How the system helped curtail police reform by Quinton Mitchell
First off, I don’t hate police officers. I think that police are needed, yet, police and the entire correctional system needs reform, especially when it comes to dealing with the public as opposed to legitimate criminals that pose a legitimate threat to society. There’s always room for improvement, ranging from tougher barrier of entry when wanting to become a cop, centralized oversight and a national database of all police and any misconducts they do, a national gun violence database, house arrests over incarceration, solving the homeless and housing crisis, improving mental health, gun control, smart legalization of drug, intelligence gathering before engaging suspects, wellness and job programs in prisons, reducing radicalizing material on social media such as on YouTube, and reducing the number of laws on the books so there’s less laws to enforce.
I don’t worship police, but police need to leave good people alone and we need to minimize petty altercations that turn violent. I would argue that cops are effective at enforcing civil penalties (fines), which in and of itself is questionable because it reveals that police are largely serving in a tax collector capacity, yet, their track record when it comes to preventing violent crime is questionable. Many victims of police brutality weren’t necessarily violent criminals or weren’t criminals at all, yet, it seems actual violent criminals just gang members, bikers, etc., tend to operate with immunity. In other words, police need to focus on violent crimes (assaults, murders, trafficking, rape, gun violence, etc.), rather than focusing on enforcing civil penalties which can lead to police altercations.
Cops acting like tax collectors with guns, or hallways monitors who issue citations to enrich local governments, is one of the root causes of police altercations, and at-risk communities who suffer from low employment, gentrification, rising real estate prices, environmental pollution, etc., are most vulnerable to over-policing ordinary citizens. Many victims of police violence aren’t career criminals, terrorist, drug cartel leaders, but everyday Americans who are often profiled for how they look or who are brave enough to state their constitutional rights in the face of a police officer.
Comprehensive Police reform was never going to happen and the system, i.e., the nexus between private and special interests, corporations, the media, police agencies, and state and federal governments, employed an array of tactics ranging from (1) poor Congressional political strategy resulting in incrementalism at the federal level, (2) media shell games relating to the showcasing of examples of blatant police abuses versus cases that were morally ambiguous to cause doubt and division amongst the public, (3) politicians talking about reform, but many politicians and the White House continue to fund police agencies such as through Program 1033 relating to the militarization of police, (4) divisive marketing campaigns such Defund the Police, (5) discrediting the Black Lives Matter Movement and using the media to undermine black liberation politics, e.g., using the Jussie Smollett fiasco and debates relating race involving the Kyle Rittenhouse Case versus the Darrell Brooks Waukesha Parade Attack, to undermine the black community who were at the forefront of police reform, (6) unleashing dangerous criminals who commit crime so the public wants more police, (7) the media blowing up the Crime Wave Panic without providing any context about the root causes such as the obvious fact that society is slowly reopening after the COVID-19 spikes, (8) Copaganda, i.e., propaganda showing cops in a good light as opposed to a realistic light, and (9) the politicization of police with by way of Right Wing politics and the erosion of political impartiality within cops.
In other words, the system used mind games, reverse psychology, waiting out the storm, shell games, etc., to stall and undermine police reform.
Table of Contents
I. Introduction. Police Reform fails and strategies going forward.
II. Media Shell Games
III. Saying Reform but Really Funding Police behind the scenes
IV. Poor Marketing
V. Political Dialectics and the Illusion of Political Differences
VI. “Let the Children Tire Themselves Out” and waiting out the storm
VII. Discrediting, Race Play, and Reverse Psychology
VIII. Unleashing the wolves to harass the sheep
I. Introduction. Police Reform fails and strategies going forward
Police Reform has failed after all the hard work, energy, protests, riots, conversations, and a general heightened sense of awareness around race and police. All the system had to do was “hold out the storm” and let the public “tire itself out”.
Hassam Kamu (2021) of Reuters stated, “The promising effort to reform American policing that was trumpeted as an all-out endeavor in Congress following the largest racial-justice protests in a generation has culminated into nothingness.” Per the article by Kamu (2021), Democratic Senator Corey Booker led negotiations in the Senate, but Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina stated the legislation ultimately failed because of the “defund the police” slogan, going so far as stating on 22 September 2021, that “Democrats said ‘no’ because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement,”. Yet, Kamu (2021) stated that, “None of (“the”) Democrats’ proposals during the months-long negotiation actually sought to defund police, by the way.” In other words, Tim Scott lied and tried to scapegoat Democrats but being the only black Senator who is a Republican, Tim Scott did his job, i.e., providing black optics, but still holding the line for the predominately white Republican party.
The article by Kamu (2021) talks about how local governments will have to champion the cause of police reform by citing Christy Lopez, former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and now professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
Essentially, comprehensive national police reform has failed, and what we are left with is the same old sense of incrementalism based on federalism (local politics and decentralization), but also the fact, which will be presented later in this article, that police have received further funding including new innovations in technology to potentially violate the public’s civil liberties.
