Do the police protect or hurt our communities? | The Tylt

Do the police protect or hurt our communities?

In response to a demonstration after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Minneapolis cops fired tear gas, flashbangs, rubber bullets and pepper balls indiscriminately into crowds. The Minneapolis police were widely criticized on the ground by local officials and online by much of the public for their violent tactics. Videos of police beatings, shootings, and killings punctuate and define American life—even in the midst of a pandemic, they keep on coming. Some people have come to the conclusion that the police are actually hurting our communities. It's clear that they are not protecting and serving everyone.

However, from the perspective of the police, they do have an obligation to defend themselves, their equipment and their ability to do their jobs. Protesters were attacking and damaging cars and throwing rocks at police. No one should question a police officer's right to defend themselves. They work a difficult, dangerous job that sometimes goes wrong. The least we can do is extend empathy for their difficulties in keeping communities safe. 

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What happened in Minneapolis is only the latest chapter of a dark history in the United States. We don't have to look very far back to see other incidences that show how police don't actually protect everyone in our communities. Just this year, a father and son affiliated with local law enforcement lynched Ahmaud Arbery — an associate filmed and released footage of the killing, somehow thinking that it would exonerate them. 

These things happen with such a frightening regularity in America that some have come to the conclusion that the police are not there to protect and serve everyone. What police officers say and what they do are two very different things. What's unique about this moment is law enforcement has seemingly lost support from both conservatives and liberals. The police killings of LaVoy Finicum and Duncan Lemp, as well as heavy-handed enforcement against social distancing protesters in some places have radicalized some traditional police supporters. 

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Andy Ngo, a right-wing journalist, paints the protesters as rioters and looters. From the conservative perspective, nothing justifies property damage and resistance against law enforcement — we have a legal system for a reason. However, it needs to be said that there is quite a bit of overlap between the people who defend police actions and the people who defend far-right groups like the Proud Boys and militia groups. Like everything else in America, this issue has become deeply politicized. 

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FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Do the police protect or hurt our communities?
A festive crown for the winner
#PoliceHurtCommunities
#PoliceHelpCommunities