Biden Uses State of the Union to Double Down on Failed Idea of Police Reforms

In a State of the Union speech predictably marked by half the chamber applauding the president and the opposite half of the chamber sullenly disapproving (together with some outright expressions of rancor from far proper congress folks), President Joe Biden earned one of many few bipartisan standing ovations after stating his support for the police. “I do know most cops are good, respectable folks. They threat their lives each time they placed on that protect,” Biden declared.

In addressing police violence, the president used his State of the Union speech to double down on his reformist agenda, which was encapsulated in his Could 2022 executive order on federal regulation enforcement (“The Govt Order on Advancing Efficient, Accountable Policing and Legal Justice Practices to Improve Public Belief and Public Security”). The order shares many options of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which died in Congress after the uprisings following the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the summertime of 2020. Biden’s government order, which applies particularly to federal regulation enforcement, clarified use-of-force requirements, offered anti-bias coaching, intensified knowledge assortment on the usage of power and established a database detailing cases of misconduct by federal regulation enforcement. It additionally banned no-knock raids and chokeholds.

Whereas Democrats and Republicans bicker over the debt ceiling and when and the place to shoot down a spy balloon from China, there’s little distinction between the events relating to willfully misdiagnosing the issue uncovered by Tyre Nichols’s homicide, even within the aftermath of one of the heinous police beatings of a Black man ever captured on video.

For some coverage makers, Nichols’s loss of life was the product of “dangerous” police tradition. South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn tweeted, “A harmful tradition of violence has permeated far too many police departments on this nation.” South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott acknowledged, “This was a person [Nichols] overwhelmed by the facility of the state. We should unite towards this blatant disregard for human life particularly from these we belief with immense energy and duty.”

In the meantime, in Atlanta, Democratic Mayor Andre Dickens blamed activists for the January police-perpetrated killing of forest defender Tortuguita and the arrest of activists in search of to cease the town from destroying the Weelaunee Forest and setting up a $90 million regulation enforcement coaching facility referred to as “Cop City.” Dickens claimed the nonviolent activists have been accountable for the violence perpetrated by the police. He even deployed the previous “outside agitators” trope, suggesting the activists were outsiders who have been standing in the way in which of authentic growth of the forest. Clearly, for Dickens, the Atlanta Police Division was justified in doing no matter was crucial to make sure that the development of the power would progress.

The issue with these explanations — whether or not they’re cultural or grounded within the perception that police are justified in defending financial growth — is that they obscure the structural issues identified by many activists who’ve known as for defunding the police: Legislation enforcement’s monopoly management over the usage of power; native, state and federal governments shoveling billions of {dollars} into regulation enforcement; the political energy of police officer associations and unions and these establishments’ willingness to defend officers who kill residents and demonize activists; and the notion that the “skinny blue line” is important to guard the social, political and financial order of racial capitalism.

As abolitionist motion lawyer Derecka Purnell identified insightfully in her response to Nichols’s beating in Memphis, liberal police reform, particularly the sorts that Biden touts, can’t stop regulation enforcement from killing anybody. Sadly, plainly the demand to “cease killing us” is perpetually ignored by each Democratic and Republican policymakers.

Banning chokeholds in New York Metropolis didn’t cease NYPD officers from choking Eric Garner to loss of life. Physique cameras didn’t cease the Memphis cops from yanking Nichols out of his automotive and beating him with no provocation. In truth, the Memphis officers sought to make use of their physique cameras to their benefit by setting up a story throughout and after the beating.

Households’ requires accountability after struggling the lack of a beloved one comprise one of many few paths accessible for justice in a violent carceral system predicated on punishment after the very fact and never on nonviolent prevention. Finally, Biden’s doubling down on police reformism ought to function a reminder of the aim after the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Aura Rosser, Sandra Bland, Freddie Grey, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Keenan Anderson, Tortuguita and Tyre Nichols, and plenty of others — to forestall the police from killing us by changing them with extra life-giving establishments designed to strengthen communities.

We can not stop the police from killing us if we proceed to assist an inherently violent system of public security. We should proceed to boost the essential basic questions on policing within the U.S. — How did policing within the U.S. develop and why? Who and what does the police shield on this nation? And, to echo abolitionists like Purnell, Mariame Kaba, Andrea Ritchie and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, does proposed police reform strengthen or delegitimize police energy? Skilled organizers should be a part of with those that are new to the problem and unite in in search of solutions to these questions whereas organizing to remodel public security, protest state violence and shield ourselves and the atmosphere towards policing and racial capitalism.