This is highly problematic because the source of police corruption and abuse stems from the fact that police organizations are organized around the concept of localism, and localism therefore creates a smokescreen when it comes to abuse. With laws such as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which was created in the late eighteen-hundreds after the Union Army withdrew federal forces (acting in a police capacity to protect black people) from the post-war Confederate South. Posse Comitatus means that federal authorities don’t interfere in local matters relating to policing unless a Civil Rights violation or similar federal violation arises. Even, though the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 relates to a separation of military from local affairs, the precedent set by the act translates to modern policing considering the military at the time when the act was passed served in a police capacity. The general rule is that policing is a local matter, unlike other nations where police in many regards are centralized forces supplementing local or provincial police forces such as with the Royal Mounted Police in Canada, or the concept of the gendarmerie in nations like France and Italy.
Lack of federal muscle on police reform is the equivalent to the scenario if the federal government didn’t apply Civil Rights laws by way of the Interstate Commerce clause in the 1960s, i.e., the federal government can only reform police and Republicans know this. If the Federal Government didn’t use Interstate Commerce to justify Civil Rights legislation, then state governments such as those of the Jim Crow South would have been able to continue “separate but equal” segregation policies.
There are so many jurisdictions in the United States, that reforms to police abuse are often reactionary, i.e., after the fact, as opposed to preventative.
People protests, and agencies pay out restitution to victims (at taxpayer expense), but cops often are acquitted or transferred. Every agency is influenced by its locality meaning there’s different atmospheres and sentiments relating to race, politics, income levels, etc. Every community has its own “ingredients”, thus every community needs its own progressive policy yet there needs to be an overarching centralized mandate to ensure frameworks are being appropriately applied, enforced, and tracked (e.g., with analytics). For example, a police agency in an area that overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, which might have a history of racial segregation and/or existing racial disparity influencing crime or arrest policies, likely will not stand for any sort of police reform (as seen by the fact that no Republicans voted for police reform). Or, even in a state like New Jersey, which is one the wealthiest states, but still has issues with segregation, e.g., predominately white, and upper income communities such as those of Bergen County as opposed to poorer people-of-color communities in places like Essex County (home to Newark).
The bill that stalled in the Congress is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (House Resolution 7120), which cleared the Democrat controlled House 236–181 (that’s a total of 417 votes, meaning 236 out of 417 is about 57% voting yes, yet there are 435 representatives meaning 236 out of 435 is about 54%). Only three Republicans voting in support included Will Hurd as the only black House Republican (just let that sink in) on June 25, 2020.
After clearing the House in the summer of 2020, it advanced to the Senate as S. 3912 with Corey Booker sponsoring the bill, yet, Tim Scott, the only Black Republican helped to stall and gut the bill, such as not bending on the question of qualified immunity, and the year ran out, i.e., Congress went on its break and the bill died in committee. In 2021, the bill was reintroduced for a second time by the House after being kicked back by the Senate, with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, and it was introduced again by California Democrat Karen Bass as H.R. 1280, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. The Resolution passed the House on March 3, 2021 with a (220–212) yes vs no spread, with zero Republicans supporting the bill (432 votes in total, meaning 220 yes votes amounts to about 51%, yet there are actually 435 representatives meaning 220 out of 435 is about 50.1%). Yet, by the fall of 2021, Corey Booker stated that “negotiated had failed”, but what does this really mean? It means they know they have no clear path of having Senate approval, so…they’re “giving up for the meantime as Democrats await better representation in the Senate as opposed to a simple tie-break vote provided by Kamala Harris in the 50/50 Democrat to Republican Senate”.
The differences between House votes between 2020 to 2021 relating to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, i.e., 54% versus 51% could have been because of vacancies, abstain votes (present or no votes), etc., considering there are 435 house seats appropriated unchanged between the two years (Source: Ballotpedia.com, 2021). This could mean that the original bill was passed when some members weren’t able to vote, but after the 2020 election and going into 2021, more representatives showed up and voted against the bill, such as “Stop the Steal” Republicans being sour after Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. The few Republicans who voted for the bill in 2020, quickly changed their tune and voted against it.
According to Ballotpedia.com (2021), “Elections to the U.S. Senate will be held on November 8, 2022, and 34 of the 100 seats are up for regular election. Those elected to the U.S. Senate in the 34 regular elections in 2022 will begin their six-year terms on January 3, 2023. Fourteen seats held by Democrats and 20 seats held by Republicans are up for election in 2022. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump (R) won in 2020. Following the 2020 Senate elections and the January 2021 runoffs in Georgia, Democrats and Republicans split the chamber 50-50. This gave Vice President Kamala Harris (D) a tie-breaking vote, and Democrats control of the U.S. Senate via a power-sharing agreement.”
There are some factors to ponder regarding the Democrat strategy come the Fall 2022 Senate Races.
