Angela Purnell

Police Brutality

From its barbaric origins as slave watchers in 1704, to the first police force in Boston Ma. in 1838, to the first official police department in New York in 1845, racism and brutality are deeply woven threads in to the fabric of law enforcement. I've heard it said many times that the system is NOT broken, rather it is working precisely as it was designed. Unfortunately, this statement is woefully true.

The history of law enforcement, as heroic as they are portrayed, is sadistically twisted and tangled in torture, corruption, power and greed. This is why the few “good” cops in existence are either fired or intimidated into silence. Ever wonder why the KKK and other white nationalist groups armed with AK-47s and various other weapons, could storm the Capitol Building, threaten to behead an elected official, and maintain a “peaceful” protest (complete with police protection) and no arrests? What are they protesting? That massages are essential, haircuts are essential and wearing a mask is “slavery”. Meanwhile, black and brown people, and their white allies, armed with cardboard signs chanting “Black Lives Matter” are met with tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and flash bombs. Their protest? Please stop killing innocent black men, women and CHILDREN in the street. Or in their bed while they're sleeping. Or in the park while playing with a toy gun. Or while jogging. Or while walking down the street in a hoodie with some skittles and iced tea. Or for selling loose cigarettes. Or while driving with his wife and baby daughter in the back seat. Or while following orders. Or SIMPLY FOR BEING BLACK. This is a movement to shed light on, and hopefully bring an end to, a system immersed in racism and oppression towards anyone who is not white.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863, it did not actually free all slaves in America. Thus the reason for the 13th Amendment which states; “Neither slave, nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” In the second section of the 13th Amendment it also states: “Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Since this was passed in Congress, it became federal law and effectively freed all slaves throughout the entire United States. It also became a loophole to continue to enforce slavery, because now, if you are convicted of a crime, they can force you in to involuntary servitude.

Black men began being arrested at disgusting rates, charged with even the tiniest of offenses, to include false allegations. They were arrested, charged, convicted and forced to work on the very same plantations they were just “freed” from. Do you see where this is going?

If you are black in America, you are guilty. If a white person says you did anything, you are guilty. According to the National Law Enforcement Museum, (lawenforcementmuseum.org) there were 3 main actions of the slave patrol; “(1) to chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside the law.”

Our modern day law enforcement still practices all 3 of these. We have seen the organized terror on our streets as recently as today, and everyday for the past few months, since the viscous murder of George Floyd on March 25th. They do maintain a form of their own discipline against the people who, still to this very day, are seen as “slaves,” by brutally beating, intimidating, and terrorizing black and brown people. They plant drugs and guns on minorities. They have convicted countless black men on bogus charges. They have taken away their freedoms, and for far too many, even their lives via death row, or flat out murdering them in the street. Every 1 in 9 convicted on death row are INNOCENT. They do all this why? For the reason of the first action. To return the “slaves” to their owners. Unfortunately, black men, women and children are still to this very day, seen as property in the eyes of many. Especially in the eyes of law enforcement, and it shows in a painfully obvious way. The biggest, most organized and viscous gang in America today is law enforcement.

Let's never forget those who were INNOCENT and/or UNARMED that were mercilessly slain by police officers. Let's all say their names.

George Floyd – 46
Freddie Gray – 25
Breonna Taylor – 26
Janisha Fonville - 20
Philando Castile – 32
Eric Garner - 43
Tamir Rice – 12
Akai Gurley - 28
Ahmaud Arbery – 25
Michael Brown - 18
Atatiana Jefferson – 28
Tanisha Anderson - 37
Stephon Clark – 22
Michael Dean - 28
Botham Jean – 26
Christopher Whitfield - 31
Alton Sterling – 37
Melvin Watkins – 54
Channara Tom Pheap – 33
Tommy Smith – 39
John Crawford III – 22

Although he was not killed directly by a police officer, our system egregiously failed to bring justice to the unnecessary murder of a 17 year old Trayvon Martin.

These are just a few names in the endless list of racially motivated murders by cops. We can not stop, we can NOT relent. We must continue to fight for justice and equality.


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