Page 3 of 9
Contemporary Police Brutality and Misconduct A Continuation of the Legacy of Racial Violence Black Radical Congress (March 21, 2001)
crucial to the maintenance of racial oppression, it has always supplemented State-sponsored(government) racist violence.Over the last 500 years people of color, especially African Americans, have endured a pattern of State-sanctioned violence, and civil and human rights abuse. To enforce capitalist exploitationand racial oppression the government and its police, courts, prisons, and military have beaten,framed, murdered and executed private persons, and brutally repressed struggles for freedom, justice, and self-determination. It has initiated wars of conquest, launched man-hunts for fugitiveslaves, suppressed slave revolts, brutalized demonstrators, and assassinated political dissidents.Police brutality and misconduct are merely the major contemporary forms of State-sponsored
racist violence. Police brutality describes “instances of serious physical or psychological harm tocivilians.” Contemporary police brutality consis
ts of deadly force, the use of excessive force, andit includes unjustified shooting, fatal choking, and physical assault by law enforcement officers.Police misconduct is inclusive of planting evidence, making untrue statements, filing untruewritten reports, condoning untrue statements and/or reports by keeping silent, threateningsuspects, arrestees, and witnesses, engaging in illegal activities, and committing perjury.
This statement summarizes the United States’ atrocious record of racial repression, s
pecificallyState-sponsored violence. It has a dual purpose: first to demonstrate the role of government ininitiating and sustaining racially motivated suppression and savagery; and second, to provide arationale for making police brutality and misconduct federal crimes.
A History of U.S. Racial Repression and Violence
Historically, racist violence, legal and extralegal, and whether State-sponsored or private, hasbeen used to impose racial oppression and preserve white power and privilege. Racist violencehas served five primary purposes:1.
To force people of color into indentured, slave, peonage, or low wage situations;2.
To steal land, minerals, and other resources;3.
To maintain social control and to repress rebellions;4.
To restrict or eliminate competition in employment, business, politics, and social life; and