We Need More Care, Not More Cops

While “Defund the Police” has recently caught on as a slogan, its roots are in the divestment/investment framework that groups like BYP 100 and the Movement for Black Lives have developed over the past several years.

This calls for the shift of money from police to public interest. It recognizes that police “reforms” throw money at an ineffectual system, rather than treating unmet community needs: hunger, illness, homelessness.

Schools and hospitals face budget cuts as police and soldiers toting billions of dollars’ worth of equipment batter grieving protesters. The Progressive observes that “Americans have just been reminded of what the state is capable of doing to them; they will be asking next what it is capable, if anything, of doing for them.”

Top Democrats Won’t Defund Police — But Cities Can

Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio’s response to violent policing demonstrate a consolidation of the Democratic Party’s political line: to offer public outpouring of solidarity while increasing repressive moves to squash a politically threatening protest movement, says Truthout.

Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress, instead of answering calls to defund the police, are proposing modest federal policing reforms—some of which could provide police with more federal funding. “Wary of a Trump-fueled culture war over policing erupting ahead of the 2020 elections,” the problem of reimaging public safety falls on activists and city governments.

Rebellion, Confusion, Scoundrels, and Kente Cloth

Black Agenda Report analyzes the effects of the last two weeks of racial justice protests, referencing the Congressional Black Caucus’ ill-conceived photo op with Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer.

While Democrats offer flimsy reforms, mobilized people challenged NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for defending a police force that berates him, New York Times employees exposed the backwards editorial process leading to Tom Cotton’s “fascistic screed,” and statues in Europe of extolled mass murders are being torn down.

Although the Minneapolis city council voted to disband its police department, it likely cannot deliver on this vote with opposition from the mayor and state—nor does it bring justice to those whom the police killed.

Media Are Slowly Taking Police Violence Seriously

As the George Floyd protests against police violence erupted across the U.S., frontline protesters and journalists captured massive amounts of video evidence of police brutality on social media. Mainstream outlets considered little of it until much later, FAIR observes.

Focused on fires and looting, mainstream media overlooked the overwhelming instances of armored police indiscriminately pepper-spraying, firing flashbangs, and shooting rubber bullets at crowds. People bled, lost teeth and eyes, and tear gas prompted coughing that raises the otherwise manageable risk of COVID-19 spread at outdoor protests.

Publications including the New York Times and Washington Post that “implied a parity between unarmed protesters and heavily armed and armored militarized police” have in the past few days begun to provide critical coverage of police tactics.

Press Passes: The NYPD giveth and the NYPD taketh away

Columbia Journalism Review discusses the paradox of NYPD-issued press passes in covering racial justice and police brutality protests.

The New York City curfew was supposed to exempt essential workers—including members of the press, regardless of NYPD credentials. But cops harassed reporters nightly, arresting some without passes. Even before the curfews, journalists have long documented NYPD officers’ threats to confiscate their press passes.

Uncredentialed reporters have taken to staying inside despite their exemption from curfew, fearing police harassment and arrest. Comptroller Scott Stringer demanded press pass issuance be reassigned to the Office of the Mayor, though that power residing with any agency that has a political agenda remains a danger to press freedom.

Georgia Shows Serious Voter Suppression Threat

Voters in Georgia’s Tuesday primary election met chaos: broken machines, long lines, tardy site openings, and paper ballot shortages plagued polling places in predominantly black precincts. White suburban precincts saw fewer lines, The Nation reports.

While Georgia Republicans have a well-documented history of suppressing black voters to benefit their candidacies, the federal government has failed to establish baselines standards and funding for states to sufficiently count Americans’ votes.

The U.S. House backed the HEROES Act, which includes $3.6 billion in needed funding to update election systems across the country, including easier mail-in ballots, early voting, and safe in-person voting.

The Senate must act quickly to fund an accessible election, but Donald Trump is actively working against vote-by-mail and the postal service while Mitch McConnell and Republicans offer no urgency.

ICC Denounces ‘Unprecedented Attacks’ by Trump Administration

On Thursday, Donald Trump issued an executive order imposing sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) staff involved in the ongoing investigations into alleged war crimes by U.S. and Israeli forces.

The order also included travel restrictions imposed on those ICC court officials and their family members, reports Common Dreams.

The ICC and numerous other institutions rebuked the move, decrying the authoritarian bent of declaring a national emergency to prevent accountability for war crimes and calling the move “an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law.”

David Dennis Jr. with the tweet of the week:
The Racial Inequity in Clean Energy

U.S. racial inequity extends to the clean energy industry, as InsideClimate News demonstrates.

The solar industry—which is likely to be of increasing importance to the U.S. economy—largely underrepresents black and Hispanic people in its workforce and consumer base, possibly in part because companies advertise more to white neighborhoods.

This pattern of expanding access to the already privileged raises justified resentment, which the opposition to clean energy is trying to exploit.

Majority black neighborhoods also have higher levels of air pollution from industry and fossil fuel electricity than majority white neighborhoods. To aid communities of color, the environment, and business, advocates call for the government to take a leading role in expanding access to clean energy to everyone.

The Headlines

1. ‘I should not have been there’: America’s top military official says Trump’s DC walk and photo op was a mistake (The Independent)

2. What Big Tech Wants Out of the Pandemic (The Atlantic)

3. Keith Ellison, Once An Activist, Meets His Moment As Minnesota’s Top Prosecutor (HuffPost)

4. Confederate base names stir tensions over America’s dark past (BBC)

5. ‘Long overdue’: lawmakers declare racism a public health emergency (The Guardian)