The press conference held by the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this week amounted to pure propaganda. In it, the chief of police promised to protect the area around George Floyd Square and projected themselves as protectors of the community. But that simply does not ring true. While MPD presents itself as a blessing, it has more often been a curse on the community.
One does not have to be a Bible scholar to understand that this department, and the police, in general, just like individuals, cannot serve two masters. It cannot be friend and foe simultaneously.
Judging from the MPD’s history and it actions—which is all anyone has to go on when judging anyone or any institution—the police have a proclivity toward violence against, rather than on behalf, of the community, especially the working-class Black community
All of the press conferences in the world cannot cover up the history and reality of the Minneapolis police.
Ironically, the chief talks about protecting the citizens against gang violence, but the police have never protected the community from gang violence. Cynics among us have noted that all over the country, whenever gangs sign truces and give up their beefs against one another, it is the cops that find a way to disrupt the peace. Gang violence is good for police budgets and overtime.
The MPD’s insistence on proclaiming that they protect the community turns reality upside down. And to be fair, there are instances when police solve problems and crime and take a bad guy off the streets, but that is not their primary job.
Their primary job, as is the role of all U.S. police forces is a political one, which is to serve as a barrier between the wealthy and the poor. They exist to reinforce the stereotypes in our society which is why they over-police in Black and Brown communities, while only solving a small percentage of working-class crime.
They do so to reinforce the idea that these communities are dangerous, and criminal, unlike others. That explains why they brutalize immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community because they are all deemed second class in this country and the police’s job is to keep them in their places.
The police hit folks with their stick and brutalize us because they are the armed representatives of the power structure. Therefore their first order of business is to make us obey, yield, and submit, which is why the mentally ill are so often brutalized and sometimes murdered by police, because they cannot comply.
The George Floyd Square exists because George Floyd was murdered there by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Incidentally, three other “peace” officers supposedly sworn to “protect” human beings did not protect Floyd that day.
In fact, Floyd was murdered as the citizens whom the chief said he is anxious to “protect,” begged and pleaded with the so-called protectors to stop killing Floyd. Not only did they not cease their murderous activity, one even threatened the bystanders, as they pleaded with him to act as if he was a human being and check to make sure that Floyd was not dying.
But they did not heed the cries of the witnesses, nor protect Floyd. They murdered him and now in another insult to the community, their defense is Floyd would have died anyway. The police and the medical examiner have implied that Floyd died from everything but what we saw him die from, which was a knee compressed to his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Nobody—well, no honest person—believes that had the races been reversed there would be all of this consternation and caution and outright prevarications about the cause of his death.
Moreover, when White Supremacists were marauding through neighborhoods North and South during last summer’s uprising—in response to yet another police murder—Black and White neighbors had to arm themselves and organize patrols and watches to prevent the right-wing racists from burning down North Minneapolis.
There were no police to be found, as they instead were targeting nonviolent people, who were ironically protesting against police violence.
The police have never protected Communities of Color against racist violence. Historically when Black folks tried to advance themselves and push for civil and human rights in this country, the police often sided with our racist enemies.
Cops took part in lynchings. And many of the murderers of civil and human rights fighters were cops. It was the police that murdered Fred Hampton as he slept. Evidence has come to light that police had a hand in the assassinations of Malcolm X and MLK.
Currently, the racists attacking Asian folks have little worry that law enforcement will work to curtail their racist actions.
Furthermore, the Minneapolis police were not concerned with the protection of the community recently when they shot and killed Dolal Idd. Police rushed into a parking lot of a convenience store filled with human beings, along with combustible and explosive gas tanks, and began shooting.
Only through sheer luck was a bystander or somebody’s child not shot. The shooting could have ended in a deadly explosion, but it was clear none of that was taken into consideration by the community’s so-called protectors.
Justine Damon called police because she thought some poor woman was being harmed and needed protection. Instead, the protectors, namely Mohamed Noor, wound up murdering her and putting a kid riding by on a bike in danger of being shot.
When police attempted to apprehend Terrence Franklin in May 2013—chasing him through South Minneapolis as if he had murdered somebody—they ran over and killed an innocent bystander on a motorcycle. Police eventually murdered Franklin, too, and the City obviously agreed because they settled his family’s lawsuit recently for nearly a million dollars.
The Minneapolis police did not view Jamar Clarke as someone to protect, as they were summoned to a scene in which they continued the bullying of Clark which, racist EMT officers began, eventually taking his life.
Apparently, the City of Minneapolis did not think the police were protecting Clarke as they settled a wrongful death suit with his family as well.
The Minneapolis Police Department is trying to have it both ways; they are trying to take advantage of the confusion and violence being stirred up in a strange internal gang struggle to promote themselves as something they are not.
In the Chauvin trial this week, a Black juror who was not selected as a juror—likely because he told too much truth—said that he grew up in the neighborhood near 38th Street and Chicago Ave. and when a Black person would get killed, he said police would antagonize them by riding through the neighborhood playing the song, “Another One Bites the Dust.”
I agree with the chief when he said that “those contributing to the harm in our neighborhoods have to be held accountable”—starting with the police department.