Facebook post from Minneapolis Representative Aisha Gomez published Tuesday, May 26:
This is why we talk about police abolition.
There is no reform that can fix this system. No training or body camera or coaching or diversification effort or outside investigation or toothless oversight body that can fix this.
The rot in police departments is the rot in our political and social systems, crystallized and heavily armed. It is a reflection of our country, built on the enslavement of African people and the genocide and dispossession of Native people, reliant on exploited immigrant labor to enforce the racialized social order and help the powerful accumulate wealth.
The police exist to uphold this social order, with deadly force when necessary. Like they did on 38th and Chicago last night, with a knee on George Floyd’s neck as he said he couldn’t breathe and begged for his life.
The origins of policing in the US are in slave patrols that hunted liberated enslaved people and quelled uprisings. There is no reform that can fix that.
When we talk about abolition or divesting from the police it’s not an aggressive or dreamy or unrealistic stance.
It is a dispassionate acknowledgement that our current policing system does what it was designed to do, to protect private property, uphold white supremacy, and terrorize black and brown people. It does not serve the interests of the people and it does not make our communities safe.
We have to reimagine and reorganize how and for whom we build safety in communities.
Why isn’t there a number we can call to dispatch an unarmed crisis team to respond to mental health or substance abuse related crises?
If we want the City to pay for distributing bikes and helmets to kids is the police department the best way to get that done?
If we want representatives of the City to walk around commercial districts and be a presence on the street do we need them to be armed?
The police state was not constructed overnight and won’t be replaced overnight. We have to start by divesting from police budgets and stripping away functions that we don’t need people with guns to do and investing in anti-poverty efforts, public health-informed safety interventions, and critical mental health and addiction resources. We have to question the way policing has always functioned.
We can and must intentionally walk away from a system of state violence that murders and terrorizes Black and Brown men to uphold white supremacy and capitalism.
We can and must orient ourselves to a world beyond policing as it is currently designed, where we build real safety for all members of our community, or we will stay caught in the same cycle of state sanctioned murder of Black men in the streets, outrage, and failed reform, on and on, that we’ve been in for decades.
Love and tenderness and protection to Mr. Floyd’s people, the beloved Black community in our city, and everyone hurting today.
MPD150: working toward a police free Minneapolis (MPD150)
Reformist vs. abolitionist steps in policing (Transform Harm)