United: The Police Brutality Incident Blacks Have Been Warning You About

Police Brutality
Demonstrators protest outside the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport. Scott Olson/Getty Images

At the heart of our protests, our activism, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling and the ongoing conversations regarding #BlackLivesMatter, is our community’s irrepressible insistence against policy brutality.

No matter how many White nationalist figures, Republican politicians and right-winged talking heads try to steer the conversation into recklessly unfounded claims of anti-White terrorism, anti-Americanism and waging a war on law enforcement, the truth remains that people of color simply want America to address its historic problem with brutalizing citizens in marginalized communities.

To this end, many committed activists have developed organizations throughout the nation to challenge this age-old rhetoric while providing a policy roadmap we can follow to improve our societies. Black Lives Matter laid out an intricate and detailed platform to halt police brutality. Campaign Zero introduced a 10-point policy plan to reduce and eliminate state-sponsored violence. The National Police Accountability Project investigates legal opportunities to address and end excessive force. And Shaun King posted a piece titled, “25 reasonable, practical, achievable SOLUTIONS for police brutality in America” to his Facebook page and has had it pinned right at the top since September 2016.

Since Michael Brown’s dead body was cruelly left baking in the hot Missouri sun in the summer of 2014, launching the issue of brutal force into our consciousness in a manner unseen since the savage attack on Rodney King, murders at the hands of police have only increased. As of February, more people had already been killed by U.S. police than at that same point in any of the previous three years.

Yet, instead of addressing the militarization of local police forces, the increasing numbers of unarmed Black people being wantonly executed by cops and the rising level of Warrior Syndrome taking over the minds of these public servants, we’ve cast aside substantive conversations about police reform at exactly the wrong time.

The larger American society has allowed distraction, after distraction, after distraction to force their attention away from dealing with the creeping problem of unnecessary force. We’ve been so collectively focused on the barrage of incompetence and insensitivity rising out of the Trump administration that brutality took a backseat, at least until United Airlines recently decided to “re-accommodate” it.

Since the incident occurred, United has not only found themselves squarely in the middle of a horrific PR disaster, but they’ve also lost almost a billion dollars in market value thanks to this disgusting event. But while we light up United, it’s important to understand that Chicago Aviation Police committed the actions taken on that plane. This wasn’t just an act of corporate malfeasance; this was the same old-fashioned police brutality that Black activists have been warning the nation about for some time.

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At some point, other communities will need to start propagating the necessity for police reform, because these incidences aren’t decreasing in number or volatility. And the more militarized the police become …and the more they’re commanded by deranged corporate interests, the greater chance we have of seeing this unrivaled ferocity unleashed on more innocent citizens.

But if you think you’ll be insulated from the violence because you don’t live in a “sketchy” area, or because you’re skin isn’t rich with melanin, I have a sad forecast for you, especially under this administration. Just because they aren’t banging down your door today, it doesn’t mean they won’t be coming for you tomorrow.

Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.


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