Police Are Showing Us Who They Are

Across America, police officers and departments are meeting protests against police violence with police violence. And the longer protests continue, the less they seem to care who sees it.

In Buffalo, video surfaced of police pushing a 75-year-old protestor to the ground and walking past him as he lay motionless and bled profusely from his head. Police initially reported that the man “tripped and fell.” Two Buffalo police officers were suspended.

In Austin, riot police shot 20-year-old Justin Howley in the head with beanbag rounds—ammunition designed to be “less lethal”—on Sunday night. Howley, a student at Texas State University, suffered a fractured skull and brain damage from the shooting and remains sedated in critical condition.

In New York, Judge James Burke ruled that the NYPD could detain anyone, protestor or not, for more than 24 hours, effectively eliminating habeas corpus for all city citizens. Various reports and videos out of New York City show police kettling protestors, attacking them with batons, and arresting even essential workers mere minutes after the city’s curfew.

In Asheville, N.C., police destroyed a medical supply tent, stabbing water bottles meant for protestors and breaking up volunteer medics approved by the city. This tactic has been used in cities across America, including Minneapolis, where protests began.

In Washington, D.C., authorities seized hundreds of masks meant to protect protestors from potential COVID-19 exposure during demonstrations. The masks were embellished with the phrases “Stop Killing Black People” and “Defund Police.” HuffPost’s Ryan Reilly wrote that “[i]t’s not entirely clear what law enforcement entity seized the masks or why.”

Politicians and police chiefs from coast to coast have attempted to push the “outside agitators” narrative for the better part of a week. It’s an attempt to delegitimize the protests, portray them as riotous, and deny that so many people could be so dissatisfied and angry with police in America. But the longer demonstrations continue, the more the picture comes into focus—police are the ones rioting and endangering public safety. The evidence is right in front of us.

recommendations