Stay Alert. Control the Police. Save Lives
You could be forgiven for thinking America is at civil war judging by the pictures on our news screens last week and this week following the cold blooded, calculated murder/manslaughter of George Floyd on 25th May 2020.
Earlier in the same month, on 8th May 2020 Europe celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Victory over Europe day, when Germany admitted defeat in World War II. Defeat of Hitler’s Nazi army and white supremacy vision. The parallels are clear. Europe decided it had had enough of appeasing Hitler. America, in particular African-America, with its Caucasian allies, is standing together and saying enough is enough. They have to defeat the stain of racism in their nation. The fires raging across the nation are a deliberately violent demonstration that the period of appeasement and tolerance is dead and buried.
The shocking video of George Floyd’s last 8 minutes alive as his life was literally squeezed out of him by former Police Officer Mr Derek Chauvin has shocked the world. In a civilised society we surely cannot allow his death to be in vain. My earnest, deepest hope from afar, in England is that America fights this battle with the same vigour, vitality and commitment it and nations all over the world have adopted to fight the deadly corona virus.
It has been open warfare on the Black man in America for too many years by far too many of its renegade Police Officers. This is a battle that isn’t going to be won by physically taking on the might of the US Police force, which make no mistake will be backed up the US military if need be. President Donald Trump has made that abundantly clear in his infamous tweet (censored by Twitter for potentially inciting violence – I think we can safely strike out the word ‘potentially’) – “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
While I fully understand the immeasurable, un-containable anger and frustration leading to the burning of police stations and police cars – which has a certain logic and justice to it, the looting, rioting and burning down of cities and places of employment, I have less sympathy for. I consider it folly to destroy your own communities at the best of times, more so during the middle of a pandemic which has chucked millions of people onto the unemployment register. That is undoubtedly a factor in all this, as so many have been cooped up indoors for months on end, so many more have nothing to lose, that this was just too much for them to bear.
Let us pray and hope there is not a spike in corona virus as a consequence of these actions where it is clear social distancing is not being maintained.
Many others, such as Daily Show host Trevor Noah, may disagree. Nevertheless the swift show of strength and anger is clearly not going un-noticed. The whole world is watching and waiting to see what America will do next. It is waiting to see what President Trump will do to address this monumental problem within the Police Forces of America.
I understand the point Noah’s making in his excellent Daily Show video on the killing of George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis, the domino’s of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again. It’s right to link all that’s going on in the United States, or should that be Diss-United States, as Ahmaud Arbery, Amy Cooper and George Floyd and countless others haven’t happened in isolation. They all inter-sect at the crossroad of rabid racism and gun control (lack of) right across America.
Gun control enters the equation as the only reason Floyd and bystanders were unable to stop the Officers was because they were all armed and Chauvin and Tou Thoa showed a willingness to use their guns. I was very, very unhappy and uncomfortable watching people be bystanders just filming and pleading with the officer to stop. A robust, far, far quicker, more threatening, more heavy handed response was required and was lacking with tragic consequences.
I just can’t see how burning down the city you live in, in my view, stupid at the best of times, can be the correct course of action especially in the middle of a pandemic, in week when the United States reached a horrific milestone of 100,000 deaths, by far the highest number on the planet.
This economic violence needs to cease forthwith and I would strongly argue that anyone who is that angry should without delay unite, re-direct and re-purpose their collective anger into something that will generate the far more productive, constructive, tangible and long lasting change they want to see. Surely that will be the best way to honour the memory of George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile and countless others who’ve been murdered by racists. That is precisely what I want to focus on in this article.
Justice for George Floyd
First and foremost we need to secure justice for George Floyd. It’s excellent news that the irresponsible former Police Officer Derek Chauvin was been summarily dismissed from his post, arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder. Why it isn’t 1st or at least 2nd degree murder is a major concern, as are initial reports citing Mr Floyd had underlying health issues. Please? The authorities will be saying next he died of covid-19.
What about the other 3 officers, including Officer Tou Thoa who acted as a shield to prevent anyone stopping Derek Chauvin, plus Officer J.K. Kueng who held Floyd’s back and Officer Thomas Lane who held his legs while Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s head and neck area for 8.46 minutes including 3 minutes when Mr Floyd had stopped talking and moving? It’s tremendous they were all summarily dismissed unprecedentedly quickly, the very next day – 26th May 2020, but again it’s of great concern that they too haven’t been arrested and charged with, at the very least, aiding and abetting a murder. That surely is a serious miss-step and needs addressing ASAP. I cannot see the protest marches, fire burning and destruction ending until that happens at the very least.
10 Steps to Permanent and Lasting Change
One hopes and need to ensure that state/nation-wide legislation plus internal policies and procedures will be implemented, if they aren’t already, in every single state of America so that should there be future unlawful murders of innocent Black men, the Police Officers responsible, directly or indirectly, are summarily dismissed or at the very least face internal disciplinary procedures for gross misconduct and then go onto face the full force of the judicial system, just as any other citizen would. We must not lose sight of the fact that Police Officers are employed to serve and uphold justice and protect American citizens, not kill them. What we’re seeing in such cases is anything but that. It’s the exact opposite. An abuse of power by Police Officers who don’t deserve their position’s.
