100 Years of Racism in Policing

The racist trends we see today in police violence are not new.

In the summer of 1967, a wave of protests swept the city of Detroit after the police arrested patrons of a “blind pig,” an illegal after-hours bar in a mostly Black neighborhood. The patrons included two Black Vietnam War veterans who were celebrating their return home. Throughout five days of protests, 43 people were killed, 1,189 were injured, and 7,200 were arrested.

In response, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in the National Guard and the U.S. Army, turning Detroit’s streets into a combat zone. He also set up a commission to understand the uprising. But when the commission released its findings, he ignored most recommendations and set aside its findings that the root causes of the uprisings were disinvestment in Black communities, Black powerlessness and frustrated hopes, and how police “symbolize white power, white racism, and white repression” for significant numbers of Black people.

How much longer will we continue to pour increasing sums of money into a system of law enforcement that has demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to change after 101 years?

By looking deeply at the history of racism in policing, we can better understand why it’s not just reform, but a full re-allocation of resources that is necessary for us to end violence and injustice in our communities. We’ve known the problem and we’ve known the solution for 100 years. It’s long past time to act.

It is time to divest from law enforcement and reinvest in the Black and Brown communities they unjustly target. Sign the petition at action.aclu.org/petition/divest-police-invest-black-and-brown-communities

Read the full article at www.aclu.org/news/criminal-law-reform/what-100-years-of-history-tells-us-about-racism-in-policing.

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