Democrats could lose seats considering Republican’s across the nation have been inserting voting reform bills making it harder for people to vote. Also, Kamala Harris could become president in the event Joe Biden steps down or his age and health take a toll on him, yet, if Kamala Harris becomes President either by rules of succession or by running outright herself, she could simply elect a new President of the Senate (her acting VP), thus maintaining a plausible 50/50 tie breaker vote, yet this could be highly unlikely. With Joe Biden assuming the Presidency in January 2021, in theory he has until January 2025, so if Kamala were to step in, she would have possibly a few years as President until she would be required to run outright herself.
Yet, Democrats could lose a Presidential race and not gain any power in the Senate and lose seats in any House race, etc. It makes sense that Democrats would wait to gain Senatorial power, considering Republicans are a monolithic “lock in step” party (unlike Democrats who have Senators like Kirsten Sinema and Joe Manchin), yet, all these scenarios do call into question as to whether comprehensive police reform will pass soon. Joe Biden could get tougher with Republicans, but Biden’s strategy as seen in the Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bill debates seems to be let the Congress handle it even though he states his wanted outcomes. Biden could figure out bills that Republicans highly prize and threaten to veto any such bills if Republicans don’t get more in alignment with police reform. Biden could also issue Executive Orders directing the Executive agencies who answer to them, to freeze funds for police unless reforms are made. It’s all an utter tragedy regardless because Biden could do the strongman tactics of Trump, yet Biden seems more about restoring a sense of normalcy. You can’t blame him, but then again, he only has one real chance to enact true reform. Why play nice and be honorable, when Republicans have proven they are willing to support a President like Donald Trump who cares nothing about “gentlemen rules”. The US public is being held hostage by unsympathetic Republicans who still must walk the fine line as to whether Donald Trump in exile, the modern equivalent of Emperor Nero, still approves of them.
Yet, Democrats could come out on top. Six Senators announced retirement from the Senate with five of them being Republicans. Richard Burr of North Carolina (a swing state), Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania (a swing state), Rob Portman of Ohio (a swing state yet growing more conservative), Richard Shelby of Alabama (historically very conservative), and Roy Blunt of Missouri (historically a purple state) are all Republicans (Source: Ballotpedia.com, 2021). Patrick Leahy of Vermont is the only Democrat retiring but Vermont has solidly been a Democratic state with many progressive elements embedded into its culture. Peter Welch, already a House Representative from Vermont, and a friend to the late Civil Rights leader John Lewis, is running to fill in for Patrick Leahy. Brandaun Dean, an African American, is running to take Richard Shelby’s seat in Alabama, and if he’s able to win in a very conservative state, even though Alabama has a large African American population, he could help turn Alabama into a “purple state”. Yet, Dean’s climb will be much steeper in my opinion that what Stacy Abram’s faced in Georgia considering you have Atlanta as the largest source of votes, and she still lost her election.
Yet, many seats are up for grab, besides those where Senators stated they are retiring, and many Democratic candidates are running for the same seats meaning it’s going to be dirty fight internally as well as with Republicans clawing for those seats (not to mention any third-party candidates such Independents, Greens, Libertarians, etc.). For example, Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia who beat Kelly Loeffler is up for re-election since he was elected in a special election when Senator Johnny Isakson stepped down giving Kelly Loeffler an non-contested victory. Basically, Warnock beat Loeffler who stepped in for Isakson, but Isakon’s terms in which Warnock won after beating Loeffler is due to expire in 2023 meaning Warnock must run for a full 6-year term.
The Police Reform Bill included some innovative measures to help such as creating a database to track police misconduct and disciplinary actions, restrict giving military weapons to police via the Department of Defense Program 1033, requiring body cameras and dashboard cameras, revoking qualified immunity (one the largest issues) by revising 18 United States Code Section 242, ban no-knock warrants and choke holds, and issue funding for training on anti-discrimination. The House in committee hearings had a diverse crew of guests, including Fox New’s Don Bongino (Source: Burn, 2020, Vox), whom as we know is an ardent Trump supporter. The insertion of Don Bongino into Congress, similarly to when Congress foolishly platformed Candace Owens to speak on matters of race, proves that hearings in part are essential but can take on certain elements of a circus show, giving free press and credentials to people who want to stand in the way of progress.
So, the United States not only lacks a national database of gun violence, where such violence is tracked by non-profits (charities), the United States also failed to create centralized accountability systems of police abuse and misconduct.
Ballotpedia.com (2021), United States House of Representatives., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_House_of_Representatives
Ballotpedia.com (2021), United States Senate elections, 2022, Retrieved on 12 December 2021., https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2022
Burns, K. A Republican witness at a congressional hearing on police brutality didn’t mention police brutality., (published on 10 June 2020)., Vox., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/6/10/21286605/dan-bongino-fox-news-police-brutality-hearing-congress
Kamu, H. Congress fails on police reform. Now what?., (published on 12 October 2021)., Reuters., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/congress-fails-police-reform-now-what-2021-10-08/
II. The Media Shell Games:
The media inserts ambiguous stories to overshow stories of blatant police negligence, abuse, and killings, and by doing this it causes the public to call into question or raise doubt about police reform. I call this the shell game, where the shell game is an ancient game in which a person has an object like a ball underneath three cups and quickly shuffles the cups around, so a person can guess which cup has the ball, often involving a wager of money, i.e., a bet. This is like what the media seems to be doing. Shuffling stories around, getting the public to bet on cases, but if the public ever comes out wrong, the house ultimately wins overall. Further, many shell games are rigged to begin with, for example having trap doors on a table or magnet in a cup so people always guess wrong.
