Police unions around the country are cashing in on the deaths of two NYPD officers by guilt-tripping the masses, attacking protestors (and even blaming the mayor, attorney general and president) for having “blood on their hands.” Tonight New Yorkers defied the calls of the mayor and the police unions to “suspend” all protests by taking to the streets in Manhattan and the Bronx. Here in the Bay Area, residents of Oakland are sharing that sentiment by holding a FTP (Fuck The Police) march on Christmas day with one stated goal: No Time Off.
A handful of organizations and self-appointed leaders, like the well-known FBI informant Rev. Al Sharpton, have rushed to condemn the killings in an attempt to “preserve the moral high ground.” However, many long time anti-police activists and residents of Oakland are remembering Lovell Mixon — a local villain to some, but a hero to others– who killed four OPD officers during the height of the Oscar Grant rebellions.
In the Brooklyn shooting, as well as in Mixon’s case, police unions capitalized on public sympathy by claiming protests were the root cause of the officers’ deaths. It should be expected that police unions would stoop so low as to use their colleagues’ deaths for political maneuvering: this is nothing new. In the meantime, they have completely shown their asses, making their position quite clear: they do not believe they have done anything wrong in the past, they believe they are doing no wrong now, and they believe all their brutality, corruption, viciousness, spying and killing is legally and morally justifiable. With a claim that the killing of cops puts them in a position “At War,” they are dismissing the fact that police in the United States have killed at least 1,073 in 2014 alone (although police have no accountability for keeping data on their shootings). This rhetoric should be translated as so: the lives of police mean more than ours do and their violence is going to continue.
As much as the cops find these shootings justified, they do find one thing to be wrong and dangerous: that people are talking about it. Even worse, people– especially black and brown people–are organizing to combat it. These are the people that the police and their unions are “At War” with. It has always been this way, but now it has been stated directly.
“Nobody in the World, Nobody in History has gotten their Freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the People who were Oppressing Them ” – Assata Shakur
[BAI Note: Here is an account of a man deliberately blocked from attempting to collect data on murders-by-police. Congress just passed a bill at the beginning of the month requiring police to keep data on their shootings, years after the expiration of a similar toothless law passed in 2000. We don’t point this out because we think reform matters–but it is worth pointing out that accurate figures are nowhere close to existing anywhere.]
For a longer and related analysis, read: The Ambivalent Silences of the Left: Lovelle Mixon, Police, and the Politics of Race/Rape
For background on Lovelle Mixon: