Did Congressional Silence On Police Violence Contribute to Murder of Dallas Police Officers?

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As with gun control, Rep. Ryan --rather than tackling police institutional racism head-on still has head buried in sand

The murders of five Dallas Police officers—occurring near the Dealey Plaza site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—could’ve been avoided if Congress had acted to stop the racial policing that is conducted by police departments across America, which leads to the routine murders of Black people.

Will the deaths of these five cops finally force Congress to enact legislative policies to stamp out institutional racism and halt the rising militarization of police departments? Or, will we just hear more empty political pontificating waiting for matters to quiet down that does nothing to solve the problem?

The execution of five Dallas Police officers represent a tragic loss of human life. All lives—including those of Black people—truly matter. Unfortunately, these kinds of lethal outcomes are foreseeable when there remains political inaction to serious festering problems that demand immediate attention. This has been going on for long.

Congressional leaders must step up and start speaking honestly about America’s racial divisions, especially as they relate to the criminalization and dehumanization of Black Americans.

In addressing the murders in Dallas, House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “The blame lies with the people who committed these vicious acts, and no one else."

What a simplistic and dishonest statement. The mere fact that he adds "and non one else," means he is saying "that's all I'm willing to talk about." Why else would he have to add that comment to his statement?

Here again, we see political leaders taking no responsibility for social realities that are rooted in their political policies.

The “law and order” mantra that Republicans have promoted for decades was always a signal to law enforcement that racializing, criminalizing and brutalizing Black people was politically acceptable; it was easier and cheaper than doing the right thing.

The Dallas mass murders of police is a direct consequence of Congress’ failure to address excessive police violence—like the kind that lead to the point blank executions of innocent Black people like Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Moreover, Republicans, like Mr. Ryan are the ones who are busy legislating for and against programs that have a detrimental effect on African-Americans.

Where were the congressional comments and condolences from the House Speaker, Republicans—and our so-called “liberal” and “progressive” politicians when the world witnessed the clear-cut murders of Walter Scott and Laquan McDonald  both unarmed African American males shot in the back by police? Where were the denunciations of Officer Slager and Officer Van Dyke, of the South Carolina and Chicago police departments, respectively?

These law-abiding politicians voiced no outrage when these cold-blooded murderers—both caught on video—were given bail, even after they violated the public trust in the worst possible way.

The blood of these five Dallas officers isn’t just on the hands of shooter, military veteran Micah Johnson, who “served his country,” in Afghanistan. Blood is also on the hands of: politicians who fail to protect the human rights of all the citizenry; police officials and unions who excuse the inexcusable; corporate entities who remain silent; and, a larger White American society that is still in denial about this nation’s history of White supremacy.

Black Americans have seen a resurgence of racism since President Barack Obama became the nation’s 44 president. Over the last two years, some of that racism is evident in the brutal interactions we’ve witnessed between police and African-Americans.

President John F. Kennedy once said “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

For two years, since the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Black people have peacefully protested the repeated racist policing that violates their rights and ends their lives. But Congress has refused to do anything. But now that there will be five funerals of police officers we’ve hear a lot of political talk about how “despicable” and “demented” this murderer was—a murderer who was trained by the “kill man machinery” known as the U.S. Military.

Micah Johnson, who “served his country,” is the kind of American who when he was killing in Afghanistan would’ve been praised by politicians in Congress.

When America’s trained mercenaries murder in the name of the nation they’re called “heroes.”

Timothy McVeigh is remembered as a mass murderer for his assault on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, in 1995, that killed 168 people—but our leaders conveniently leave out the fact that McVeigh was a decorated veteran who won several awards for killing people in the foreign “theaters of war.”

During a press conference after the Dallas killings, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, presumably speaking to Black people and protesters, said “the answer is never violence."  Black people, who are as peaceful as any people on the planet, are always given lectures about non-violence while we’re being murdered by police in the streets of America.

The wrong people are being told to be “peaceful” and “non-violent”; how could he she not direct the same message to police officers? Isn’t it time for politicians to tell police the racist violence must end?

The even larger irony here is: violence is usually advocated as a first resort—and the best form of conflict resolution—by these same phony politicians. In Congress, those who promote dialogue and diplomacy with hostile nations are viewed as weak. Those who promote war are praised for being “tough.” This is the same approach which criminalizes all Black people as suspect deserving of whatever violence police commit.

Question: how does the business of war weaponry factor into American foreign policy—as well as into the behavior of police? During the Ferguson protests, after Michael Brown’s death, we witnessed what a militarized police force looks like. Across America, police departments are receiving massive amounts of military hardware. Isn’t this causing police to behave like invading armies, especially, when they encounter Blacks—who they’ve been taught to view as the posterchildren of criminality?

The militarized characteristics of America’s modern police departments mixed with institutional racism is a lethal combination for Black America.

We now have political provocateurs, like the reprehensible former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, spewing stupid statements about Black Lives Matter activists being supposedly responsible for attacks on police. Yet, Mayor Giuliani is the kind of politician who has contributed immensely to the hostile relationship police often have with Blacks. His comments towards Black people are always filled with bitterness and antipathy.

Under the Mayor Giuliani’s administration, Black people were the primary targets of over-policing in New York City—a reality that creates the inflated, self-fulfilling statistics police apologists use in the media when they tell White America that most crime is primarily committed by Black people.

Giuliani’s running of the NYPD—where tactics like “Stop-and-Frisk,” “Broken Windows,” and quota-ticket targeting were used largely on African-Americans—is an example of how politicians design police policies to criminalize, and further impoverish Black people.

In Ferguson, besides criminalizing African-Americans, officials balanced the city’s budget at the expense of Black residents.

We often hear the platitude that “We are a nation of laws.” Yet, cops can basically invoke a sort of Dread Scott exception and violate the rights of Black people and count on a crooked court system to make sure they never face justice for killing and murdering Black Americans.

When will police who kill the innocent be held legally accountable for their criminal actions? Congress and Washington must adopt “zero tolerance” for racial policing—and the killings and murders that result from it. When police and politicians allow criminal cops to escape justice for their crimes they delegitimize the entire justice system in the eyes of Black America.

Where are the Capitol Hill hearings to address institutional racism in police forces? Congress has had repeated hearings on Benghazi, Hillary Clinton and on Planned Parenthood. We often hear Republicans and conservatives talking about the “rights of the unborn” and preaching about the “sanctity of life.”

Somehow though, they can’t seem to find any sympathy for the living African-Americans who are dying daily—including those being killed by police.

Will Congress act now that five police officers lost their lives in Dallas?

Don't hold your breath.

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