When people are passionately calling for police reform, the media can insert stories to effectively play reverse-psychology games, so when the facts of ambiguous cases are revealed, it serves as a “Aha, gotcha moment”, and this helps to undermine or shame police reform advocates. For example, Tamir Rice (November 22, 2014) and Eric Garner (July 17, 2014) were blatant examples of police abuse, yet, later downstream as the larger police discussion raged on, the media showed cases such as Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, OH or Willie Henley in Buffalo, NY. The Blake, Bryant, and Henley situation, though tragic, were also more complicated, in that police were responding to potentially violent situations such as Jacob Blake having a knife, Ma’Khia Bryant having a knife (with photo evidence of her trying to use the knife), and Willie Henley having a mental health breakdown. Despite, having some radical voices who don’t want any police officers, the public in my opinion was more so disappointed that police consistently kept using deadly force or, even after the larger police reform discussion about using alternative methods had been ongoing for years.
Yet, the Blake (August 2021), Bryant (April 2021), and Henley (September 2021) situations were much later than the initial beginnings of the current police reform movement, where from its beginnings to the present there are many examples of blatant police abuse.
The beginnings of the modern police reform movements can be traced back to the blatant murder of Eric Garner (July 17, 2014) in New York City, and the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri (August 9, 2014), where the energy displayed in the Ferguson Protests/Riots could be traced further back to the sociological effects of social media, over the acquittal of George Michael Zimmerman over this murder of Treyvon Martin (February 26, 2012). When Treyvon was murdered that energy was boiling in the public, so once more and more police shootings occurred, that energy merged with the police reform movement.
In summary, even though Treyvon Martin’s murder in 2012 wasn’t explicitly calling out police, the racial implications of the case, started the energy that would later coalesce with actual police killings or abuse (a larger, yet separate issue but often straddling the issue of race), and this energy would create the Black Lives Matter movements, which was the strongest and most visible of all police reform movements, and even though it was intended to speak up for injustices against black people, the movement absorbed other police reform movements making it more multi-racial (since anyone with a YouTube account can see videos of police abusing all types of people). The reaction to BLM therefore created the reactionary movements of All Lives Matters (which never called for police reform but was simply a way of alleging that black people are ‘reverse racist’, emotional, or selfish) and then the Blue Lives Matters movement. So once an actual police reform movement was established, the system picked up on this, largely to farm votes, make promises, and have a steady stream of media coverage. Yet, as time went on, the police reform movement (a grassroots movement) became more powerful, especially when the domestic and international protests occurred during the George Floyd situation, so the system started to insert more morally ambiguous cases to control the public, i.e., using a form what can consider to be psychological warfare (for example, read into concepts such as white, grey, and black propaganda).
Showing ambiguous cases helped to overshadow blatant cases of police abuse and undermine police reform movements.
III. Saying Reform but Really Funding Police behind the scenes
The system (i.e., a nexus between private special interests, corporations, government, institutions of violence, and the media) never truly wanted to reform police. If anything, the government has continued to fund police such as the Biden-Harris Administration issuing the Cops Hiring Program (CHP) by way of The Department of Justice, that has allocated $139 Million to police agencies across the USA. According to the Justice Department (2021), “The awards provide direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation, allowing those agencies to hire 1,066 additional full-time law enforcement professionals.” Further, per the Justice Department (2021), “Since its creation in 1994, COPS has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 135,000 officers. CHP, COPS’ flagship program, continues to be in demand today: In FY21, COPS received 590 applications requesting nearly 3,000 law enforcement positions. For FY22, President Biden has requested $537 million for CHP, an increase of $300 million.”
Also, under the Trump Administration by way of William Barr at the Justice Department, police agencies started increasing the use of facial-recognition software by firms such as Clearview A.I., a part of a larger “pre-crime initiative”. According to Elizabeth Lopatto (2020) of Verge, “More than 2,400 police agencies have entered contracts with Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition firm, according to comments made by Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That in an interview with Jason Calacanis on YouTube.” According to the US Senate in a public release dated June 10, 2020, “U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), today sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf expressing concern about the use of facial recognition technology to gather information on those Americans who joined in protest of systemic racial injustice. Americans in more than 350 cities across the nation have taken to the streets while law enforcement agencies have unregulated access to inaccurate and biased facial recognition technology.”
