By Dave Lindorff
The new call to “defund the police departments” is a brilliant idea whose time has come.
As an activist eloquently put the case in a hearing before the Minneapolis City Council, “The police are a 19th-century creation that is inappropriate for a 21st-century society.”
Absolutely correct. As we have written on this site earlier, police forces in the US were actually created for chasing down, capturing and returning escaping slaves. Their role expanded over time to include pursuing criminals, but also to putting down political demonstrations, busting unions and strikes and to basically protecting the wealthy from the great unwashed — the workers, the unemployed and the hungry.
Over time, as police forces have grown in size and political power, they have taken over tasks like responding to emergencies, providing “order and discipline” in our public schools — even elementary schools! — regulating and busting up organized protests, responding to domestic dispute calls, limiting debate by removing questioners from public meetings, and serving routine warrants at homes and apartments.
Often these many “responsibilities” handled today by our police departments lead to avoidable confrontations and even to the use of brutal or deadly force by police, who are actually trained (often by instructors from Israel’s IDF, the military force used to control occupied Palestine) to actually amp up the aggressiveness to intimidate citizens — yelling, cursing and trying to disorient the subject of an investigation or interaction. They are also provided increasingly with the weapons of the military: noxious and debiliting gases, rubber bullets and bean-bag guns, sonic weapons and heavy wooden or metal clubs.
Let’s imagine how things might work if police and the work they do in our society were significantly downsized and defunded. In our modern nation, such as it is, it really is no longer necessary to have police patrolling our highways and neighborhoods looking for vehicle violations — everything from a non-working tail-light or signal light, failure to make a full stop at a stop sign, running a red light, speeding or making a lane change without signaling. Modern technology involving video cameras, including speed cams, are already being placed everywhere. In many European countries, they are ubiquitous, and police patrol cars non-existent. People just get photos and citations mailed to them with a notice of the fine due, which works great.
Police love pursuing vehicle violations because besides raising department revenue, it gives them a huge ability to harass motorists of choice — people who are Driving While Black or Driving While Brown, or in some cases, Driving While Blonde. Cops love the opportunity traffic stops them to subject cars and drivers to searches, hoping to find illicit drugs or guns, just like they do with sidewalk “stop-and-search” campaigns in minority neighborhoods. We can do away with all of that, and the police officers who perform those “duties.”…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/defunding-the-police-departments-of-the-united-states-is-a-beautiful-idea-and-is-perfectly-doable/