Want to Stop Police Brutality: Decriminalize All Drugs
It is the height of absurdity to suggest that we do away with our police forces. There isn’t a country or a major city in the world that doesn’t have a police force. Even the Vatican City has a police force.
Like it or not, there are violent criminals in the world — murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, home invaders — and a whole host of less violent offenders who must be apprehended, investigated, and charged with the crimes they have committed. We need well-trained law enforcement officers and detectives to accomplish those objectives.
However, what we do NOT need is a militarized police force that functions like an army of occupation in low-income communities and among people of color.
How the Militarization of Our Police Forces Began
The militarization of the police departments of America began in June of 1971 when then-President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one” and then declared the War on Drugs.
Make no mistake, there were terrible abuses of police power, most of them against people of color, long before Richard Nixon declared his war on drugs. While we would like to believe that those abuses were limited to the benighted states of the old Confederacy below the Mason Dixon Line, the truth is that those abuses took place wherever there were people of color from Boston to Miami to Texas (all of it) and on to California, up the West Coast and across the Northern Tier.
However, it wasn’t until Richard Nixon declared his War on Drugs that the arrest and incarceration of people of color became a growth industry.
The War On Drugs Is Really A War on Us
The War on Drugs was really a war on poor people, black people, Hispanics, hippies, and everyone else who was in any way connected to the drug culture.
Even if you never used drugs, never bought them, or sold them, if anyone you knew, if anyone you were related to, used drugs, bought them, or sold them, you ended up as a target for political oppression by the police.
The War on Drugs became the excuse for the militarization of American police departments…