via Peoples Justice Project Facebook

Opinion: Gaslighting By City Officials Has Led To Intensified Protests By The Community

While protest groups and community organizations grow more and more incensed, the silence from elected officials becomes deafening.

Protesters and community organizers once again stormed a city council meeting last night, taking over the assembly to address issues of minority-targeted police violence in the wake of the controversial Timothy Davis video. In the video, plainclothes officers are seen punching and kicking a nearly naked Davis as onlookers record the altercation in dismay.

The Timothy Davis video and subsequent lawsuit made on his behalf against the Columbus Police Department is only the latest in a string of highprofile incidents of police violence against African-American citizens. Just recently, the city played host to a panel of social justice and community leaders that featured Shawn King and Nina Turner. The panel’s theme: police violence against the Black community and the city’s inability to come to terms with its own issues of race and division.

It’s interesting to note that the fact that the panel drew such prominent figures in the field of community activism didn’t seem to signal any city leaders on the possibility of impending civil unrest. That no one up the rung of elected officials sensed that events were beginning to snowball. But general caution and attentiveness seem to have gone out the window altogether as of late.

via Facebook

In an age of escalated scrutiny, logic would dictate that extra care be taken during arrest interactions.

Recent incidents between police and the community show the opposite to be true. Rather than attempting to repair any loss trust and displaying a prudence and awareness of current events, confrontations seem to be escalating, as if police and the community are caught in a destructive game of chicken and chance.

One can only hope this isn’t the result of some pushback from law enforcement. That, rather than being careful and empathetic to the citizenry they’re sworn to protect, cops are instead digging in their heels and puffing out their chests, refusing to show compromise or weakness. A deadly combination of toxic machismo and unwavering belief.

via People’s Justice Project Facebook

Denial and negligence by city leaders only serve to exacerbate the problem.

After several high-profile incidents involving police and people of color, Columbus officials have yet to acknowledge the apparent problem or make any real attempt to alleviate tensions between law enforcement and the communities they protect.

Granted, the dilemma of police and race in our city is a complicated and intricate one. It has many complex dimensions with even more intricate solutions, but there are many simple steps the city could take to add immediate relief to a system that’s already bursting at the seams. Steps like minimizing the role of plainclothes cops during stops and arrests, a practice that seems to be generally problematic at its most benign.

via mappingpoliceviolence.com

Still, the city’s general denial that the problem even exists seems to be the fuel stoking the community’s anger and discontent.

The alarming statistics of the city’s minority-targeted police violence combined with its history of racial profiling made obvious by a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department in 2000, indicates a trend of dynastic race-based inclinations in the Columbus Police Department. An inclination that many people of color who have called Columbus home their entire lives are all too aware of but have rarely ever seen acknowledged.

If officials or Columbus Police gave any indication of being aware of the issue rather than gaslighting the already enraged and frustrated black and brown population of Columbus, then perhaps activists and members of the community would be more inclined to trust the actions of the police and city officials. As of now, that trust is all but non-existent.

via Peoples Justice Project Facebook

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