Accountability; NOT Better Training: That Is The Only Answer To Police Brutality and Abuse of Power

Police brutality is an ongoing epidemic in our nation. I have written before regarding Black Lives Matter, including disturbing statistics from the government’s own reports regarding this issue. It is not getting better under the pending Trumpdom our nation faces. Trump has brought with him validation for every act committed against anyone seen as inferior, including the treatment of minorities, women and the disabled. And all the while, instance after instance, law enforcement agencies circle the wagons around offending officers, protecting them in a shell of brotherhood which violates their sworn duty to the citizens they are obliged to protect. People talk of trust, but trust is earned and validated by actions. Trust is not blind, especially in the face of so much evidence. I will be the first to admit that there are more well intentioned officers than not, but there are far too many who abuse their power, even if only in small ways, and even the “good cops” turn away and ignore it. It is the social norm. They are expected to overlook those abuses or they are seen as traitors to the brotherhood if they do not. In fact, they would be more likely to lose their position than the actual perpetrator. This is why people do not trust them. This is why so many citizens are showing little faith in Law Enforcement and the Judicial branch, because we know they will betray us to save themselves, against their oath, against their sworn duty. While they may be willing to put their life on the line against an obvious villain, they will not protect citizens from fellow officers.

The ferocity with which so many racists and backwards people have come forward to demean others in our society since the election of Trump is frightening. It will do nothing to help ensure that the most vulnerable of our population is protected. Hate and abuse of others has been inspired, rather than shunned. Below are ongoing examples of the brutality we face and the difficult road ahead. We have learned a grave truth about our nation, one that much of our minority population could have told us for years, had we been willing to listen; had we not buried our heads determined that racism, misogyny, bigotry and discrimination were merely just shadow remnants of an unsightly past. No. We have learned the heartbreaking truth, that, as a nation, our very organs are diseased and rotting away with it. The guise is lifted and now we see the cliff’s edge that was there all along.

There will be no coming together for the good of our country, because what they want us to come to is neither good nor does it represent the majority. The incoming power stands against everything that makes our country great: equality for all people, religious freedom, the right of everyone to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  And my fear is that the brutality we have witnessed will not only continue, but increase, as people of dissenting views are silenced.

Our fight, our rights, they are not futile or lost. If we must fight to maintain them, then we shall. I will not bow down to Trumpdom and serve it. I will continue my fight against injustice, because justice is worth fighting for. Now the ugly monsters living among us have shown themselves and their nature. Now we know who and what we are fighting. Before, we fought a faceless enemy looking for change. But now, the monsters have been revealed. We must start taking back our communities.

We need good citizens running for offices which control law enforcement, ones who will hold officers accountable for their actions. Officers may need better training, but when it comes to brutality, to misuse and abuse of power, training is not the problem. Lack of accountability is the problem. They do it because they can and they are of poor enough quality in character to be seduced into using their power inappropriately. If there were zero tolerance with immediate repercussions, then the charade would stop. But that can only happen from the top down.  We need citizens willing to step in, run for those offices and implement those changes, or they will not happen. The brotherhood must be disbanded and loyalty to the people reestablished.

Unless we do this, we will fall ever and ever further into a police state.  BLM has never been more important than it is right now and will be in the years to come.  They fight for justice for all people and to end police brutality, which is most often directed at the black population. But if we can defeat this where it is at its worst, then we have made a better life for everyone. It affects us all. When anyone is discriminated against, then no one is equal




We are One Woman, One World.

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams

Victory At Standing Rock!

US Army Corps of Engineers denies easement for DAPL to cross beneath Lake Oahe. The water from the lake feeds into the Missouri River and is the sole water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and millions of people who live down river. 

The power of the people wins a victory against the oligarchy! The millions of people whose drinking water was placed at risk by the planned construction of a fossil fuel pipeline in North Dakota owe a great debt of thanks to the Native American Tribes who gathered, for months, at Standing Rock as Water Protectors. These peaceful demonstrators remained despite militarized police and private security details which inflicted numerous human rights and civil rights violations against them. They weathered elements from heat to freezing temperatures, were maced, shot with rubber bullets, bean bags, tear gas,  and concussion grenades; they were attacked by private guards and police forces and vicious dogs. Hundreds of protectors were injured, including broken ribs, dog bites, broken arms, bruises and lacerations and even loss of limbs as a result of the abusive treatment they received. Despite the violence committed against them, they remained vigilant and peaceful. They took a stand against the corporations willing to discard the threats they pose to masses of people and the environment, all for profit.

The Water Protesters were largely ignored by the media until more than two thousand US Military Veterans took up the cause to protect them, arriving just days before the Army Corps of Engineers was set to evict and remove the tribes, by force if necessary. These brave women and men who have served our country valiantly, did so again, forming a human barrier between the people and the government and private forces threatening them. Is it a coincidence that the Corps of Engineers suddenly decided not to grant the easement for the pipeline to pass beneath Lake Oahe just as these veterans arrived to protect the protesters? Probably not. It is far easier to vilify dissidence perpetuated in large part by a minority population than it is to demonize war heroes. News streams of US Veterans being attacked as they protected peaceful demonstrators behind them would have brought immediate outrage across the country. Once our veterans stepped in, the media battle was lost. What is sad, however, and truly telling of how little we have evolved as a nation and people, is in how it took our veterans protecting the protesters for their cause to be respected.

While this is an enormous victory, it is far from final. The Army Corps of Engineers assistant secretary for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said in an issued  statement,  “Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do. The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternative routes for the pipeline crossing.” This sounds promising, however, shortly after the Army corps of Engineers’ announcement, Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, issued a statement calling on the President-elect, Donald Trump, to  “reject the Obama administration’s shameful actions to deny this vital energy project, restore the rule of law in the regulatory process, and make this project’s approval a top priority as he takes office in January.”

As you can see, the fight may not yet be over. Some have hope that Donald Trump will neglect his personal business investments in the DAPL and the preferences of his big money buddies in favor of doing the right thing for the people and the environment. Most do not share this optimism. The more prudent ideology is that this is a stay on the pipeline and gives some time to rest before taking additional actions to protect the masses.

Today, however, we will celebrate this victory for our Native American heritage and peoples, for all our people, our nation and our environment. For these efforts made by the sacrifices of many, we are all freer, our voices a little clearer. The war may not be over, but this was a monumental battle which will forever in history be the Victory at Standing Rock.

We are One Woman, One World.

photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams