Reports and rumors of violence and criminal activity were spreading throughout the city as the winds of discontent blew and it was clear something was afoot. The police response was to get their riot gear and the equipment necessary to spray and subdue anybody that would want to cause mayhem. Then the police showed up looking for a fight. Am I talking about Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police Department during the Civil Rights era, or the Alabama State troopers on Bloody Sunday, or the Minneapolis Police Department over this last week?
That’s right, Bull Connor and George Wallace would be proud of the Minneapolis Police Department.
While I will never condone criminal behavior, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the Minneapolis Police Department showed up to a protest, which to that point had been peaceful, before one building was burned, before one car was wrecked, and before one store was looted. They came in riot gear with tear gas and SWAT teams. They showed up looking to agitate the crowd and poke the bear. Sometimes when you poke the bear, you get mauled. Let’s face it though, we shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction of the Minneapolis Police Department because the Bull Connor playbook has become the go-to in situations like this.
Whenever a police officer kills a suspect of color in this country under the guise of they know what’s to come so they are justified in pre-emptively firing upon or choking to death a suspect without due process, the next move is always to show up to any peaceful protest with riot gear, tear gas, and SWAT teams. They do this because they know in situations where a police officer was egregiously in the wrong (as is the case with the killing of George Floyd), if they can agitate the crowd away from peaceful protest into looting and rioting that public sentiment in this country will turn away from the community of color and back towards the police. IT HAPPENS EVERY SINGLE TIME! A thinking person has to ask themselves “Are the police getting the exact reaction that they wanted?” It’s clear from their actions even after things escalated into looting and rioting that they were looking for a fight, because they intentionally targeted, arrested, and frankly assaulted journalists at the scene who clearly identified themselves as journalists. It was clearly evident they were journalists. Either that clearly shows an immense disregard for human life in the conduct of their job, which makes you question why someone is a police officer in the first place, or they’re running on pure adrenaline without the training necessary to be able to control their reactions and harness that adrenaline to make them be able to do their jobs better. You know, like professionally trained military personnel are able to do.
I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have had those resources ready in a rapid deployment strategy, but was it truly necessary to deploy those resources first before things escalated? Was it necessary for them to show up looking like they were ready for a fight? Was this their plan all along, but is now gotten out of control?
My father taught me three things. First, only you can control your behaviors and it is your decision to control them. Second, you can do whatever you want as long as you’re willing to suffer the consequences for it later. Third and finally, nobody else’s behavior or actions justify your own. These lessons are universal and can be applied to this situation, too. Regardless of the actions of the looters and the rioters in the streets of Minneapolis, we cannot turn a blind eye to the behavior of the Minneapolis Police Department that certainly provoked fear, anger, and aggression in an otherwise peaceful group of protesters. We must hold everybody accountable, from the criminal elements all the way up to the top brass of the police department.
when protesters showed up in Flint Michigan, police marched with them and there was no violence. When protesters showed up in Miami Florida, police prayed with them and there was no violence. When protesters showed up in Mobile Alabama, the top brass of the city listened and dialogued with them, and there was minimal violence. Is it any Wonder that when the police in Minneapolis Wonder that when the police in Minneapolis showed up looking for a fight they got one?