We also can’t forget that the militarization of police agencies by way of excess Department of Defense surplus is still going. Police agencies receive surplus military hardware via the National Defense Authorization Act and the Pentagon’s Program 1033. Since 2021, there is likely even more rampant transfer of military hardware to police considering the drawn down from Afghanistan. Alice Speri (2021) of The Intercept, reported, “Nearly $90 million worth of military equipment was transferred to police last year alone, and more than $7.4 billion since 1990.” Further, Speri (2021) stated, “The proposed amendments to the defense budget have been introduced by Democratic Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Hank Johnson of Georgia. (Johnson’s bill has a Republican cosponsor, California Rep. Tom McClintock.) Velázquez’s, the most aggressive among them, seeks to end the program altogether by striking the NDAA provision that authorizes it. Ocasio-Cortez’s seeks to prohibit the transfer of a number of items, including ammunition, grenade launchers, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. The vehicles, known as MRAPs, have become a symbol of the program after they were dispatched to protests and home raids. Pressley’s seeks to issue a moratorium on 1033 transfers of what is known as “controlled party,” which includes military items like weapons, vehicles, and night vision equipment. And Johnson’s seeks to limit the transfers but offers a series of carveouts and exceptions, including for counterterrorism purposes. The language of Johnson’s bill already cleared the House as part of a the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has languished in the Senate.”
Cops haven’t been reformed, but more so police agencies could by toying with the public by not dealing with crime. They’re holding out, while the media simplistically talks about the “crime wave” of late 2021, so the public crawls back to police (despite cops still being paid by taxpayers). The media is helping this by playing “shell games” to discredit protestors no different than how previous administrations such as Nixon or J. Edgar Hoover used nefarious methods to undermine progressive grassroots movements, such as Red Squads. But we need to realize the “system” has decades of practice and contingency in place, and there’s methods largely due to social media and technology as more efficient at exploiting the masses.
Lopatto, E., Clearview AI CEO says ‘over 2,400 police agencies’ are using its facial recognition software, (published on 26 August 2020), Retrieved on: 12 December 12, 2021, Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/26/21402978/clearview-ai-ceo-interview-2400-police-agencies-facial-recognition
Speri, A., Lawmakers Take On Militarization of Police in Defense Budget Talks. Biden failed to take action on the Pentagon’s 1033 program. Now four lawmakers have proposed NDAA amendments that would limit or end it., (published on 20 September 2021)., Retrieve on: 12 December 2021, Source: https://theintercept.com/2021/09/20/ndaa-military-equipment-police-1033/
The United States Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs., Justice Department Announces $139 Million for Law Enforcement Hiring to Advance Community Policing, (published on 18 November 2021) , Retrieved on : 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-139-million-law-enforcement-hiring-advance-community-policing
United States Senate – U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs., Brown, Wyden, Booker Seek Answers On Federal Use Of Facial Recognition Technology To Monitor Nationwide Protest, (published on 10 June 2020), Retrieved on: 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.banking.senate.gov/newsroom/minority/brown-wyden-booker-seek-answers-on-federal-use-of-facial-recognition-technology-to-monitor-nationwide-protest
IV. Poor Marketing
When the slogan, Defund the Police, came about it immediately received criticism that simply fed into conservative status quo politics. Even, though there is context and nuance around the slogan of Defund the Police, i.e., it really means diverting funds into social investments such as mental health, poverty prevention, after school programs, let’s be honest…most people don’t really dig as deep when trying to find context or nuance, especially in a polarized political environment. The slogan easily could have been “Reallocate Police” or “Freeze the Police”, i.e., taking a police officer phase of “freeze” when trying to apprehend suspects, in an attempt freeze funding for police while further legislation and reforms were drafted and hopefully passed by state and federal lawmakers. I have no proof of what I am going to say next, but it seems that Defund the Police was purposely inserted into the lexicon or into the “zeitgeist” (collective consciousness) to be controversial so people would likely not support police reform largely since people were fearing “radical Leftist politics”. It seems like an easy trick to pull. Insert a controversial phrase into the public so it helps create a larger wedge on an already existing wedge issue. Once the term was inserted or “downloaded” into the collective consciousness, no one could really stop it because conservatives pushed it to undermine police reform, and people who are liberal or on the Left felt they needed to support the slogan as to not be seen as not being “down enough with the cause”. I am not sure who created the slogan of Defund the Police, but once could speculate that such as slogan could have easily been inserted into the public to create a further divide.
V. Political Dialectics and the Illusion of Political Differences
The Democratic Party serves the role of “calming” or “anesthetizing” the public by hearing out the concerns of the public, often using this for political gains, i.e., farming votes, such as appealing to minorities communities by promising to acknowledge their concerns in good faith, yet the Republican Party adamantly defends the police state. So, what you end up with is one side being apologists (losers) and the other side being defenders of the status quo, yet neither side are concerned about reform, since the very nature of Congress at this point is juggling the public who often doesn’t have monetary power yet are essential for the number game of winning votes, with that of powerful corporate interests (passing spending bills where tax money goes to powerful entities or special interests). Even if there are a few politicians who are true believers in police reform, they’re far and few, and the complicated process of creating legislation in the Congress between the House, Senate, and President, makes promises of police reform nearly futile. Democrats promise, give fiery “woke speeches”, say the right things to be considered “down” with whatever communities they represent, but often promise things can’t deliver on, yet, the politicians can simply blame the opposition.
