UN: Root of US Police Terror is ‘Lack of Accountability for Perpetrators’

Philando Castile, shot to death this week by a police officer.

US police kill approximately 1,000 people per year according to Federal statistics, disproportionately targeting African and Native Americans and other minority groups.  The UN expert panel on people of African descent observed this week that these killings “demonstrate a high level of structural and institutional racism. The United States is far from recognizing the same rights for all its citizens.”

The two men widely known to have been killed this week by police were both armed, though particularly in the case of Philando Castile, it is largely felt that choosing to shoot the men multiple times in the sternum from a distance of approximately three feet or less went beyond what an objective, reasonable person’s reaction would have been.

However, many have noted that US history and current culture leads the US public in general, including police officers, to be less than objective in dealing with African Americans and other minority groups.*  One way of addressing this issue has been to implement measures to improve various kinds of police training and monitoring, but the UN expert panel noted that “existing measures to address racist crimes motivated by prejudice are insufficient and have failed to stop the killings.”  Indeed, so far this year, US state forces have killed nearly 600 of their own people, largely targeting minorities.

The problem now, says the UN group, “lies in the lack of accountability for perpetrators of such killings despite overwhelming evidence against them, including video footage of the crime, being present.”

Thus the next step to decreasing police terror, the panel suggests, is for the US state apparatus to increase the consequences officers face; to begin taking clear, fair, publicly visible accountability measures for officers who cross the line from protecting and serving into murdering and terrorizing.

Since, as the UN notes, this has not yet occurred, some in the US, both in popular culture and academia, have argued that there may be times when the public must apply consequences for police terror that go beyond peaceful protest.

Rapper The Game wrote in response to the killings by police this week:

What happened to the generation of people who stood together, held hands and took to the streets peacefully or violently if it had to come to that…?  … We ain’t havin this shit no more!!!

In a recent lecture, attorney and history professor Gerald Horne was asked this question by a member of the audience:

Given that you argue in your book, Confronting Black Jacobins, that the Haitian revolution, which was decidedly a violent insurrection, precipitated the abolition of slavery in the United States, what is your opinion of violence as protest, and a vehicle for change in today’s political climate? For example, the riots that resulted from the murder of Freddie Gray, or uprisings in response to mass incarceration?

Horne’s response:

Professor Gerald Horne, JD, PhD

I find myself in strange agreement with US secretary of state John Kerry, who, during his visit to Hiroshima, the site of the first and hopefully only use of atomic weapons, was compelled to say that he saw war as the last resort that should be arrived at.  He did not exclude war altogether, just that it should be the last resort arrived at. And I would say something similar with regard to that very probing question that was just posed. That is to say that I don’t think, given the correlation of forces in North America, with many of our folks not being armed, only armed with strong lungs to yell in protest, and given the militarized nature of the police and the militarized nature of these police guards, who, by the way, in places like California and New York have very strong unions who make political contributions to politicians and therefore help to entrench their power even further, given the correlation of military forces, I don’t think that violence should be our first option with regard to pushing them back.  However, if you push people into a corner, and if you brutalize them, as has happened in this city of Baltimore, and if you have these examples like Freddie Gray, where a person enters into the custody of police alive and leaves dead, it’s perfectly understandable why there are forces in this city who refuse to accept that in a supine fashion, and I think that’s reasonable. Because they are trying to understand the lessons of history as well. And they recognize that unless you give a forceful rebuff to that kind of violence, then you are guaranteed to have a slew of Freddie Grays going forward, which I find wholly and totally unacceptable.

As has occurred in China in response to apparently far more rare killings by police officers, some in the US have responded to the lack of accountability for police terror by targeting police officers themselves.  This week, 5 officers were killed and 12 wounded by snipers after the killings of Castile and Sterling.

*Horne’s work explores many of the historical foundations on which the US’s “structural and institutional racism” (UN panel) stand.  Like John Kerry, Horne stresses that violence should always be a last resort, and that, indeed, the US peace and civil rights movements have, to their detriment, mirrored US culture in that they have grown increasingly insular, and have thus not in recent times fully utilized all of their options for peaceful protest:

If you are trying to understand the tribulations and trials and travails of black people in America over the centuries, particularly post 1776, you have to understand in the first place the reality that the United States of America was established as a slaveholding republic. … I can understand why lawyers, as a rhetorical device, will often speak warmly of the founders and their ‘noble documents’ and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and how they were so ‘flexible’ that they were able to expanded to all of the rest of us who were initially excluded.  I understand that as a rhetorical argument, but the reality of the matter is that the founders did not have people like myself in mind when this country was established, just like they did not have cattle or furniture in mind when this so-called republic was established. We were considered on the same level as cattle and furniture, but we have been able to fight a glorious struggle to overcome those Antediluvian points of view. But once again, we were able to fight that glorious struggle not least because we had support in the international community. And for those in the Black Lives Matter movement, for those in the anti-police terror movement, until and unless you ingest that basic lesson, that is to say that international solidarity is a prerequisite in order to achieve some success and victories in the United States of America, you’ll be left sprawling in the dust.

