Abolition and the War on Terror

The rage palpable on the streets after the police murder of George Floyd has coalesced into a demand for abolishing the police and there is once again an increased focus on how US law enforcement has become militarized in the past three decades.

“For the past week,” writes Stuart Schrader, “our social media and television screens have been dominated by images of police officers in head-to-toe body armor wielding batons, pepper-ball guns, riot shields, and teargas against mostly peaceful protesters.” These images may be shocking but the spectacle is hardly new. It was on full display during the police response to protests in Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown in 2014 and during the first public iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of Travyon Martin a year before. Continue reading “Abolition and the War on Terror”

How Community Policing Endangers Black and Muslim Communities

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The protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd have catapulted police brutality and criminal justice reform into the mainstream. The routine killing of Black people at the hands of police officers can no longer be plausibly attributed to a few bad cops. The issue is now understood to be systemic and requiring structural reforms. But as demands for defunding and abolishing the police have become the rallying cry for activists, liberal politicians are instead offering community-oriented policing initiatives as a solution. 

In an op-ed for USA Today, the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for “an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing” in the United States. Like many liberal politicians, Biden believes in “the power of community policing — getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect.” Continue reading “How Community Policing Endangers Black and Muslim Communities”