I Have a Problem With the Police
This is a guest post by Mike Nam. Nam is a journalist and activist from the NYC metro area. He has volunteered for observing police interactions through Cop Watch, escorted patients at abortion clinics and led a skeptics group in New York City for a time.
I have a problem with Walmart. Not necessarily every Walmart greeter, cashier, marketing associate or vice president, but I have a problem with their employer as a monolithic organization that exacerbates poverty and global labor exploitation.I have a problem with Congress. Not necessarily every rep, every staffer, but I have a problem with the institution that maintains pay-to-play style governance and gerrymandered “for life” type membership, all married with ideological gridlock.
I have a problem with Fox News. Not necessarily every writer, producer, executive or even on-air talent, but I have a problem with the network’s adherence to misinformation and spin, and the rampant bigotry and misogyny it exploits so that wealthy individuals like its CEO Ailes can continue to live a life free of consequences (including from sexual harassment).
I have a problem with my profession of journalism in general. I have a problem with the Boy Scouts of America. I have a problem with the Roman Catholic Church. I have a problem with the NFL. I have a problem with the corn-growing lobby. I have deep criticisms for and distrust of many organizations, institutions, professions, associations and corporations.
So, this shouldn’t be difficult to understand when I say I have a problem with policing in America.
I have a problem with the use of police as a revenue stream through targeted citations and civil asset forfeiture – disproportionately in poor, black and hispanic communities – often under the guise of “broken windows” policing.
I have a problem with the heavy militarization of police forces without even the accompanying military use of force restrictions.
I have a problem with the majority “good” cops that turn a blind eye or knee-jerk protect the violent, racist ones. And when members of the police come forward to do the right thing, they are shunned, careers destroyed, or even get brutalized themselves.
I have a problem with police feeding the prison industrial complex.
I have a problem because if the police are the guards of civil society, who guards the guards themselves?