How did we get from marching and protesting the brutal murder of yet another unarmed Black man to cops all over the country violently beating Americans exercising their right to peacefully protest? The narrative from the government and the media looks like this:
Black people protesting police brutality turned into Black people looting stores for the hell of it. To stop the looting, the government has had to step in and deploy law enforcement to keep everybody inside and our cities safe.
That’s not how we got here, and that’s not where we are now.
Black people across the country marched for George Floyd and all the other Black people killed by state-sanctioned violence. Sometimes property damage happens when people are angry and have nowhere to direct that anger, when people are silenced and no one is listening. I wrote about it here and you may have already read it.
Here’s where the media first dropped the ball, but we saw it at the protests and we shared the videos on social media. Cops, both undercover and in uniform, along with anti-Black protest infiltrators wanted to instigate riots to stoke the fires of racial tension. They wanted the police to have a reason to justify beating Black people for exercising their right to protest, so they went out and destroyed property.
The media continued to ignore bored white kids ransacking shopping districts for fun. Social media influencers discussed their “riot outfits” before getting drunk and going out to the protests for entertainment.
Here in NYC, they emptied entire stores in SoHo and set fires downtown one night and the next night tried to do the same at Queens Center Mall.
The radio scanners picked up cops responding to projectiles being thrown at the police from rooftops on 56th and Lexington Ave, and if you’re unfamiliar with NYC demographics, there are no Black people there — it’s all rich white folks. They wanted to be a little rebellious, act out a little, dabble in some light anarchy, so they put on their little hoodies and sneakers and went out to the protests armed with privilege and spray paint.
All time great UFC fighter Jon Jones taking spray cans off protestors 👀 pic.twitter.com/kMsmkG8kpp— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) June 1, 2020
There’s some looting along with property damage associated with most civil unrest, but looting as a distinct, planned, and specific activity outside of a peaceful march is what particularly sent NYC into curfew mode, and this is where the media picked up its narrative. White kids from Staten Island burning up SoHo didn’t really make a dent in the media coverage. Black people converging on Macy’s in Herald Square two nights later was cause for mass panic in newsrooms and the halls of government. There are a few different reasons we started to see that.
One, there was opportunity for personal enrichment in a time of chaos. People have been out of work for months and underpaid for generations. If you see people breaking into stores one night, you might be inspired to do the same the next night so you can get some free stuff too.
Two, the same reasons people cause property damage in the course of a march apply to people who destroy storefronts and clear off the shelves as a form of protest: white people in power don’t listen until you mess with their money, so mess with their money on a larger scale.
Three, we watched white kids tearing up stores for two days, white kids who are neither oppressed nor economically disadvantaged. Why should they get all the free stuff when they don’t even need it?
Now the police have been presented with a reason to do what they always want to do, even if they have to embellish the facts or make up lies to give to the media who will then try to convince us that their response is wholly necessary to protect the public.
I am a very online person in a very liberal city, so I often lose touch with the tenor of the country. I don’t always know what white people in rural Nebraska are ingesting from cable news. I don’t always know what Black people in Southern cities are being fed from local reporters. From snapshots of conversations people are having with their relatives, I get the sense that most people think cops are okay, save for a few “bad apples,” the ones who were involved in George Floyd’s murder should be charged, Black people are treated unfairly but too many are using this opportunity to just steal stuff, and curfews will help get everything back under control.
There are so many videos where people of color are attacked for peacefully protesting.
1️⃣7️⃣3️⃣ San Antonio, TX: police abruptly open fire into crowd of peaceful protestors— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
🗣: "Everybody put your hands up!"
👮🏼♂️👮🏼♀️👮🏼: ::starts shooting::
8️⃣0️⃣ Kansas City, KS: like 7️⃣8️⃣ above, a man is talking to a line of cops at length and from a distance— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 1, 2020
So police approach, pepper-spray him, and arrest him
But need you to send them videos of white people talking about their attacks by the police.
Jason Rosenberg, an HIV activist and one of the nicest people in NYC, was beaten, arrested, refused medical treatment by the police, and finally released in the wee hours of the morning so he could go to the emergency room.
Show them videos of the police trapping people with nowhere to go, only to gas them in a smaller space.
Show them videos of journalists being attacked by the police.
1️⃣7️⃣9️⃣ Washington, DC: cops pepper-spray a CNN crew as they're broadcasting live on-air— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
Full video of 1️⃣3️⃣8️⃣ above in Seattle WA— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 2, 2020
Show them videos of white people being attacked by the police.