VI. “Let the Children Tire Themselves Out” and waiting out the storm
The nexus between the Department of Justice, Congress, police agencies, and media, simply wait until the public “tires itself out”, so nothing changes. The media uses race to tire out the public on racial conversations, so the underlying agenda of reforming police doesn’t happen. It could be summarized as using and elevating black people, but then scapegoating black people downstream, so nothing changes, but the black community is left with the resent of other communities.
VII. Discrediting, Race Play and Reverse Psychology
Since police abuse often has a racial connotation to it, elements of the media try to shame communities such as black community by insinuating that the black community obsesses over race, can’t think outside of a racial worldview, and black organizations such as Black Lives Matters are fraudulent entities (where the right wing has even compounded this allegation by inserting everyone’s favorite boogeyman of George Soros – as if Soros is the only billionaire funding movements, e.g., the Mercer Family who donated to the Trump Campaign where involved in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal).
This use of racial tropes of black people being “emotional or irrational”, therefore feeds into the larger collective consciousness of society in which, for example, many white people become disillusioned, some often insinuating a sense of reverse racism or the media giving minorities preference over the grievances of white people, and all of this is used by conservatives to grow their base, yet, it seems as if this “farming operation” is purposeful between both political parties.
For example, take the Jussie Smollett case. Jussie Smollett selfishly appropriated the larger racial conversation which in many ways was in opposition to the white supremacists’ dog-whistles of Donald Trump, where this larger conversation includes police reform. When Smollett was found guilty of lying about a hate crime, even though he wasn’t directly linked to police reform, the fiasco he caused helped undermine police reform, since, as already stated, police reform was an element of the larger racial conversation. Many people in the public see Smollett as being indicative of alleged bias for minorities within the liberal media, and this energy feeds further into opposing progressive politics such as feeding into the energy and talking points of people such as Donald Trump, Candace Owens, etc. The goals are to make black people (serving as the more visible force when speaking up for BIPOC issues), to appear “irrational”, “emotional”, “playing the race card to their own advantage”, etc. It’s a form of reverse psychology or employing “gotcha moments”, by making it seem as if minorities are racially obsessed emotional beings who will “believe anything”, and this helps to undermine the legitimate concerns raised by BIPOC communities.
Another example of trying to discredit black people where black people are at the forefront of police reform, is how Black Lives Matter as an organization was attacked. The Right Wing as already stated tried to tap into the George Soros conspiracy theories, where those conspiracy theories in and of themselves harken back to antisemitic tropes, e.g., Z.O.G (Zionist Occupied Government) or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (thus, feeding into the right-wing fringe elements of the Donald Trump administration, and by right wing elements, I’m not saying people who disapprove of Israel which has been alleged as being antisemitic in our Bari Weiss redefinition of the word of antisemitism, but actual people who hate Jewish people and wish them harm).
Yet, critics of BLM, including legitimate outlets where people get news from such as The New York Post (despite it having a reputation for spin tactics), alleged that BLM was engaging in real estate fraud, when Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors was discovered to have purchased multiple properties. Rick Rouan (2021) of The USA Today, in a fact check of the allegations made by conservative non-profit National Legal and Policy Center Chairman Peter Flaherty, stated “But there is no evidence to support the idea that Khan-Cullors used donations that poured in amid nationwide protests in 2020 to bankroll the purchase of four homes.”
Rouan (2021) stated, the claim that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors bought four luxury homes is MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional information it could be misleading. While some social media users suggested that the purchases were evidence that Khan-Cullors had been enriched by the movement, our research revealed no evidence that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation funds were used to purchase property. Khan-Cullors has held several other jobs in addition to her work as the organization’s volunteer executive director, including writing a memoir and developing content for Warner Brothers.
Robert Gaetry (2020) of Fox News, spoke about Sir Maejor Page, who was a founder of a chapter of Black Lives Matter in the Metro Atlanta area. Gaetry (2020) stated, “Page founded Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta in 2016 and this year took in more than $466,000 in donations in June, July and August, Desorbo said. “In sum, Page has spent over $200,000 on personal items generated from donations received through BLMGA Facebook page with no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice,” he said. According to the bureau, Page also used $112,000 of the donated money to purchase a house for himself in Toledo, Ohio. The transaction took place last month. Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta could not solicit donations after losing its tax-exempt status as a charity in 2019 for failing to submit to the IRS 990 tax returns listing donations and expenditures.”
Lastly, Gaetry (2020), stated, “The FBI in Toledo said Page pledged to use those donations “for George Floyd” but instead used the money make purchases related to food, dining, entertainment, clothing, furniture, a home security system, tailored suits and accessories.”