We need to look at other initiatives, think outside the box, for ideas perhaps not yet considered and implemented. Effectively, to borrow from the corona virus campaign in the UK, America needs to ‘STAY ALERT. CONTROL THE POLICE. SAVE LIVES.’ To that extent I propose the following measures aimed at bringing a halt to racist murders of innocent men and women in America and elsewhere in the world where the police are abusing their authority and duty to uphold the law and protect its citizens.
1. Report America to the United Nations and ask that they go in and investigate racism within the US Police Force with an aim of Reducing Inequalities – one of their 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
2. A commitment for strong and effective leadership to enact and enforce these and other appropriate measures proposed from the President of the United States, the legislature, senators, Police Chiefs, mayors, governors and local Council Leaders.
3. Punish Officers not only by taking away their employment, but punish all Police Officers across America until the message gets though that they are one united Police force and if action needs to be taken to address this then all have to be in this together and all need to feel the pain financially, not just the guilty perpetrators. I recommend that every single one of the 52 states pass swift and immediate legislation to enable this. President Trump should be lobbied to sign an executive order to make this mandatory from June 2020. If he has the power to do so, he needs persuading by the senate and public to exercise it. He has shown he can move swiftly to flex his executive authority with the corona virus. In that light I am proposing the following immediate actions:
(i) – Introduce an immediate pay cut of 5% for all Police Officers each and every time there is an unlawful murder or manslaughter of an innocent Black (or other man/woman for that matter). Right across all Americans states. That is to last for 1 year and they would only be eligible for future pay rises if there are no further incidents in America in the 12 months following the pay cut.
(ii) – If that is not feasible USA wide, then at the very least enact that across the state in which the murder/manslaughter occurs.
(iii) – If that can’t be passed, then introduce a pay freeze – USA wide ideally or at least within the State in which the murder/manslaughter occurs.
4. Hold Chiefs of Police and other leaders more accountable for the actions of their officers. If that isn’t already in place, that would force them to do more to root our racists and racist, murderous actions of the officers under their command.
5. Investigate whether annual appraisals are taking place and re-enforce the equality and diversity principles and core values that every officer is meant to be upholding. I would recommend that that needs reviewing so that this is monitored and measured on a more frequent basis. It is seemingly all too easy for Officers to hide their true colours, get employed, pass their probation, then revert to type. By then it’s too late. You have an armed racist patrolling the streets of America with a license to kill. Literally. For instance, with only 1% of Officers in Minneapolis ever facing charges, they act like they know they’ve got a 99% chance of getting away with it. No doubt that’s why they made little attempt to stop the mobile phone filming of Mr Floyd’s murder. The fact 7 days later only 1 out of 4 of the men has been arrested and charged rather proves the point at this very early stage.
6. Review recruitment and probationary procedures. I would hope that 95% of Police Officers are honest, law abiding, non-racist Officer seeking to uphold law and order fairly and justly, but their good reputation gets dragged when the likes of people like Mr Chauvin rear their ugly head. That speaks to something just not being right with the Police’s recruitment and probation policies. Are they robust enough to identify and weed out racists and racist behaviour traits? Is there a need for more intelligent psychological profiling to assist in this regard? America’s a sophisticated society when it comes to such things. It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man or woman to come up with something useful in this regard. This includes as a matter or great urgency reviewing the legislation that lets dismissed officers be re-engaged at a later date, especially the rules which preclude employing Police forces from knowing why an applicant was dismissed. That is a huge loophole that needs closing.
7. Ensure that lessons are learnt and disseminated right across America from the states where they’ve been very successful in reducing, if not eliminating racist murders/manslaughters. This should be enacted with a view to ensuring there is standardisation of approach across the USA’s 52 states so that it gives them all the best long term chance of success and protecting African-American citizens from racist Police Officers.
8. Mandatory monitoring and publication of complaints, unlawful murders and other relevant data that would assist.
9. Ensure that lessons are studied, learnt and implemented based upon successful strategies deployed in the corporate world around issues of diversity, equality and tackling racism.
10. Enlist the support of White Americans. The marches and demonstrations in the past week show that so far White America is as appalled by what they say as African-Americans. There is a need to unite and work together to eradicate the fatal effects of racism, both individual and institutionalised.
All of the above can be applied not just in the USA, but in the UK and any other nations where lawless Police Officers are operating.
Today we can read this article. We can breathe. Whilst we can breathe I feel it is incumbent on all who truly care about this matter to take action, however big or small to push forward on any of the above initiatives and of course add to them where there are additional ideas that might advance the movement and ensure Mr Floyd’s death is not in vain.
I close with the words of Bob Marley’s song ‘War’ (1976) based on Emperor Haile Selassie 1’s ‘War’ speech on 4th October 1963, calling for world peace at the 1963 United Nations conference in New Your City.
“Until the philosophy
Which hold one race superior and another
Everywhere is war
Me say war.”
STAY ALERT. CONTROL THE POLICE. SAVE LIVES
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
- Should Youngsters Be Leading the War on Gun Control in America? – Battle of Ideas Tiemo Review – 28th October 2018
- Detroit – Harrowing Civil Unrest Drama – Tiemo film review 3rd September 2017
- 3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets – Tiemo film review – 10th October 2015
- 12 Reasons Why Dominic Cummings Kept his Job – Tiemo article – 31st May 2020