resulted in any significant or lasting changes.

That is because, I believe, the focus of those efforts fails to address the real locus of the problem. The problem lies not with the racism and bigotry of individual officers, although that certainly exists and should be addressed wherever it is found; the real source of the problem is to be found in the history of American policing and the real purpose behind the existence of domestic police forces, both then and now.

Domestic police forces were not founded as part of some effort to fight crime in general, nor were they founded to keep the American public safe from from violent criminals. They were founded, in both the North and the South, as a means of protecting the financial interests of the wealthy from the discontent of those whose labor the wealthy exploited in order to create and maintain their wealth. In the South, police forces originated with slave patrols -- forces that rounded up fugitive slaves and returned them to their owners (to face whatever consequences their owners decided to mete out). In the North police were founded primarily as publicly-financed strike-breaking forces intended for the purpose of quelling labor unrest. Whether they were capturing and returning fugitive slaves or breaking the strikes of workers protesting the conditions in which they were forced to work, police were effectively engaged in the same activity, which was to protect the investments of the very wealthy, be they slave owners or industrialists. And although the role of police has expanded over the years, I submit that its original purpose remains thoroughly intact, and is as operative today as t was n the late 19th C. It is no accident of circumstance that at a time when all other public-sector unions are under assault from the right and have been weakened to the point of ineffectiveness, the police unions have remained as strong and influential as ever.

Once you understand the history of policing in America, you begin to realize that the actions by police that so many have been horrified by in recent weeks are not aberrations, but are, in fact, examples of police doing exactly what they were created to do. And that's the problem.

So, no, I do not think we need to "reform" the police. I think we need to completely rethink the role police play in our society, and then dismantle and rebuild it from the ground up, with an eye towards making policing a service that protects the interests of ALL Americans.

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Reply No, I do not think we need to "reform" the police . . . (Original post)
markpkessinger Jun 28 OP
Mosby Jun 28 #1
Voltaire2 Jun 28 #2
markpkessinger Jun 28 #4
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 28 #3
brooklynite Jun 28 #6
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 28 #9
markpkessinger Jun 28 #11
brooklynite Jun 28 #5
markpkessinger Jun 28 #7
brooklynite Jun 28 #8
markpkessinger Jun 28 #10
brooklynite Jun 28 #14
markpkessinger Jun 28 #16
markpkessinger Jun 28 #12
quakerboy Jul 1 #23
brooklynite Jul 1 #24
quakerboy Friday #25
brooklynite Friday #26
quakerboy Friday #27
Towlie Jun 28 #13
rwsanders Jun 30 #17
soothsayer Jun 28 #15
soldierant Jun 30 #18
Ms. Toad Jun 30 #19
Straw Man Jun 30 #20
Mr.Bill Jun 30 #21
Wounded Bear Jun 30 #22

Response to markpkessinger (Original post)


Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:48 PM

2. One would think it was obvious what the function of metropolitan police departments

is and always has been.

But it still isn't obvious to many people. Even after watching a month of police riots suppressing people's right to free speech and assembly, even after one horrendous murder-cop video after another, a lot of people think the function of the police is to 'protect and serve' them, when of course as you note it is to protect and serve the wealthy elites who have run this country since its founding.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:51 PM

4. I have been reading "The End of Policing," by Alex Vitale

Vitale writes:

"2 The Police Are Not Here to Protect You

The police exist to keep us safe, or so we are told by mainstream media and popular culture. TV shows exaggerate the amount of serious crime and the nature of what most police officers actually do all day. Crime control is a small part of policing, and it always has been. Felony arrests of any kind are a rarity for uniformed officers, with most making no more than one a year. When a patrol officer actually apprehends a violent criminal in the act, it is a major moment in their career. The bulk of police officers work in patrol. They take reports, engage in random patrol, address parking and driving violations and noise complaints, issue tickets, and make misdemeanor arrests for drinking in public, possession of small amounts of drugs, or the vague “disorderly conduct.” Officers I’ve shadowed on patrol describe their days as “99 percent boredom and 1 percent sheer terror”—and even that 1 percent is a bit of an exaggeration for most officers.

[. . . .]