So, even if Black Lives Matter was corrupt, what does their alleged corruption have to do with actual police reform or the fact that the United States has a history of racism and reality of structural racism? The goal of conservatives is to use race to discredit the overarching goal of police reform, e.g., alleging BLM is a global “Jewish” conspiracy meant to “agitate black people” against white people and that the organization is a money laundering scheme, using situations such as Jussie Smollett’s fake hate crime to discredit the entire black community, and insinuating that black people are so passionate about their race – indifferent to the needs of others – that they will believe anything indifferent to the facts such as insinuating that most black people didn’t know the victims of the Kyle Rittenhouse shootings were white (i.e., calling black people’s emotional and intellectual state into question which harkens back to old racial tropes that black people need guidance and paternalism from “wise, civilized, and more calm” white people).
Within any organization structured like Black Lives Matters which seems to be based upon decentralized franchises or chapters, the likelihood of corruption will always be there, but to state that all or most chapters weren’t engaged in legitimate public engagement, training, community initiatives, etc., seems false. Any corruption that occurs with Black Lives Matter is unacceptable, and it is my personal belief that Black Lives Matters hasn’t done enough to truly impact or improve the material conditions of the black community. Yet, regardless, BLM doesn’t represent or have sole-ownership of the entire history of the treatment of BIPOC people withing Western Civilization.
Black Lives Matter does have a responsibility to ensure the funds gathered from donors is being adequately distributed – with accountability – to impoverish communities across the United States such as providing scholarships to colleges be they HBCU, HIS, Tribal Colleges (Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Hispanic Servicing Institutions); assisting in America’s housing and homeless crisis such as providing temporary living assistance; establishing transitional programs for newly released inmates; organizing voter registration campaigns; donating to other educational institutions such as museums that represents the history of BIPOC peoples; safe sex campaigns by partnering with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and standing up for sex workers – many who are people of color – who suffer violence such as working with SWOP (the Sex Worker’s Outreach Program).
It does seem that Black Lives Matters has faded from mainstream public view after the 2020 Presidential Election (not saying there’s still grassroots communication continuing), which does raise the plausibility that the organization was used to “farm” black people’s votes to benefit the Democratic Party machine, particularly to counter the power of Donald Trump, who upon his election controlled both chambers of Congress, and by the end of his presidency put three conservative Supreme Court Justices into power (who have the power to see cases over Voting Rights, Civil Rights, reproductive rights, etc.). Yet, as already stated, BLM whether it’s entirely good, entirely bad, or partially good and bad, doesn’t solely represent the goals of black, Hispanic, Indigenous First Peoples, bi-racial/multi-racial, or AAPI liberation. Essentially, if BLM were to completely fade away tomorrow and die in infamy, it doesn’t mean racism also disappears, it doesn’t mean the Republican Party is catering to white supremacy (such as Marjorie Taylor Greene advocating for a White Anglo Saxon Caucus), nor does it mean that police abuse isn’t an issue.
Gaetry, R. Atlanta activist spent $200G in Black Lives Matter donations on house, personal expenses: FBI, Sir Maejor Page, 32, is facing fraud and money laundering charges., (published on 26 September 2020)., Retrieve on 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/atlanta-activist-spent-200g-in-black-lives-matter-donations-on-house-personal-expenses-fbi
Rouan, R. Fact check: Missing context in claim about Black Lives Matter co-founder’s property purchases., (published on 19 April 2021)., Retrieved 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/04/19/fact-check-misleading-claim-blm-co-founders-real-estate/7241450002/
VIII. Unleashing the wolves to harass the sheep & race relating to Kenosha – Waukesha – and Oxford High School
When you look at the case of Darrell Brooks in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but also, the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, you notice that both men were criminals. Why were the released from jail or release from the authority of a mental health facility? There are many people in jail that don’t have the sheer amount of baggage these two men have yet are still wasting away in dangerous and unsanitary prisons across the US. Ironically, the same system that police are a part of, i.e., the state, let these men out of jail, where one could argue not only do police use excessive violence often against people who aren’t threats, but they also release dangerous people from jail who end up terrorizing the public. Is this by coincidence? Or, maybe these lags in the system are due to the fact the system (that police are a part of) is too big to fail but constantly fails being so big and disorganized (unaccountable). It’s like a machine that spits out problems naturally, but it’s so big and embedded into society that no one notices until it’s too late.
For example, Joseph Rosenbaum was a pedophile, having been released from jail, but he was in a later relationship with a woman, yet he was living a nearly destitute or transient existence. He never should have been out of the care of mental health professionals but for some reason he was released. His aggressive behavior that night toward Kyle Rittenhouse (who never should have been out that night to begin with) helped spark the shootings that commenced. It’s interesting, as well that with Rosenbaum being a pedophile (who was also assaulted himself at a young age), the pedophile category has been applied by the political right culturally towards the political left in other arenas, such as with Qanon, the notion of “Hollyweird”, etc. The political right trying to take ownership of the pedophile category to attack liberals or the Left, is simply a strategy to undermine progressive politics, even though pedophiles come from all racial, ethnic, gender and political backgrounds. The fact Rosenbaum was a pedophile in theory helped give the political right more ammunition in their campaign to underline the political left in the larger Culture Wars, even though Rosenbaum was an individual acting on his own accord.
