There are many people in the streets because, like me, our hearts are hurt, and we want the culture of racism that’s been engrained into the Minneapolis Police Department throughout the years to stop. This horrible pattern of police brutality and murder of black and brown people by police must end. But there are others here too who are outsiders; not, people from our community, people here to provoke us, to take advantage of this raw emotion and pain we feel, and I’m sad to say they are just as well organized.
At some point last night things turned from community protest to anarchy, lawlessness, and the police and fire department seemed to pull back and let it happen. They were not there to “protect and serve” our community. They were not there to distinguish the legitimate, peaceful protesters from those whose intent was to provoke, commit crime, an enflame buildings, not passions.
This is the problem with police who are not trusted because historically they have been hostile, hurtful, and harassing to black and brown people – when a gentle giant like George Floyd is murdered in the manner that it happened there is a level of deep bigotry and bias that runs through the policing culture of the MPD that must be uprooted. We must rethink policing from beginning to end, from the academies to what and how we allow police to operate, especially cops who have a history of using unnecessary force, or racist behavior, like Chauvin and at least one of the other four officers have.
As a community, state, and nation we must go into the election of 2020 committed to electing people ready to confront these problems head on – unafraid to make the change required to address generations of systemic oppression that lead to decades of frustration, anger, and fear for too many of our colleagues, friends, neighbors, and communities.
It’s going to take more than four cops being fired, at least one now charged, and the consistent convictions in these situations to turn hearts and permanently dismantle racist oppressive systems – and that is where we must start. But regardless of what it will take to end police brutality and murder of people of color, we must begin, now.