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justice doesn’t exist for the state

December 3, 2014

This is why I doubt equipping cops with cameras will do any good. Even when it’s caught on tape, they rarely ever get charged for killing an unarmed person, whether it’s by beating, shooting, or choking:

Grand Jury Lets Cop Choke Guy To Death Because Everything Is Terrible

The problems are built into the very fabric of our justice system. Nevertheless, I’ve seen a lot of people lately posting things like, “Not all cops are bad. Not all black people are criminals. Not all white people are racists. Quit labeling.” This is true, not all cops are bad people, just as not all black people are criminals and not all white people are racists. But what people don’t seem to understand here is the oppressive nature of the police as a social institution itself.

Individual police officers may very well be good people; but the real issue is, the police as a whole are primarily protectors of property and enforcers of the state, as well as a means of extracting surplus-value from working people (through parking tickets, traffic fines, etc.). They get their marching orders from the ruling class, not ‘the people’; and more often than not, it’s minorities and the poor that are the most affected by those policies.

When the police target the poor, the homeless, minorities, etc., they primarily do so because of institutionalized pressures created by those in power. Sit-lie and anti-camping ordinances, for example, are two ways for the state to legally harass homeless people by forcing them to move if they’re sitting or lying anywhere in certain areas at anytime, often at the behest of local business alliances.

And there are numerous other laws that target minorities and the poor, such as harsher penalties for someone caught with crack cocaine, which is more prevalent in poorer communities and communities of colour, than powder cocaine, which is a more ‘effluent’ form of the drug, despite no physiological differences between the two. (In 2010, the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine was finally reduced from 100:1 to 18:1 thanks to the Fair Sentencing Act.) It’s a two-tiered justice system weighed heavily in favour of the wealthy.

When the police send in riot cops to arrest protesters, even if they’re non-violent and protesting a gross injustice, they do so because they’re more concerned about protecting property and making sure economic supply-lines for both goods and labour (i.e., roads) remain open than they are justice and the lives of the people they’re allegedly there to ‘serve and protect.’

And due to the lingering effects of racism, from slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the practice of redlining to the unconscious racial biases that still haunt our perception, our judicial system is disproportionately biased against minorities, particularly the black community. Non-whites statistically get targeted more than whites; non-whites statistically get harsher sentences than whites; etc.

But what this case and others like it demonstrate to me is that, ultimately, justice doesn’t exist for the state. The Establishment and those designed to serve and protect the interests of the ruling class and wealthy are above the laws that the rest of us plebs are subject to. They play by an entirely different set of rules.

A cop killing an unarmed black man? Or an unarmed, mentally-ill, homeless person who didn’t do anything wrong, like James Chasse? No grounds for indictment. But a black man killing a cop? A homeless person killing a cop, even in self-defense? Shit. They’d probably never see the light of day, if they weren’t killed themselves in retaliation.

But I think people are finally getting tired of the disparities, the growing militarization of the police, and the lack of accountability. In a lot of these cases, the cops seem like they’re above the law.

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