The five Memphis police officers charged Thursday with killing Tyre Nichols, who was arrested on suspicion of a traffic violation, were no ordinary officers. James Bond Movie: Scorpion. new york times“The SCORPION program has all the characteristics of similar ‘elite’ police teams across the country, assembled for the broader purpose of fighting crime, with much more leeway and less oversight than regular police forces.” (The SCORPION unit disbanded on Saturday).
Similar units have been created in many cities over the last few decades. Detroit had STRESS (or Stop Robberies, Enjoy a Safe City), Los Angeles had CRASH (or Community Resources to the Street Hoodlums program), Chicago had SOS (or Special Operations Section). ), and New York had a street crime unit (different only in the lack of catchy acronyms).
As Balko documents, these so-called ‘elite’ units are often the breeding grounds for police brutality. Because they have more freedom than regular cops, Special Forces tend to attract badged cowboys, who feel empowered to ram the lives of civilians. The New York Street Crime Unit was responsible for the infamous murder of unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo in 1999. As Balko points out, “Although the force was officially disbanded, a later incarnation spearheaded the city’s infamous stop-and-frisk policy, leading to the death of Eric Garner, Sean, and the rest of the city’s most devastated prisoners.” It ended up being involved in some of the notorious police killings: Bell, and Kimani Gray.
The most salient fact about SCORPION is that it was created in 2021. This comes eight years after Black Lives Matter was formed as a social movement in 2013, and a year after the police killing of George Floyd sparked the largest mass protests in American history. That’s it.
Some on the political right are already trying to blame the George Floyd uprising for the murder of Tyre Nichols. He cited it as an example of how police reform went wrong because the action created bad jobs. Tweeted: “How many experienced officers have recently left the Memphis Police Department because of constant attacks and cash shortages? How many have been replaced by new officers who were unable to make the cut because of that vacuum? How many of those recruits were awakened DEI candidates instead of the most qualified?” These claims were not only unfounded, they were also nonsensical. There is no shortage of evidence of the incompetence and brutality of white police officers.
It is becoming increasingly imperative that right-wing despicable and false narratives have a real account that puts the murder of Tyre Nichols in its actual historical context.
The sad truth is that George Floyd’s uprising against the racist police failed, at least in the short term. In 2020, millions of Americans took to the streets under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” These protests received lip service not only from Democrats but also from some Republicans like Mitt Romney. I admitted that it was time to count.
But all the rhetoric about the need for change in 2020 has paid off little as a result. Indeed, there is ample evidence of substantial setbacks on the critical issue of police violence. According to Mapping Police Violence Group, police said he killed her 1,186 civilians in 2022. This means that police will kill more people in 2022 than in any other year in the last decade. African Americans make up only 13% of the population, but account for 26% of those killed by police.
On the Republican side, it’s easy to see what happened.A figure like Mitt Romney has always been an anomaly. Nonetheless, it was too racist to accept overall police reform. It reinforces racism on issues such as racial theories, civil rights, and criminal justice reform.
On the Democratic side, divisions between moderates and progressives within the party have stalled agendas on police reform and racial accounting. After the Democrats showed disappointing results in his 2020 congressional elections, many centrists within the party condemned the Black Lives Matter protests and the “defend the police” slogan. There was no strong factual basis for this claim. This strongly contradicts recent work by Bouke Klein Teeselink (Yale School of Management) and Georgios Melios (London School of Economics). In a recently published paper, Teeselink and Melios examined poll and poll data for cities with strong Black Lives Matter protests and compared them to cities with weaker protests. Data there show that the protests led to a “significant shift in support for Democratic candidates” and a rise in anti-racist sentiment.
The myth that the Black Lives Matter protests hurt the Democratic Party is so useful to the party’s founders that the evidence in this paper is unlikely to change their minds. rallying is an essential rhetorical assertion.Both President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have placed themselves in interparty battles as friends of the police. Supports a return to Frisk”
Admittedly, the backlash against criminal justice reform has not been entirely triumphant. The 2022 election saw some big wins for reform advocates (notably Keith Ellison’s re-election as Minnesota Attorney General and wins for progressive district attorneys in Des Moines and the Austin suburbs). , also suffered several losses (the dismissal of Chesa Boudin at the Sun by Francisco and the re-election of his successor, Brooke Jenkins). Still, the divided Democrats are unlikely to make any real progress on criminal justice reform. Congressional Democrats couldn’t even push through Joe Biden’s George Floyd Justice in Policy Act (which passed the House but stalled in the Senate). It’s also worth noting that the Democrats had no intention of overriding their filibuster on the issue, although the bill did not pass due to opposition from Republicans.
As Perry Bacon Jr. pointed out in his Jan. 28 column Washington Post, the failure of police reform is truly a bipartisan issue. Democrat centrists were willing to react defensively when faced with Republican demagogues. Even in 2020, “the Republican stance seems to have made Democrats like Biden afraid that they are too in tune with the protests, which will hurt the election. ”
Bacon added: Moderates tend to align with the police, progressives tend to align with activists such as those who were on the streets after Floyd’s death. To undermine the left, urban centrist Democrats such as New York City Mayor Eric Adams have spent much of 2021 and 2022 undermining efforts to suppress the police. To underscore his hostility to minimal police reform, Adams responded to Nichols’ murder by dismissing his concerns about elite units: “Units don’t produce abuse.” the mayor said on CNN.
This compelling analysis can be pushed further. Republicans may oppose change, but Democrats enjoyed Biden’s first two years, his three straight wins in Washington, and control of many local and state governments. Unless progressives are pushing criminal justice reform, Democrats will not address this issue when they have the power. The inevitable conclusion is that centrist Democrats, not Trumpist Republicans, are the main obstacle. As long as centrist Democrats prefer to fight progressives rather than take action, there is no hope for lasting and much-needed reform of the criminal justice system. systemic reform remains elusive.