1️⃣8️⃣2️⃣ Los Angeles, CA: police block a street to swarm out and start arresting random motorists for violating curfew— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
1️⃣6️⃣4️⃣ New York City, NY: how many NYPD cops does it take to beat one woman?— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
Seems like at least 4-5 here pic.twitter.com/gkpwXrhHAz
1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣ Philadelphia, PA: cop pulls down a protestor's mask to pepper-spray her in the face as she's kneeling with her hands up, then the cop sprays another one, then he pushes over a third to make sure he can pepper-spray them in the face too— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 2, 2020
1️⃣8️⃣4️⃣ Los Angeles, CA: protestors shot in the head at 3rd & Fairfax by the Grove— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
Per the journalist who got the video, police shot first, *then* gave order to disperse
If it’s just the case of of “a few bad apples,” why do all the videos from around the country look so similar? Brutality is a feature, not a bug, and if someone in your life is defending law enforcement, show them these videos. T. Greg Doucette has been building a thread on police brutality — and he keeps adding to it here — and you need to make your Blue Lives Matter associates and relatives watch every single one. (Threads on Twitter are tricky, because when they get too long, the thread breaks, but if you scroll down and the tweets stop loading, click the last tweet and more should populate.)
The Civil Rights movement hit a real turning point when white people across the country could turn on the television and see other white people who look just like them standing side by side next to Black people being attacked by the police with dogs and fire hoses. We can go deep into why Black people being brutalized isn’t enough to incite massive changes in society, but it is what it is. White people don’t believe it until it happens to white people. White people won’t believe the cops are bad and that it’s not just a few “bad apples” until they see white people who look like them being gassed, sprayed, tossed, and shot at. So show it to them, because the media isn’t doing enough to focus on the real narrative: law enforcement in this country created this situation (by killing us), exacerbated this situation (by inciting riots), and are prolonging this situation (by trapping and baiting protesters so they can brutalize and arrest them).
Curfews are a way to take the police response and kick it up a notch. In many municipalities, the goal seems to be trapping likely protesters outside after curfew so the police can use force to arrest them or violently frighten them into never protesting again. It didn’t quite go as planned last night in NYC because the protesters didn’t take the bait and there was more publicity than they planned.
Curfew here in the city was at 8pm and some people did not receive notification until well after 7. The police started barricading entrances to subway stations around 6:30 in many areas and we saw crowds of people in places like Columbus Circle wondering how they were going to get home before 8.
Further downtown, thousands of people from three different protests around Manhattan converged and made their way toward the Manhattan Bridge to continue marching into Brooklyn. When they got there, they couldn’t come back, because the NYPD blocked the Manhattan side of the bridge. They also couldn’t turn around, because the NYPD blocked the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Thousands of people were just stuck hundreds of feet above a river with no water, no bathroom, and nowhere to sit for hours, and the images spread around the country (and the world) faster than they anticipated. AOC saw them got ready to leave her home to see if she could do anything. It was front page on CNN — the nation’s largest police force holding thousands of people hostage on a bridge — and helicopter footage.
Protestors are currently trapped on the Manhattan Bridge. NYPD will not let them off on either end.— Sophie Ellman-Golan (@EgSophie) June 3, 2020
We have seen how violent the police are willing to be with protestors, without provocation. All eyes on this bridge. https://t.co/Iz9Hqiz1Bj
The police wanted a riot. They had police vans ready and a wall of cops prepared to gas, spray, beat, and shoot anyone who got agitated, but the protesters didn’t give them the opportunity.
The Brooklyn side of the bridge opened and the marchers were told to go back that way. The subways still run at night for essential workers and some entrances were cleared for protesters who live in Manhattan to get home, but many decided to find shelter in Brooklyn for the night. If you know the police want to arrest you, would you take the subway with a crowd of people coming from a protest?
While this was going on, Mayor deBlasio said the city was calm and curfew was working.
At Barclays Center now. Very calm situation. So far, the curfew is certainly helping, based on everything I’ve seen in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the last three hours.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 3, 2020
In other cities, trapping protesters didn’t end so peacefully.
And that’s where we are now. We’ve gone from the police refusing to take accountability for its treatement of Black people to the police instigating violence to the police trapping people for the sole purpose of enacting violence, to scare the population into submission.
I don’t think it works that way. When you’re an essential worker walking home from your shift at the hospital and you get beaten by the cops , you might be moved to join a protest yourself next time.
When you’re sitting on your porch and the police roll through shooting everyone in your neighborhood to force you to go inside, you might be moved to join a protest yourself next time.
Minneapolis Police and National Guard patrolling resident neighborhoods stopped to fire on residents peacefully filming them from their own front porch. #MinneapolisPoliceMurderdHim pic.twitter.com/mh8uyZN0hl— BreakThrough News (@BTnewsroom) May 31, 2020
When you’re on your couch and you see video of the police getting a kick out of inciting violence, you might be moved to join a protest yourself next time.
this is evidence that the police are the aggressors in these protests pic.twitter.com/eWMLSiQ66W— jacob (@bIndsundoll4mj) May 30, 2020
There are now protests in all 50 states.
Across the world, people are marching in solidarity against American law enforcement officers.
Turnout for George Floyd protests in Amsterdam.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) June 2, 2020
I don’t know what’s going to happen or where this will end up. For all of the white allies marching with and for us, there are equal if not greater numbers on social media calling for us to be shot and roaming the streets armed with weapons at the behest of the President.
These white people are now roaming Philly with the blessing of the police.— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 1, 2020
This is what the President of the United States just endorsed.
