Nothing Deviant About Justice, But Everything Deviant About Racist Police
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
While people of color and allies are seen as deviant for marching the streets for months, white people from Vanity Fair are glorified for capitalizing off of Breonna Taylor’s murder. After six months of protests in the streets and what encompasses this fight for social justice during a global pandemic, city officials of Louisville have agreed to make systemic changes within policing to prevent murder of our people and pay Breonna Taylor’s family twelve million dollars as a settlement. Some of these reforms have been long overdue and are questionable too. For those of you who may not know about Breonna Taylor, I encourage you to tune in to society and the current revolution, decolonize your mind and educate yourself.
Taylor was brutally murdered in her sleep in March of 2020 by police who were conducting a no-knock warrant for a narcotics investigation. After multiple shots and the death of Breonna Taylor, no drugs were found on site. Even if there were drugs on the site, it wouldn't justify the murder of someone. The 1970’s movement called the War on Drugs has not only killed individuals like Breonna Taylor, but has also disproportionately convicted and sentenced millions of Black lives. This brings us to question the policing system of America.
It had been six months after Breonna Taylor’s murder, protests, a documentary, magazine covers and people speaking Taylor’s name into existence for the government to finally start a dialogue about change, and acknowledge and validate her death. Even so, the agreement and settlement made did not require the city to take accountability for the wrongful murder of Breonna Taylor. The policy changes that are promised in the agreement include to have more oversight by commanders in regards to warrants, a system that warns and flags police who have been accused of excessive force, sexual misconduct and disciplinary problems, and mandatory safeguards. Does it sound like these reforms should have already been in place?
Other policy changes stated in the agreement include encouraging officers to do paid community service. As the unemployment rate rises during the pandemic, cops are given more work opportunities? Additionally, the agreement states that officers will be given housing credits to encourage them to live in the neighborhoods they police. Having police officers move to some neighborhoods creates other families and individuals to move out because of gentrification. This will further perpetuate the cost of living to rise and inequality to grow. Some may say, "Having cops live in your neighborhood will help them create a sense of togetherness with the community!" Still, officers living in the communities they police doesn't make them any less racist. It makes them instill more fear. This reform clearly does not fix systemic issues. In fact, this reform showers cops and those in the policing system with gifts and flowers. Why are privileged cops given benefits and incentives from our people and tax payers to live in certain areas with more feasibility? The policing system and cops are the ones responsible for fixing their wrongdoing, not the people who suffer from the crimes done against them. The individuals that should be given aid in regards to housing and living arrangements should be Black people to make reparations. Some of these tried-but-failed changes to the system make matters even worse for Black people.
I speculate: Do these changes help Black people feel and be safe? Are these changes actually going to heal the root of the problem in America - white supremacy, greed and power? Twelve million dollars doesn't mean anything compared to the issues that plague the Black community. The demands to arrest and charge Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove are still present in society. It is time to listen to the people. Hopefully, society as a whole will begin to separate deviance and the voice of people, because there is nothing deviant about justice, but everything deviant about racist police.
By Lauren Díaz Quintana - M.A. in Sociology, George Washington University