It is largely a liberal fantasy that the police exist to protect us from the bad guys. As the veteran police scholar David Bayley argues, The police do not prevent crime. This is one of the best kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it. Yet the police pretend that they are society’s best defense against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime. This is a myth.1 Bayley goes on to point out that there is no correlation between the number of police and crime rates. Liberals think of the police as the legitimate mechanism for using force in the interests of the whole society. For them, the state, through elections and other democratic processes, represents the general will of society as well as any system could; those who act against those interests, therefore, should face the police. The police must maintain their public legitimacy by acting in a way that the public respects and is in keeping with the rule of law. For liberals, police reform is always a question of taking steps to restore that legitimacy. That is what separates the police of a liberal democracy from those of a dictatorship.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:49 PM

3. K&R. Abolish the police.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:56 PM

6. CHOP nailed it, right?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:01 PM

9. Nice to see some variety in dismissive bad-faith questions.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:10 PM

11. +1 n/t

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:55 PM

5. And...?

What you're basically saying is that police protection is in place to support capitalism. Well, we're not getting rid of capitalism, and I doubt that any Democratic official (President, Governor, Mayor) are going to "completely rethink" policing along the principles you are suggesting.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:57 PM

7. If we are protecting capitalism at the expense of the civil rights of Americans . . .

. . . then our priorities are seriously fucked up!

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:00 PM

8. Reality sucks...

We can reform what we have within the reality framework we have, or we can envision fantasies and achieve nothing.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:06 PM

10. I'm sure glad . . .

. . . that those who fought for the right of women to vote, or participated in the Civil Rights movement, or who protested the oppression and inequality of LGBTQ folks, weren't limited to thinking they could "reform what we have within the reality framework we have, or we can envision fantasies and achieve nothing."

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:42 PM

14. Which of those movements resulted in radical restructuring rather than reform?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 05:44 PM

16. Police are not some inherent institution

In fact, they didn't exist until Boston instituted one in 1838. There is no reason they can't be restructured.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:23 PM

12. All I can say is, God help this country when we allow . . .

. . . our cynicism concerning what is possible to prevent us from fighting for what is right.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 06:19 AM

23. So your argument is we can get nothing

or we can get nothing.

And then people wonder why some folk want to just burn it all down.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #23)

Wed Jul 1, 2020, 07:46 AM

24. Still waiting for a strategy you can actually implement...

...or is achieving something not the point?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #24)

Fri Jul 3, 2020, 03:38 AM

25. According to you there is no strategy that can achieve anything

Fortunately I am seeing the defund/abolish plan starting to be implemented, usually slower and more peacemeal than I'd like.

Be a lot easier if people would get on board rather than just throwing their hands up and saying nothing can be done about it though.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #25)

Fri Jul 3, 2020, 08:42 AM

26. I guess you feel the same way about Joe Biden?

Sounds like

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #26)

Fri Jul 3, 2020, 08:13 PM

27. Hes flat wrong on this issue

Being a democrat, even the next president, doesnt mean you get every thing correct every time. Hopefully at some point he will listen to the voters and come on board, or at least step out of the way.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 04:28 PM

13. Whenever I see "to protect and serve" I wonder, to protect and serve WHAT?

It resembles an advertising slogan, deliberately kept ambiguous to allow room for readers to assume something not actually stated.

When I was a child in elementary school a uniformed cop was brought into our classroom and we were taught that if we were lost or in trouble and needed help we could trust and depend upon a cop like him to help. That was undoubtedly true, but what we were never taught was that in general, this only applied to little kids like us.

Always remember, when you're dealing with a cop you're dealing with a person who chose to be a cop.

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Response to Towlie (Reply #13)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:02 AM

17. I've been saying something similar: that there are a few jobs out there, where wanting the job

should be an immediate disqualification. This includes police, politicians, and thinking about it, judges (I've yet to be in the presence of a judge no matter how small the jurisdiction, that didn't ooze arrogance).

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2020, 05:27 PM

15. Well, Cuomo has given ny a mandate to reinvent their PDs

By April (or lose funding). Idea is to figure out how to build a relationship of trust and respect between the police and the communities they serve. Told people to start with a blank piece of paper and decide what do you want the police to do, what do you want them not to do, who reviews allegations of misconduct, how large a PD you need for your community (maybe 300 communities in ny state), etc.

Will be interesting to see what these communities come up with.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:17 AM

18. Which is the point those who use the term "defund" are trying to make.

It may not be the best choice. "Demolish"?

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 02:20 AM

19. Precisely the reason "defund the police" is slogan that will do more harm than good.

Despite protestations to the contrary in a thread yesterday, some of the people using the phrase "defund the police" really do mean abolish/cut all funding to the police.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 04:12 AM

20. News flash!

Society's armed enforcers protect the framework (capitalism, in this case) around which that society is structured. Film at 11:00.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 05:21 PM

21. The history of policing does play a role in the behavior of today's police.

But the problem we are currently facing is that there is a lack of consequences for their improper behavior.
We make heroes out of them when their job is statistically not any more dangerous than many others. This makes it difficult as a society to call them out when they are wrong. And they are wrong a lot.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 05:25 PM

22. The basic philosophy of policing needs to be changed...

The current mindset seems to be more like an occupying army than a "Police" force who's duty is to keep the peace and seek justice.

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