Horne’s works explore these points in depth.

Curtis Bunn, in the popular magazine Atlanta Black-Star, notes some other historical foundations that seem to remain relevant to killings by police in the US (particularly the killings this week):

Robert J. Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and acts as a cultural intermediary for the film and Television industry. Updates on Twitter. Author’s pamphlet ‘The Agility of Tyranny: Historical Roots of Black Lives Matter’.

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  • Fee-fi-fo-fum

    A KARE 11 viewer, who gave us audio clips of police radio traffic, claims they captured the moments just before Philando Castile and his girlfriend were stopped by St. Anthony police – which ended in police shooting that killed Castile.

    KARE 11 has attempted to confirm the authenticity of the recording with police officials, but so far they have not responded.

    We have verified that the license plate mentioned by police in the recording matches the plate of the car Castile was driving. The location the officer gives also corresponds to the locations of the traffic stop.

    “I’m going to stop a car,” the officer says on the recording. “I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over.”

    “The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery,” the officer says. “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” the officer continues.

    A minute and a half later, the recording captures the first report that there was a shooting.

    Officer: “Shots fired Larpenteur and Fry.”

    Dispatch: “Copy you just heard it? … You just heard the shots fired?”

    Officer: (screaming) “Code 3! Shots fired.”

    Dispatch: “Copy shots fired Larpenteur and Fry. Do you need medics?”

    Officer: “Code 3!”

    Dispatch: “Copy. Medics — code 3 to Larpenteur and Fry.”

    Officer: “One adult female taken into custody. Driver at gunpoint.”

    It’s unclear which robbery the officer was referring to when he said Mr. Castile looked like a suspect. But the BCA had sent out a press release earlier this week saying St. Anthony police were investigating a gas station robbery that occurred in nearby Lauderdale on July 2.

    • Sanvo Konkollon

      Dirty white mutt, how many times you need to be told that YOU ARE NOT A PURE BREED…Adolph Hitler must be laughing in his grave thinking about your stupidity!

      OK stupid dumbass, write a thousand times on the board the following:
      “Ich bin ein Mischling”
      “Ich bin ein Mischling”
      “Ich bin ein Mischling”

      ..
      .

      • Fee-fi-fo-fum

        Do fuck a toddler Jew.

      • Fee-fi-fo-fum

        You really do hate white people don’t you, Jew?

      • Fee-fi-fo-fum

        Are you Robert’s bottom?? his sub?? Does he make you eat the corn out of his shit?? how does it taste shit eating slave??

    • Brockland A.T.

      Still no word if Castile was the actual robber. However, the argument is a deflection, and a callow one based on the irrelevant conclusion fallacy. Its almost a red herring fallacy, except the subject wasn’t entirely changed.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring

      Whether or not the cop thought Castile was a robbery suspect doesn’t excuse anything. Suspect or no, a police officer can’t just arbitrarily shoot people especially the way Castile was; strapped into his car, fully cooperative and even announcing he was a legal concealed carry, and obediently reaching for his drivers license as instructed.

      http://www.dailywire.com/news/7268/7-things-you-need-know-about-philando-castile-pardes-seleh

      Castile appears to have been a typical legal concealed carry; law abiding with a clean record. What happened to the background check?

      http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/concealed-carry/

  • Evil Genius

    Killed by snipers?
    I thought it was a lone gunman…

    Are you parroting the corporate media BS?

  • NAU

    THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR THE ONGOING SOCIAL CHAOS IS FOR THE SOVEREIGN TO DECLARE A STATE OF EXCEPTION IN THE WHOLE UNITED STATES.

    DURING A STATE OF EXCEPTION, WHICH IS BROADER AND ABSOLUTE IN COMPARISSON TO MARTIAL LAW, THE CONSTITUTION IS NULLIFIED INDEFINITELY AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN EXERT TOTAL CONTROL OF ALL ASPECTS OF THE NATION’S DAILY ACTIVITIES, WHILE DECISEVELY SUPPRESSING ALL FORMS OF DISSENT.

    THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ADJUST THE CITIZENRY TO THE THE REALITIES OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

    • Silverado

      I have two words for your…idea – boom boom!!
      If there’s any adjusting to do we’re going to adjust the govt to the realities of the 21st century OUR way. It’s better the govt fear the people than the people fearing their govt.

    • MrLiberty

      Government IS THE PROBLEM. Government is NEVER THE SOLUTION. Didn’t the deaths of 200,000,000+ at the hands of government in just the 20th century teach you anything?

      And please tell me who the “sovereign” is (in your mind)? I know we have had an Emperor playing the role of a president thanks to the Patriot Act and the uselessness of our bi-partisan oligarchy in congress, but please tell us who has garnered that lofty title in your mind.

  • MrLiberty

    Let us also not forget the CRITICAL role the immoral war on drugs plays in all of this. At the street level in the poorer communities, drug dealing is seen as a lucrative option. Without the legal structure to turn to for disputes, gun violence becomes the norm. You do not see the Budweiser delivery many shooting it out with the Miller Beer guy, but during alcohol Prohibition it might have been a real possibility.

    There there is the level of the police. The war on drugs (and the war on guns and gun freedom), provide an easy excuse for cops to stop, frisk, plant evidence, etc. on pretty much anyone. The white community simply will not tolerate that kind of harassment so they go after the most available minority communities. The prevalence of drugs is high (while of course the majority of users are white), so stopping someone randomly is generally an easy way to find drugs, guns, etc. Remember of course that cops don’t really protect people in the poorer communities so they must generally protect themselves. So having a gun, knife, etc. is not evidence of a criminal so much as it is evidence of someone needing to protect themselves.

    Then you have the worthless Supreme Court, US Congress, and criminal Executive Branch. At every turn they rule, pass legislation, look the other way, sign executive order, etc. to undermine the very clear protections of the 4th Amendment. With their hands free to search, their marching orders in the form of the war on drugs and guns, and other laws restricting “concealed weapons,” the police have all the incentives they need to harass whichever minority group gives them pleasure.

    End the failed war on drugs and return these substances to the hands of quality laboratories or private, legal sellers, end the war on guns/self defense, and the police will no longer have the open door to harass the general public at will. But you won’t hear the race baiters calling for an end to these failed policies. You will hear nothing but calls for “accountability,” “sensitivity training,” “community outreach,” and other crap that completely ignores the primary cause of the problem.

    An end to government monopoly police forces and a replacement with a completely free market in private security forces is also a key, but a proposal that most Americans simply do not have the courage or capability to understand at this point in our “evolution” as a country.

    • Brockland A.T.

      Except for ending the government monopoly on force, ending the War on Drugs is a good idea.

      If The People do not have a formal common venue for the monopoly of force, there is going to be armed balkanization.

      • MrLiberty

        So monopolies are good? And government monopolies are better? 200,000,000 dead in the 20th century at the hands of monopoly government say otherwise. The “people” as you say have nothing to do with the government anymore. Government too must go. We cannot EVER be safe once we concede to the belief that someone has the right to rule over us for any reason.

        • Brockland A.T.

          People with guns who think they have the right to rule over others by force of arms are hardly exclusive to government weenies.

          Anarchy always results in the rise of opportunistic warlords bankrolled by foreigners. Or haven’t you been tracking the neocon trail across Africa and the Middle East?

          Democracy isn’t a warlord thing either. Very much the opposite.

  • Brockland A.T.

    There are a number of ways to defuse the cop bomb safely; one of the best ideas going is to require police to have professional liability insurance like any other professional.

    http://www.insurethepolice.org/

    The bad cops will quickly be unable to afford insurance or become uninsurable and therefore unemployable as police.

    • Charlie Primero

      This is an interesting idea. Thank you for the link.

    • MrLiberty

      So long as government is able to protect them with “sovereign immunity” legislation, such a proposal will never come to fruition. A fully free market in private security companies that replaces the government monopoly police forces on the other hand would implicitly force such a move as the ONLY way a company could stay in business would be to provide appropriate liability insurance. The presence of a “loose cannon” would make his/her employment financially unfeasible. ONLY a private solution to this government-created problem will address the issues. Government NEVER has to face the accountability that is absolutely required with this type of “service” as they never have to pay the costs (taxpayers do), they never have to serve time (again, sovereign immunity laws), and never have to put limits on their criminal actions (they write the laws and the supreme court no longer respects the rights of the citizens).

      • Brockland A.T.

        Can you imagine the social disaster of the Deep State aligned with a private security contractor like Eric Prince? Or some oligarch with serious cash and malignant ambition? Instant facism FUBAR.

