This post is part of: A day of blogging for justice: Standing up against the police pre-trial electrocution of black children, women and men by taser.
Torture talk has been all over the news recently. The unfortunate [yet understandable] focus of the conversation is on torture in a military & international context.
This causes us to overlook the torture and murder of citizens here at home, victims of racial profiling, police brutality, and excessive use of lethal force by law enforcement.
Torture mentality has perverted our entire system
What happens at the top always impacts the bottom. Lawless leadership leads to lawless practices on the ground. When the Bush Administration OK’d torture, low-level interrogators became torturers. On the local level, when police chiefs embrace tasers as “non-lethal” alternatives to guns, people get killed unnecessarily.
Leadership complicit in torture and murder must be held accountable at all levels.Further, we need to preemptively demand that our leaders craft policies that prevent death, not enable it.
Our wars here at home on petty criminals and the disenfranchised should not be ones that result in capital murder.
What you can do
Contact your local police chief and ask whether officers are carrying tasers. Look up their contact information by searching for their zip code on USACOPS. If they’re using tasers not, thank him or her. If they are carrying, do the following:
- Sign this petition calling on the Congressional Black Caucus to investigate this phenomenon.
- Ask: Is the entire force armed with tasers?
If not, which units have them?
- Ask: Do officers carry both tasers and guns?
Ask what the motivation is for this policy.
- Ask: What’s the usage protocol for tasers?
This will answer the question “when should tasers be used in place of guns?”
- Suggest: Stop carrying tasers
Direct them to our site documenting taser abuses in the US. Let them know that you’ll feel safer if police enagaged in non-lethal ways whenever possible. You know that the officers are well-trained and highly professional, and you just want them to do the best they can without taking lives.
Simply asking these questions will cause leadership to reflect on their policy. Reflection is the first step to change.
Let’s prevent this from spreading further.
One Love. One II.
Photo Credit: strangedays on Flickr
Cross-posted on Brave New Films Blog.
The newspaper Final Call has an interview with Megan Williams, the Black woman that was tortured and raped by 6 caucasians in West Virginia recently.
Williams described the part of the torture like this:
They kicked me in the head with steel toed boots, they hit me in the head with several objects, I remember seeing a knife, and they tried to cut my foot off. They told me that is what they did to Kunta Kinte when they cut his foot off so he couldn’t run and that is what they were going to do to me.
My calendar says it's 2007, but this makes me seriously wonder.
One Love. One II.
Cross-posted from the Brave New Films Blog.
Lots of things can characterize the state of affairs in this country over the last 2+ years: incompetence, hypocrisy, ignorance, corruption, straight-up evil. But a theme that has been overtly present in a very real way is, you guessed it, racism. Open, unapologetic, racism. Yes, it has become cool again to very visibly differentiate how non-white people are treated in this country ever since Hurricane Katrina. With nooses being hung all over the country like decorations, Black and Latin citizens being treated demonstrably more harshly in court proceedings, peaceful, thinking Black men being singled out and brutalized by Capitol Police, the largely unpublicized torture of a Black women in WV, and countless other evidence, it is clear that the more overt flavor of race hatred has taken the lead over it's covert cousin that was in the driver's seat since the end of Jim Crow. Read More…
Cross-posted from the Brave New Films blog. Elaborated upon here.
Six white people are accused of kidnapping, torturing, and sexually assaulting 20 year old Megan Williams, a Black woman in West Virginia.
It is up in the air as to whether this will be treated as a hate crime Hate crime charges are not being pursued.
Much like how Emmit Till's mother wanted his casket to be open so people could see the raw brutality of his lynching and murder, the Williams family has chosen to reveal the victim's name in order to force "the public to know what happened."
Funny how no one is calling this gang violence (see "Just in my opinion's" comment on this post). Oh, right, it's probably because the suspects are white…
G.W. has now reversed his stance on John McCain’s anti-torture legislation. Well, technically, he didn’t reverse his stance so much as fiddle with the language. In general, it’s decent legislation. We shall see how it works in practice.
I see this debate as ironic. Diplomacy on torture is a quintessential oxymoron. Why not try being diplomatic with detainees instead of trying to beat answers out of them!?!?!? My bad. That might actually make sense and therefore is impossible for us to do.