All Lives Matter, Police Brutality, and Militarization

by Chris Rivera

Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor, recently had to apologize after hecklers, at the Net Roots national conference in Phoenix, shouted “Black lives matter,” which O’Malley responded, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Martin O’Malley apologized by saying, “I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or to communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

I was upset when Walter Scott was murdered by police, when Michael Brown was shot, multiple times, and killed just to be left on the ground. I was also upset finding out that Tamir Rice was killed for playing with a toy gun and not even given a warning when police jumped out of the car and shot him, and let us not forget Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland who have died in police custody. The sad part is this list continues, and doesn’t seem to stop, which is why a lot of us are more than upset, we are furious.

But I have to disagree with Mr. O’Malley apologizing for saying, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter,” because all lives do matter, police brutality is police brutality regardless if its victim is black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race.

Zambrano-Montes, was a Mexican migrant worker, who was unarmed when he was shot and killed by police officers. Amilcar Perez-Lopez, who was a 20 year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala was shot and killed by two officers who were wearing plain clothes.

In a report by the Guardian it found that 67 Latinos have been killed by police in 2015 alone. Also 58% of them carried no firearm. Within the Guardian report it mentioned how 25% of Latinos killed by police were unarmed.

  There were also the Fullerton police officers who killed Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill man who suffered from schizophrenia. Gilbert Collar was an unarmed 18-year-old white man who was shot and killed in 2012. Ryan Keith Bolinger was shot and killed after it was reported that he parked next to officer Ian Lawler as he was doing a traffic stop, and Bolinger got out of his car and danced in the middle of the street , he then got back in his car and officer Vanessa Miller followed him, it was about two minutes into the slow chase that police officer Miller cut him off as he attempted to make a U-turn; Bolinger got out of the car, and according to the police officer Miller, he was “walking with purpose,” towards her car. It was at this moment she shot a bullet through her rolled up window, which shattered the glass and hit him in the torso.

Although it is not known for sure how many people are killed by police each year the Bureau of Judicial Statistics estimates the number of people killed by police annually may be as high as 928. Fatal Encounters, which as Aljazeera America reports, “uses police reports, media accounts and other research methods, identified 1,192 lives lost at the hands of police in 2014-28 percent more than the official estimates.”

In an article by Mother Jones in 2014 it found that cops kill black people at a higher rate than they do white people. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that between 2003 and 2009 there were more than 2,900 arrest-related deaths involving law enforcement. That is estimated 420 deaths a year for the past seven years. Based on the data, it showed that blacks were four times more likely to die in custody or while being arrested than whites.

In a recent report by the Washington Times, it reports that more whites are killed by police than any other race in the last two years. Research done by Peter Moskos, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University or New York, found that “49 percent those killed by officers from May 2013 to April 2015 were white, while 30 percent were black. He also found that 19 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Asian and other races.”

Although, I wouldn’t throw out race as a motive just yet, it was in Ferguson, Missouri that three officials were fired after racist emails that were sent by the city’s former court clerk and two former supervisors in the police department.

If racism isn’t an issue then the issue has to be poorly trained police officers. It is with the war on drugs that has created a police force that is like a tiny military. The war on drugs has militarized the police and has done away with compassionate and well trained police officers that use to take time to know the community that they have once policed, as activist and rapper Killer Mike has said in an interview with CNN.

Now we have police officers who have a mentality that they are in a war zone. They see themselves as soldiers who are trying to occupy enemy land. Gone away are police cars and the ability to think as a detective would, here are the days of police with semi automatics weapons and armored vehicles. In a report by Mother Jones, Karl Bickel, a senior policy analyst with the Justice Department’s Community Policing Services office, told Mother Jones that police across America are being trained in a way that emphasizes force and aggression. The recruit training, he notes, favors regimens that are modeled after military boot camp rather on one that deals that is more relaxed and working with the community.

In a report, titled, “War Comes Home,” the American Civil Liberties Union found that 80 percent of all Swat raids it reviewed between 2011 and 2012 were deployed to serve search warrants.

In an article from Stanford News, Stanford Law Professor David Sklansky says that militarization of the police department is doing more harm than good. Within the interview Professor Sklansky says, “It can complicate efforts to build bonds of trust and cooperation between the police and the communities they are charged with protecting, and it may influence how some departments understand their mission. As a result, it may make violent encounters between police and the public more likely.”

With that said, we as a community have to join together as a united group and demand an end to police militarization, demand an end to police brutality. We have to put force on our elected officials to end this mess. We have to demand no more innocent lives are taken by police; no more of this lethal force when something less lethal is the valid option. We need police that actually care about the people they are policing and are not treating them like an enemy combatant.

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