The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.
To challenge the police is to challenge the American people, and the problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs but that we are majoritarian pigs.
Ta-Nehsi Coates meent dat het excessieve politiegeweld in de VS niet tegen de wil, maar met instemming van de meerderheid van de bevolking plaatsvindt.
En daar zit wat in. Het sentiment dat ieder beetje (vermeend) verzet tegen de politie grond is voor dodelijk geweld is namelijk – zo weet ik uit eigen observatie – bijzonder wijd verbreid in de VS. In de woorden van stain on humanity Bob McManus:
Eric Garner and Michael Brown had much in common, not the least of which was this: On the last day of their lives, they made bad decisions. Epically bad decisions.
Each broke the law — petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police.
And then — tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably — each fought the law. […]
Eric Garner was a career petty criminal who’d experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them. He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time — which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.
Yet another arrest was under way when, suddenly, Garner balked. “This ends here,” he shouted — as it turned out, tragically prophetic words — as he began struggling with the arresting officer.
Again, this was a bad decision.
Meer voorbeelden hier (vanaf c. 1:08).
Want autoriteit van het goede soort (politie, leger) stel je – en dit lijkt inderdaad het sentiment van de meerderheid te zijn – immers nooit ter discussie.