Police Brutality and the Power of Unity

This article exhibits the harmful, yet insightful results of police brutality, how people can create power through unity, and how to find hope during a time where many feel all hope is lost. 

We Are Not Divided 

As we have all seen on the news, or heard from friends, the United States, our homeland, is in turmoil because of police brutality. There is not enough correct, non biased information for the people, and instead radical extremists from the left and right control their narrative creating a bigger split. All anyone hears when it comes to the news is that the U.S. is divided, the police hate black citizens, the democrats are socialists, and the conservatives are fascists. 

In President George Washington’s farewell speech he tried to warn us by saying, “And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” (Ritholtz, 2011) From the creation of this country, President Washington knew that power relies on unity within the people, not mandated by government led organizations and the political elite. 

Police Brutality Must End

Police brutality has existed since the creation of the force. It was formed during a time of extreme racial division in U.S. history, and was used to mitigate the narratives of the political elite and upperclassmen. Much like the product of confederate citizens fighting for the “heritage” of their plantation-based families, we have an endless line of racism and bigotry formed in some police departments that must be addressed. 

As Reddit Hudson (2016) elaborates, a black, ex-cop from the St. Louis PD, fifteen percent of the cops in his division abused their authority as they saw fit and had the power to do so. Adversely, another fifteen percent were genuinely good people who did the right thing, which means you’re left with 70%. This group of officers are known as “sheep.” They will follow the other fifteen-percenters (Hudson, 2016). A prime example you may have heard, unless you’re living under a rock, is the blatant murder of George Floyd. 

Derek Chauvin, a police officer who fell in the margin of the abuser group, was surrounded by three “sheep” who watched and supported his actions. He was allowed to hold his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, ultimately killing Floyd. On May 26, the three observing officers were fired, which was an unprecedented action to bystanding officers (Deliso, 2020). This is due in part to the unity of protests across the country. People were sickened and fed up resulting in the “Say His Name” and “I Can’t Breathe” movements, which inspired citizens to do their part. 

Another example is Breonna Taylor. Taylor  was a nurse who was shot sixteen times in her own home due to a now eradicated no-knock warrant conducted by the police, which is supposed to be illegal in the first place. A great additional read on this subject is Bridget Read’s (2020) article on “The Cut.” She goes into detail on these gruesome injustices as well as other police brutality cases. The ease of exhibiting cases of police brutality is sickening. More is needed to show where and how citizens can gain the power to create change. 

How Citizens Can Create Change

The U.S. was forged by people who unified and revolted against oppression; however, the creators’ ideology are not the results of the next couple hundred years of history thus requiring a change in ideology to meet current times. 

Through any civil rights movement or any substantial change in private or government organizations, the power of unity and the abundance of people help fuel change. After George Floyd’s murder, the majority of the country was saturated by protests, civil unrest, and riots. During the uprising, the national guard was called on its own citizens. President Trump abused his power, and the split between political parties grew higher than ever. After weeks of continuous protesting, some violent and some not, the military was recalled from protests, and Derek Chauvin and the three participating officers were arrested. They now face up to 40 years in prison. 

Unity sparked lawful reform, which resulted in 160 new bills across 19 states because The People called for significant change. In Minnesota, where the killing of George Floyd took place, 53 bills were introduced such as the ban on warrior-style weapons and new programs to train police to safely deal with people on the spectrum. A few weeks after his death, Governor Andrew Cuomo created an office of Special Investigations where they investigate and prosecute criminal offenses committed by law enforcement (Wilson, 2020). Unity also pushed for the review and prosecutions of previous murderers such as the Ahmaud Arbery case in February 2020. There is hope for this beautiful country, but it is a constant battle citizens must choose to handle and talk about daily (Dakss, Mcnamara, Baldwin, & Carissimo, 2020).

Why Voting Now is More Important Than Ever

When I hear people say, “I’m not voting because my vote is pointless” or “I don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils or be labeled under one party,” I worry about the future of the U.S. The underlying principle they forget is the power of unity. If the majority of people want change, then it will happen. This is the beauty of America. 

If you don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils, then cast an independent vote. If people promote and inform others on alternative options, then the system can be changed. If people realize the power beyond a two-party political system, then we may be able to unify and fight for change. From the local to the national level, vote now. We the People are needed to rebuild and make our country stronger than ever in our history. America is and will always be a great nation. Looking to the past will only cause pain and turmoil.

I was raised to respect everyone because you never know what they have experienced, to have a voice and stand up for what is right, and to love the country where people chose to die for our freedoms we hold so dear. We have the opportunity to unify and create change. 

We are the solution to the problem through conversation with our voices, our thoughts, and our writings. All it takes is the spark of hope and courage to write to officials and local politicians about change. 

If you gain anything from this article, gain this. Do not live with your mouth shut and nobody has the right or power to oppress you unless you surrender.

—————-

Consider following SoulSpeak on Twitter or Instagram @SoulSpeakTV and let us know your thoughts. Join the conversation at #SoulSpeakTV now and be the change you want to see. 

References:

Ritholtz, B. (2011, July 08). Founding Fathers: Beware Two Party System. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://ritholtz.com/2011/07/founding-fathers-beware-two-party-system/

Hudson, R. (2015, May 28). I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8661977/race-police-officer

Read, B. (2020, June 05). Breonna Taylor Was Shot and Killed by Police in Her Own Home. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/breonna-taylor-louisville-shooting-police-what-we-know.html

Dakss, B., Mcnamara, A., Baldwin, S., & Carissimo, J. (2020, June 07). George Floyd U.S. protests live updates from June 4, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/george-floyd-death-protests-unrest-disorder-2020-06-04/

Deliso, M. (2020, June 10). Timeline: The impact of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and beyond. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-impact-george-floyds-death-minneapolis/story?id=70999322

Wilson, R. (2020, June 18). States race to reform police practices in wake of George Floyd’s death. Retrieved June 19, 2020 from https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/503474-states-race-to-reform-police-practices-in-wake-of-george-floyds-death

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