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Abolish! - Racist policing is no accident

By: 
Sid Lacombe

April 13, 2021
 
The killing of Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis was not accidental.
 
The police chief in Brooklyn Centre released the body cam footage of officer Kim Potter shooting Wright during a traffic stop and explained that it was obvious to him that she simply grabbed the wrong weapon. It is just a tragic “accident” he says. 
 
Media pundits immediately began dissecting the video in granular detail. Was it a failure of training and misunderstanding of procedure that had her grab the wrong weapon? Is there a way to make it easier to find the right implement when under duress? These are not the questions they should be asking. 
 
The focus on the video will be used to try and divert attention from the racism that led to the entire incident in the first place. Wright, the police say, was stopped for having an expired tag on his car and subsequent investigation found that he had a warrant for arrest.
 
The reality is that Wright was stopped because he was, “driving while black”. Three heavily armed cops were sent to stop him for a traffic violation. That was not an anomaly.
 
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the US last summer, NYU released a study of thousands of traffic stops in the US and found that black people are twice as likely to be stopped by police. They are also twice as likely to be searched. “Black drivers were searched about 1.5 to 2 times as often as white drivers, while they were less likely to be carrying drugs, guns, or other illegal contraband compared to their white peers.”
 
The “blue lives matter” crowd is arguing that Wright should have complied and the fact that he decided to run was sufficient for the police to use force. The same arguments are made anytime someone runs from the police. But could you really fault black people in the US for running from the cops? There are far too many examples, from Sandra Bland to Caron Nazario, of police killing and using violence against black drivers for no reason. 
 
 
Is it now the case that people should be executed for a traffic violation and a misdemeanour? Anywhere else in the world, a group of heavily armed, state supported individuals who require complete obedience upon punishment of summary execution is called a death squad. The US has invaded other countries for less. 
 
The racists will argue that the outstanding warrant required the police to intervene. But the over-policing of black people is the reason why so many end up with warrants in the first place. It is racism that pushes black people into the criminal “justice” system at higher rates than white people.
 
The murder of Daunte Wright is not an accident. It is a direct result of a policing system that targets black people and considers violence as the only method of policing their lives. 
 
In wake of the murder, thousands have joined demonstrations across the US calling for justice for Wright and for an end to the racist police. This movement is building a strong argument for the complete abolition of the police and should be supported.
 
Defund, disarm disband - Abolish the racist police!
 
 
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