Stop making excuses for the ‘protesters’ that act like bad cops

Portland Fire Protest

Summary List Placement

When an innocent man — pulled from his car and held prisoner in the middle of a Portland street by a mob — was kicked in the head from behind and knocked bloodily unconscious, that’s a criminal and sadistic act. It should be plainly, unambiguously described as such. 

It doesn’t matter if one of the perpetrators yelled a slogan related to a protest movement rooted in a righteous cause. It’s an unjustifiable act of violence, unworthy of the word “protest.” But the Washington Post still identified the mob as “protesters.”

We’re in an overcautious moment when it comes to criticizing incidents of violence and property destruction when they’re even tangentially related to the protests against police brutality and racism.

But the excessive timidity and conflation are short-sighted and destructive. They’re also insultingly patronizing.

We — the general public, the media, and academia — shouldn’t shy away from denouncing behavior that’s eerily similar to the violence perpetrated by abusive police. Failing to make such distinctions between civil disobedience and rank criminality makes it that much easier for Trump and his “law and order” brigade to equate every peaceful protest with every burned-down storefront. 

And if polls showing eroding support for Black Lives Matter are any indication, not clearly defining what is part and not part of the movement for racial justice can erode popular support for its just causes. 

Police brutality won’t be ended by “protesters” acting like bad cops 

In June, protesters created a police-free “autonomous zone” in downtown Seattle. It had been described in the press as having a “block-party atmosphere.” 

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But a not insignificant number of people who live and work within that area — including members of marginalized communities — didn’t feel like it was a party, or even a cop-free zone. Rather, they described being barred from leaving or entering without the permission of armed, mostly white young men. 

They were generally referred to as “protesters” in the media. More accurately they could be described as brutish cops, or perhaps militia members, exercising their self-declared authority. 

Looting has been occuring at such a scale in Chicago that for weeks Mayor Lori Lightfoot has regularly ordered the city’s bridges raised to limit access to downtown. Lightfoot said of the disturbances, “This is not legitimate First Amendment-protected speech. These were not poor people engaged in petty theft to feed themselves and their family … This was straight up felony criminal conduct.”

But there’s still some pause about calling the destruction and theft “looting.” ProPublica Illinois went with “an outbreak of property destruction and unrest.” 

In Portland this August, a group of people hanging out outside a 7-11 robbed and beat a trans woman, then turned their attack on an unarmed man, Adam Haner, who stepped in to defend her. By the time the incident was over, Haner had been falsely accused by the crowd of trying to run people over, chased, held captive in the street, then beaten unconscious to the point he was bleeding profusely out …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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