America’s injustice system (updated)
I once saw a movie (the title evades me, but I wanted to acknowledge that my opening thoughts came from its introductory monologue) where the lead character states, “There are four reasons why people join the military: a sense of patriotism and service; because it is a family tradition; because it is a job; or because they want to kill people and get away with it.”
I would argue that these same reasons apply to why a person might want to become a police officer.
Dirty little secret
For years the “dirty little secret” that most “mainstream” media was too scared to discuss is the sad reality that many police chiefs, politicians, prosecutors, and judges actually consider the ability to kill with impunity a fringe benefit of working in law enforcement. The unspoken concern is if officers are not allowed to get away with the occasional perjury, beating, or murder, they will leave the force and simultaneously, without the allure of this fringe benefit, the number of applicants to replace them will dwindle.
So murders by police were handled in four different ways: they were simply covered up internally and buried beneath the “blue wall of silence”; corrupt prosecutors just simply refuse to file charges; bogus “grand juries” were convened to give the illusion of impartiality, without the reality of it; or the officers were routinely acquitted by judges or all-white/majority-white juries.
In my article Why “Black Lives Matter” Matters (Pravda.Report, February 23, 2016) I discussed the effectiveness and drawbacks of working in groups.
These drawbacks are magnified within and between groups working for social change. After all, it is not difficult to gain support and achieve unity amongst those who band together to support the status-quo, since they profit from it and therefore are not seeking any alterations.
Advocating for change
Groups advocating for change, on the other hand, may easily agree there is a problem, but vehemently disagree on what the solution to that problem should be.
For example, during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, more conservative leaders campaigned for greater access to the capitalist system, while more militant activists advocated for the abolition of the capitalist system altogether.
It is also important to recognize that those defending the status-quo are also in charge of both military and law enforcement resources, and they will readily, and without compunction, contort these resources to achieve their avaricious, corrupt, self-serving ends.
In my most recent Pravda.Report article, America’s Injustice System: Two Sets of Laws (September 8, 2020), I discussed how the FBI, during its infamous COINTELPRO operation in the 1960s and 70s, labelled the Black Panther Party (BPP) “Public Enemy Number One.”
Few realize, however, that this designation was nothing more than code words telling law enforcement communities throughout the United States that they could use any means, legal or illegal, to destroy the BPP.
In other words, it was a license to kill.
Harassment of BPP members
To that end, BPP members were relentlessly harassed and spied upon; punished with lengthy prison sentences for minor crimes (Houston BPP leader Lee Otis Johnson was sentenced to thirty years for allegedly passing a marijuana cigarette to an undercover police officer); imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit (Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, also known as Geronimo Ji-Jaga, served twenty-seven years before a former FBI agent admitted Pratt had been framed); and murdered outright, either by members of law enforcement (two victims being Fred Hampton and Mark Clark), or by members of rival groups that the FBI incited to murder (four victims being John Savage, Sylvester Bell, John Huggins, and Bunchy Carter).
Meanwhile, during the same era, defenders of the “status-quo,” like the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, were routinely allowed to get away with murder. Some murders of civil rights workers were haphazardly investigated and remained unsolved, even though people knew who committed them; others went unprosecuted; and on the rare occasions that prosecutions did occur, all or predominantly white juries, particularly in the American South, routinely returned “not guilty” verdicts.
Naturally, at this point, some readers might be asking what relevance this “ancient history” has to the present day. The answer is painfully conspicuous.
In my America’s Injustice System article, I discussed the differing reactions to the alleged murders committed by Kyle Rittenhouse and Michael Reinoehl.
I particularly discussed how, just as many activists decades ago were suspicious of the “official” version that led to the police shootings of Hampton and Clark, I was equally suspicious of the “official” version of the police shooting of Reinoehl.
After all, look at the similarities: Rittenhouse was defending the “status-quo” against those protesting police violence and racial injustice; a whistleblower recently revealed that the Department of Homeland Security, that has taken dramatic action against anti-racism protesters, downplayed the threat of white supremacist violence; Donald Trump and his corrupt Attorney General William Barr issued the “license to kill” code words by designating Antifa, which Reinoehl supported, a “terrorist” organization; and now suspicions have been raised about the circumstances surrounding his shooting.
Shot chewing a piece of candy
In a recent report in Yahoo News, a witness has come forth who states that Reinoehl was shot and killed without warning, “as he walked to his car, holding his phone, and chewing on a piece of candy.” This witness further states that “officers never audibly identified themselves and didn’t try to arrest Reinoehl.”
So, even as supporters of the status-quo were hollering how Rittenhouse (who got to go home and get a good night’s sleep after shooting three people, killing two) acted in self-defense or simply made a “mistake,” this same status-quo made certain Reinoehl would never be given the luxury of this defense.
While the Reinoehl investigation is still unfolding, one thing is certain. If he was murdered, thanks to Trump and Barr’s code words, absolutely nothing-and I mean nothing-will happen to his killers.
I also wrote in my America’s Injustice System article, “They say that history repeats itself, and damned if it doesn’t.” But this isn’t a pleasant sentiment to express, because what it entails is the reality that people are too myopic, too ignorant, or too apathetic to learn from the lessons of the past.
So, the world consistently experiences this famous (or perhaps more accurately infamous) definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting it to come out different.”
David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Photo: By Vasanth Rajkumar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90977292