        Private armies made Nazi Germany possible and Nazi Ukraine possible today. Their failure illustrates the problem with ‘free market’ security; they tend to be open to the highest bidder and don’t mind taking over from the more or less legit government. The Deep State is bad enough without fracturing further from The People or into competing Deep Fiefdoms.

        http://spartacus-educational.com/GERsa.htm

        http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/03/26/Ukraine-s-New-Problem-Oligarch-Private-Army

        Insuring cops is realistic; many already voluntarily insure themselves. Obviously, there are probably ways to cheat this system; it will be interesting to see what develops.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-insurance-idUSKCN0WJ2R1

        Democracy is the check on government. America’s first-past-the-post elections are the main liability to Constitutional rule. Given the clear choice, most people will vote yes to upholding the Bill of Rights and organize parties accordingly.

        http://www.fairvote.org/proportional_representation

  • Charlie Primero

    The obvious solution is to segregate white racists away from black people so whites cannot exploit and murder blacks.

    Black people need their own SafeSpace communities where they will be free from racism, aggression, and oppression. They need safe havens with all-Black police, representative all-Black governments, and peaceful all-Black neighborhoods.

    It’s time.

    • Brockland A.T.

      First problem; this sounds like a white separatist (racialist) position. Just substitue white for black in your post. Also, not all whites are racist. How to tell save through actions over time? Second, official segregation didn’t work. People will self-segregate, but it can’t be enforced.

      Breaking up America into racial bantustans is hardly going to help anyone but America’s global enemies. Segregationist enclaves would compete for resources at the expense forming common moral and ethical standards of trust that make communities that make nations work in harmony. Not that the safe spaces idea hasn’t been tried.

      Indian reservations are the original safe spaces for non-whites and are hardly safe for Aboriginal Americans, nor have they contributed to racial and cultural harmony. Reservations were designed more as prisoner of war/extermination camps. Well admired by the Nazis, though. Not very useful against internal corruption either, plus they can become legal voids for crime.

      http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/01/27/ugly-precursor-auschwitz-hitler-said-have-been-inspired-us-indian-reservation-system

      http://www.accessmontana.com/morris/page2.html

      http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/02/on-indian-land-criminals-can-get-away-with-almost-anything/273391/

      And if Blacks left to their own devices do too well ….. Greentown, Tulsa Oklahoma is the example.

      http://www.ebony.com/black-history/the-destruction-of-black-wall-street-405

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwood,_Tulsa

      • Charlie Primero

        I understand. Get rid of Indian Reservations. Make Native Americans blend in with the rest of America. Black people cannot be allowed to make their own communities. America must keep fighting other nations on this globe.

        I don’t like your plan.

        • Brockland A.T.

          A strange interpretation of my actual post. You seem well-informed on race issues, but not sympathetic to them and able to invert the words of arguments against their spirit.

          ‘Blacks only’ communities clearly implies ‘Whites only’ counterparts. Except, any Whites-only ‘reservations’ would reserve most of the best real estate in North America to Whites (75% of the population), their political autonomy far greater, and business and trade opportunities more lucrative relative to non-white bantustans. A return to the past, except in ultra-segregationist form.

          http://www.infoplease.com/us/census/data/demographic.html

          Native Americans consider themselves members of sovereign nations and reservations are their remnant sovereign territories. By treaty, there’s no getting rid of reservations, but their management is deliberately screwed up to force assimilation, prevent genuine cultural autonomy, force privileged access to the considerable resources those lands contain, and generally be mean to them.

          http://www.perc.org/articles/how-government-keeps-indians-poverty

          Should white separatists succeed in this pipe dream of white homelands in America, they might have to fight most of the world. No sovereign Hispanic, Asian or African nation would care to deal with such a United States, requiring the removal of that indigenous sovereignty, while any surviving formerly American non-whites would hardly be cooperative, being officially locked out of the economy.

  • It occurs to me that those who control judges and the courts have effectively guaranteed an eventual race war by ensuring the no cop is EVER prosecuted or serves any jail time related to shooting unarmed blacks. Recall how outraged whites were by the jury nulification in the OJ not guilty verdict? Multiply that X 10 to begin to understand black reality in Anerica, where no cop can be prosecuted for what is clearly murder

    Whites have not failed to notice the judicial injustice, and most have quietly feared this exact result. The ONLY answer is to identify the forces behind the CONSPIRACYTO SET MURDERS FREE, who happen to be cops, and hold the judicial system accountable, revealing the truth of HOW it is controlled, and by whom

    The media has been saying that the motive for the Dallas cop killings is unclear. Seriously? How tone deaf are they? As if the assassination wasn’t obviously the motive?