Historically, struggling Black Americans have expressed “hopeless hopelessness” regarding hostile police situations–regarding police as “bullies in uniform”. All agree officers would never see them as anything other than symbolic assailants, despite the people’s engagements in entirely lawful activity. Speaking to this in the 1960s, Charles Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael explained the purpose of the Black Power Movement was to encourage organizing to “replace” racists Social Oppression institutions—e.g. schools and police departments—that failed African Americans, or at least “to make them responsive.” A reason was Institutional Racism (e.g. the USA legal system is anti-Black People) was so enforced as to be embedded throughout Euro-American social life–and not to be easily identified as oppression. Neither did it require conscious prejudice or overt acts of discrimination. Despite Black Power’s lingering association with “radical” and a willingness to use violence—which were features of Whites–arguably its most radical aspect was its drive to analyze Institutional Racism and Violence to unveil the “White power structure.” They challenged a violent White police force that supported White gang activity and ignored or colluded with Black gang activity to stir up trouble between gangs. This included bringing train loads of “street Drugs” and guns for free distribution in Black neighborhoods. The Afro-American Patrolmen’s League (AAPL), working with the Black Power Movement, opposed many similar things. One was overt violence against the Black community, whether wielded by White or Black police, or by White or Black gangs. A second was the institutional violence of a White power structure that exploited Blacks economically, marginalized them politically, and then abandonedthem to predations by police and gangs alike. Third was opposition to an early “stop and frisk” law on the grounds that “it will only be used to harass minorities.”

It was well known that the “limits” police enforced against Black people were “economical, social, and political”–aimed at limiting living space and general mobility. This is why Black Chicagoans often experienced police brutality despite breaking no laws—the “line” being enforced was invisible. The relationship between seemingly random hostility that Blacks drew from police, associated with being arrested in outrageous proportions, caused Whites and some Blacks to think Blacks are criminals. Criminals had free rein because Black crime victims refused to cooperate with police, who abused them, and because they feared retaliation from gangs if they did—retaliation from which they could expect no police protection. With respect to the over-crowded prisons, the overwhelming numbers were Colored Prisoners doing free labor. Yet, the authorities had no intention to do meaningful Rehabilitation, despite that being the primary purpose of these institutions. Since “Black lives do not matter,” in keeping with Whites tendency towards the genocide of Black people, it has always been more expedient to eliminate a criminal than to send him through the courts. Police violence was deemed to be a “cloak for power and greed,” aiming to keep the Black and White working class equally in line so as to maintain the power where it is . . . with the money.  The Black Panthers’ suppression was proof that Whites were not willing to “share wealth or power with Black Americans.”

An additional warning to Black gangs was that if they would start anything like the Black Panther Party–fighting for the human rights of Black People, European police would wipe them out! In addition, Black People typically observe a wide range of corrupt police practices, like the planting of drugs or weapons on innocent persons. Obviously, these practices place them at risk of being convicted of crimes they did not commit. Such planting of evidence would particularly occur when officers lacked evidence to justify a lawful arrest. Racially biased policing, then and now, is perhaps most evident in racial profiling in vehicle and pedestrian stops; in comparing police responsiveness; and in the delivery of police services in different kinds of neighborhoods.  One Black said: “You don’t have any concept of the police as a service – to serve and protect. Instead your view of the police is a view that they are getting ready to tromp you or to whoop on you the minute that they encounter you.” Thus, it is usual for Black youth, from ever sensing powerless and expecting antagonism when they encounter sadistic policemen, to try their best to avoid them or run away. jabaileymd.com


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