Militarized Response Tracker #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

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Minneapolis Police fire tear gas at those protesting the May 25th death of George Floyd. Photo: Chad Davis/Flickr
Minneapolis Police fire tear gas at those protesting the May 25th death of George Floyd. Photo: Chad Davis/Flickr

Below is a statement by War Resisters League, endorsed by WRI Executive Committee, in solidarity with protests demanding justice for George Floyd.

We’re heartbroken and outraged and like so many of you, refuse to allow the systematic killing of Black people in the United States to continue without a fight for justice. There is a lot to be outraged about: from how the politics of COVID-19 pandemic put the lives of Black and indigenous folks at risk, to how calls for release of prisoners still haven’t been met, to the fact that police brutality has taken the lives of Ahmaud Arbury, Dreasjon Reed, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Taylor McDade, and far too many others. 

What We’re Tracking: Militarized Responses to #Justice4GeorgeFloyd

When we talk about police militarization, there is still belief in the notion that if police weren’t militarized, then we wouldn’t have a problem - even within the antimilitarist community. That's not true. We need to push back on this idea and the myth of “a few bad apples in the police force.” The truth is: “regular policing” has always and continues to harass, detain, brutalize, and terrorize Black people. It’s why there are virtually never repercussions for police officers who commit murder. And the militarization of domestic policing isn’t entirely new either - in fact, the history goes back decades.

To recap:

On Thursday, Minnesota activated its National Guard and deployed them on Saturday during protests. Before then, Customs and Border Patrol flew an unmanned predator drone over the city on Friday, presumably to surveil protestors. Early Saturday morning, the Pentagon offered military police to the city of Minneapolis. Videos and reports of police violence against protestors, including use of military grade equipment like Safariland tear gas, are all over social media.

Read: Facing Tear Gas

This isn't contained to Minnesota - curfews are being imposed across the country while other Governors are following suit and activating their National Guard (source). 

COLLABORATIVE NEWS TRACKER - Militarized Responses to #Justice4GeorgeFloyd

And in the meantime: DONATE TO BAIL FUNDS NATIONWIDE

Preparing Now and For the Future: Nonviolent Direct Action and Counter Recruitment

A big theme in the conversations we’re seeing online are: how could anyone be a bystander to police brutality? Why are people still calling the police?

Part of the answer is: we need to prepare ahead before we find ourselves in those high adrenaline moments. War Resisters League has for decades worked to provide nonviolent direct action educational resources. It’s through training ahead for these moments that prepare us to act when the time comes.

Read more about nonviolent direct action here.

Another way we can be part of the solution is to have conversations with people we know - friends, family, classmates - who are interested in professional policing. Counter recruitment is an effective way at changing perceptions of joining police, Border Patrol, and the military.

Read more: Beyond Border PatrolSo You Wanna Be A Cop?, and The Military is Not Just a Job.

In Solidarity,

The entire WRL team

31st May 2020

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