Racism set the stage for this, the police created this, and the government is endorsing this. What are you going to do?
These fireworks aren’t normal.
If you know people who are setting off fireworks, either unprompted or at the suggestion and with the aid of some organization, urge them to stop.
I’ll just preface this by saying the fireworks don’t bother me at all. I don’t have a pet or kids and I don’t have a job to wake up for. Plus, one of my roommates is generally a loud person, so I wear earplugs and turn my noise machine up — there could be an actual war going on outside and I wouldn’t know about it.
But is there a war going on outside? These aren’t normal fireworks. I’ve lived in NYC for 12 years, and ten of those have been in predominantly Black & Brown neighborhoods — Bushwick, BedStuy, Harlem — where fireworks in the summer are normal. I’ve heard them every year I’ve been here. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, people randomly shoot off cheap little fireworks.
I started pointing it out online and to my friends as a joke a couple of weeks ago, because it was genuinely funny to me. Why are so many people around the country hearing fireworks but NOBODY actually KNOWS anyone who is shooting them off? Black people across the country are very connected. If our cousin, friend, neighborhood nuisance, unemployed cookout uncle, etc. was setting off fireworks EVERY night between 10pm and 3am, we’d be talking about it. Noise complaints in New York City are up 230x the normal for this time of year, but almost no one knows an actual culprit.
Firework complaints across New York City rose by 236 times this month compared to the same time period last year, as New Yorkers question where the explosives — some of them seemingly high-grade — are coming from and who’s behind the endless evenings of pyrotechnic displays.
From June 1st to June 19th, there have been 6,385 total 311 complaints about fireworks—up from just 27 during the same time period last year. The complaints have been rising throughout June, most notably in the past week. Juneteenth saw the highest number of complaints—a day of celebrations but also protests against police brutality, concluding with fireworks overnight.
Observers have noticed it’s not just more complaints this summer, but some incidents feature high-quality displays not typically operated by casual fireworks consumers.
After weeks of this every night across the country, it’s not funny anymore. A lot of people stumble across my page on a weekly basis, and only one has admitted to setting off fireworks with her kids. That’s not normal. And now we’re realizing more and more that none of this is normal.
Tell me how “effective” this response is to noise complaints. If people are calling in about loud sounds and flashing lights, you send cop cars to parade around with loud sounds and flashing lights?
— Jeo (@fromzerotojeo) June 22, 2020
Fireworks are loud and bright and they’ve been going off for hours each night. If the cops wanted to catch them, they could absolutely do that, but a tense community on edge is a good thing to them.
So now we’re arguing with each other over the fireworks. Some people say the cops are doing it and some people answer “no I saw kids in my neighborhood doing it” and nobody believes each other instead of recognizing that multiple things can be true.
Kids and families are setting off normal summer fireworks.
Officials are setting off fireworks.
Officials and instigators are supplying high quality fireworks for people to set off.
If you know people who are setting off fireworks, either unprompted or at the suggestion and with the aid of some organization, urge them to stop. It’s the people against the police, not the people against each other calling on the police to stop it. That’s what they want and we don’t need trigger happy bullies in riot gear responding to noise complaints on our streets.
Moundsville, WV has a ridiculous new military vehicle.
The Moundsville Police Department has added a vehicle to the fleet! I’ll tell you everything this MRAP offers- and explain how the department get it for free- tonight on @WTOV9 pic.twitter.com/qveCV7X1i9— Jaime Baker (@JBaker_WTOV) June 18, 2020
Moundsville has a population of around 9,000 people and less than 20 crimes a year.
Defund the police.
I bet their teachers have to buy crayons for the students but they got this monstrosity for what? To secure the local Huddle House?
Defund the police.
I know they didn’t pay for it (the government gives out crap like this to police departments for free!) but what kind of relationship do you think the police will have with the local community when they see cops out here living their warzone fantasy in a town that isn’t even big enough to have an Applebee’s? If the government wants to hand out free stuff, how bout some Healthcare?
Defund the police. That includes the federal government. Stop giving them military equipment.
Imagine a world where an armed officer isn’t the answer to everything.
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Imagine this with me for a moment. A guy falls asleep after drinking. He’s in line for Wendy’s because he’s needing some…
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
When you are dressed to literally kill, your reaction in any given situation is more likely to be violent.
We call 911 for a man sleeping in his car, for a domestic disturbance, for a hostage situation, for a mental health episode, for a lost child in the mall, etc. And the same person shows up, with a few weeks of training and dressed to literally kill. Why is a guy with a gun showing up if your child gets stuck in a tree and can’t climb down?
It makes no sense. And this is why we have to defund the police. They are not trained to do all of the jobs we ask of them and they DON’T WANT TO BE TRAINED. Cops don’t want to be social workers. Cops want to rough up some bad guys, so to them, every situation is a potential opportunity to rough up some bad guys.
I don’t want part of my paycheck going to a guy who hopes I respond the wrong way to his question so he can hurt me. I want part of my paycheck going to someone who sees a man sleeping in his car and helps him get back home.
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