Just because Rosenbaum was at the protests doesn’t mean he was there to protests and it doesn’t mean he was there to stand up for what the protestors were standing for. Basically, he was likely there to cause issues to take out his rage against the world, i.e., the riots were an excuse for him to express his rage against the system, his own failures, his own demons, etc. Those who supported the protests or the cause underneath it, were not necessarily angry a pedophile was murdered, but more so a counter-protestors or vigilante had showed up to a protest which resulted in the deaths of people even if Rittenhouse was found innocent of all charges. The implications of having counter-protestors such as those in typical militia garb such as Proud Boys or Boogaloo escalating violence was the concern, considering these groups are extensions of MAGA politics (“Stand back, stand by”, as said by Donald Trump when asked about militias during his debates with Biden which happened before the eventual January 6th Capital Insurrection).
Relating to Darrell Brooks, the conservative media was very quick to try to bring up Darrell Brook’s race, because they felt that the liberal media during the Rittenhouse Trial was against “white people”. Aesthetically, in the minds of many, Rittenhouse is symbolic of “MAGA, Blue Lives Matter, Police worship”, whereas Darrell Brooks is symbolic of “easy on crime, ‘liberal policies’, black radicalism”, etc. In other words, to many, Darrell Brooks represents to the cultural Right Wing as being the result of soft-on-crime policies, racial double standards, and the need for more cops, i.e., “this is what happens when we don’t have police and this what happens when you let “Demon-crats” have power”. Yet, what people fail to understand between the two cases of Rittenhouse and Brooks is that everyone knows that Brooks is a criminal, everyone regardless of race can agree he’s a criminal, and he’s already on his way to being fully persecuted by the law, whereas the Rittenhouse was more ambiguous as to whether he was or wasn’t a criminal, but from first impression, based on his profile (a cop loving, Donald Trump rally attending young white male, who made suspect comments about using violence against protestors), there was reason to be highly suspect of Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse inserted himself into a larger cultural debate that encompasses a wide array of values, aesthetics, movements, symbols, interpretations, a remind of a history of white vigilante justice, etc. Therefore, the media bit so hard into the Rittenhouse case. It is because there was ambiguity and ambiguity lead to conversations, panel experts, segments (commercial break included), etc.
After the Rittenhouse acquittal, there was the Waukesha Parade Attack by Darrell Brooks, but then came the tragic Oxford High School shootings on November 30, 2021. Per conservative logic, such as the rhetoric by pundits such as Candace Owens or Steven Crowder, one would have assumed the “liberal MSM media” (MSM is mainstream media) would have instantly called out the shooter’s, Ethan Crumbley’s, race. But, they didn’t. Why? Once could only assume that there’s are different reporting procedures and different rules (even, if only “gentlemen’s rules) when it comes to reporting various categories of crimes, e.g., mass shootings/school shootings versus terror attacks (which could include mass and/or school shootings) versus possible hate crimes versus “everyday crimes”.
What I notice here regarding the Right Wing’s take to these events after the Rittenhouse Trial is that Republicans are desperately seeking to establish “racial parity”. They feel that liberals or the Left have more of a tool in their pocket, e.g., Critical Theory, Intersectionality, etc., to challenge the status quo, so naturally conservatives are desperately trying to find “gotcha moments” to undermine the larger conversation relating to systemic oppression, racism, lack of diversity in certain institutions of power, etc.
All of this does deal with cops, because cops as a symbol are a part of the larger cultural debates, so by conservatives trying to establish “racial parity” in the media, they help grow the sentiment of police worship (the residuals of Blue Lives Matters, etc.).
IX. Copaganda in Hollywood
Many police shows paint police in a popular or sentimental light, where there is always justification for using violence rather than de-escalation tactics.
X. Crime Wave Fears.
After the failure of the Congress to pass legislation, the system giving a few wins to police reformists such as the arrests of Derek Chauvin after the George Floyd Trial, a general sense of ennui in the public as the police (and racial) conversation dragged on, and other things I spoke about above, come late 2021 going into 2022, the media, especially conservative media is pushing the “Crime Wave” panic. This further helps to justify the presence of police. Yet, the Crime Wave could be simply boiled down to the slow recovery and normalization of life with COVID-19. People have been staying inside, remote working, not commuting to work, online shopping, etc. Naturally, as more people leave their homes, there will be a higher probability of crime, where one could even call the notion of crime as being subjective, e.g., more people committing traffic violations or minor civil infractions could be considered crime. Regardless, the fact that more people are out and about, crime will naturally occur. Crime is further compounded by social issues (which conservatives rarely acknowledge) such as the insane real estate market in many major US cities causing homelessness or economic desperation, the fact that unemployment naturally causes crime but also suicides/mental health situations. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve central bank in many ways is helping to inflate real estate prices ranging from homes, apartments, and even trailer parks.