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Our Statement about the Murder of Tyre Nichols

The murder of Tyre Nichols proves yet again, that policing in America is about the Blue agenda and can be carried out by anyone who wears the badge. It is the institution that is fundamentally racist because it imposes and enforces systemic exploitation based primarily on race. It always has. It privileges some few wealthy, white people with “safety” while the rest of society is terrorized and endangered as it struggles to survive this fundamentally unjust social order. Enforcement of inequality, brutal state violence directed at people of color, the devaluing of Black lives and ever-increasing corruption, have all become defining features of policing in America. Regardless of the race, gender or sexual identity of the officers, the Thin Blue Line rewards those willing to impose the agenda of the wealthy upon the many.


Maybe this group of Black officers was just a corrupt cell? Maybe the “SCORPION” team just went astray? The Memphis Police claim it will be dismantled, but so what? It will undoubtedly be reconstituted at another time with another name, but with the same deadly function: to terrorize poor people and people of color and keep them from exercising their full rights in this country. Cities across America have the same kind of thing. SWAT teams, Special Enforcement Units or Special Response Teams. Berkeley certainly has one.


Certain officers are given privileges and immunity for working the “tougher beats”. They are empowered by the city leaders to use violence on unhoused, mentally ill, youth and poor folks because they do not fear accountability. City leaders, and those lifted by privilege, turn their heads and try not to know how much violence it takes to maintain the supremacy of the white and the wealthy. Hypocritically, Berkeley Police issued a statement expressing that it was “appalled” by the violence. The Nixle Alert went on to say, The impact of excessive force is profoundly disturbing and undermines our efforts to build and maintain trust with our diverse community.”(BPD)


BPD, are you “appalled” by the savage beating that David Frazier was subjected to by BPD in 2020? BPD, are you appalled that a mental health incident in 2021 escalated into Vincent Bryant being shot in the face with less-lethal and lethal gunfire at the same time? Are you appalled that 10 years have passed since Kayla Moore died in her own home under a pile of violent BPD officers and still they haven't ever even said sorry?


And now we are confronted with the current racist and anti-unhoused text scandal with the Downtown Bike Force. Nothing has been publicly acknowledged about the situation by the interim chief of police. Are those officers still out on the streets? The deafening silence with regard to the text scandal and the incidents of police brutality perpetrated by the BPD does the opposite of building and maintaining trust with our diverse community. It erodes trust.


Berkeley Copwatch stands in solidarity with those in Memphis and across the country who are demanding a different approach to creating public safety. Reforming this racist and brutal institution does not work; the abolition of policing is the answer. We are working toward a community that is built on equality and consent rather than coercion, and this means a society without police!


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