Biden’s “Community Policing” plan is a scam.
By: Matthew Barad 6/10/20
In light of Biden’s plan to “fix” police brutality by funding its perpetrators with $300 Million for “community policing,” I thought it would be good to write a short post talking about the community policing’s sordid history.
To begin, policing itself has always been sold as “community protection.” The first police department on Earth was the London Metro Police; it was created to remove “dangerous elements” (read: poor immigrants and socialists) from the newly industrialized city. In the American South, the first police departments were slave catchers and lynch mobs. Both traditions have survived in all modern western police forces, especially those in the US. Read more about the history of policing here.
Historically, the idea of community policing has always been about removing “dangerous elements” (again, poor, nonwhite, and radical people) from cities. In practice this has been done through segregation, public transit policing (which acts as segregation), protection rackets, and complicity with organized crime. Read Tilly’s essay: “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime” for a deeper understanding of how policing has functioned in communities since its founding. You can also read my long academic essay as a replacement if you don’t have access to a university database.
In the 90s and 00s, the same old protection-racket policing came back in the form of “broken windows policing.” The claim of this “new” policing practice was that, by focusing on low level offenses, you could cut down on violent crime as well. The idea is that if you stop window-breakers when they break windows, the murderers will be more anxious about being caught or imprisoned before they could murder. This, of course, is all bullshit.
Even in theory, there is no evidence that “criminal elements” or “criminally disposed” people exist, nor that catching people for low-level crimes stops violent crime. In practice, broken windows policing resulted in racial profiling, long sentences for low-level crimes, and an increase in recidivism (formerly incarcerated people returning to crime.) Here is a good write up on its failures. You could say that broken windows policing, aka community policing, directly enabled the degree of unabashed police brutality we are fighting today.
Ever since the racism of broken windows policing was well documented, the academics who originally proposed it have been insisting that their vision was never properly put in to practice by police. They claim that their proposal focused more on building relationships with communities and using “broken windows” tactics to remove vandals and petty criminals from those neighborhoods. Again, this was supposed to improve the relationship between cops and civilians, but in practice just resulted in the mass incarceration of poor and nonwhite people charged with things like carrying a work knife in their belt to a construction job.
Biden’s current plan is to follow the “new” advice of the broken windows policing masterminds, who insist that hiring more cops to focus on “helping” poor communities by arresting them is the solution to the problem of police brutality. It is not.
Put simply: police are an occupying military force belonging to the state and used against society. There is no possibility that police can develop good relationships with communities they exist to oppress, and this funding will do nothing except increase the frequency and brutality of police abuses. Police are rapists, dog killers, white supremacists, and mobsters. Policing is organized crime.
Community policing is a scam that we’ve fallen for a dozen times and suffered from a thousand. Don’t fall for it again.Like (0)