Reports From The Field: Police And Their Role In Society [By I Self Devine]

Posted on December 04, 2010 by admin | 7 Comments

The response that I've received about this blog, from my peoples who I know and don't know, is Peace. Give Thanks, repost accordingly and let's keep this moving. For those who need to know, the new album should be coming sometime in 2011, which I'll speak on next week. The album is entitled "The Sound's Of Low Class America". Somewhere in this blog I'll leak something from the album relevant to our main topic of the week. In last weeks report I wrote that there would be mistakes as a forewarning and safety net put in place to cover thy rear. Unfortunately, I had to use it sooner than I expected to when I found myself on my back firmly pressed against the net looking up at the tight rope like a fallen acrobat. My wife eloquently pointed out in my introduction I failed to mention husband as one of my many roles...(Damn!!!,Oh Shit!!!, My bad Ma). I put myself on blast to keep it 100%, as well as illustrate the fact that I have a strong woman on my side on the team holding me down and lifting me up which is Mando (short for mandatory) for me as I strive for elevation.

When I was between the ages of 10 or 12 I remember my mother talking with me about certain etiquette when dealing with police. She said, because your father is 6"7 you are going to be tall for your age. As a result of your size and color when you encounter police don't make sudden movements, resist arrest or talk slick when captured because they might beat or kill you. When she spoke it felt like the 10 commandments’ passed down from a seasoned street vet. In retrospect- it's beyond saddening to think that a mother has to have that kind of conversation with her youngest son at anytime. This conversation was my introduction to my long-standing distrust and hatred toward Police. Though I have never been beat by the police (-as I rub this wood table) I have had to put my hand on the hood of a LA sheriff's car while they accelerated burning my hands, as well as having numerous friends and family murdered by police, which hurts the soul beyond belief and perpetuates a feeling of powerlessness and rage. Growing up in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Atlanta I have seen and heard stories first and second hand of police abusing power from shooting unarmed kids in the back, in some cases throwing down a dirty strap (gun) to insinuate the killing was justified because they were armed, sodomy, extortion of drug dealers you name it. When someone in our community gets shot by the police there's media coverage (maybe), demonstrations (maybe), law suit (maybe), political education on the history, role, and function of police (close to never), the communities awareness of their rights (sometimes), police wrong doing or conviction (maybe). Never is there structural or institutional change as our meaning of society and the possibilities of change and how we fit into it get shaped into never envisioning justice being served in communities occupied by low income and people of color. We are always wrong, it’s always justified, our lives aren't worth shit and we will be brutalized and discounted at every turn all day everyday. With out pulling punches these are the clear messages sent to us as witnessed by what happened with the case of Oscar Grant and too many others that are nameless and faceless. The rebel/rider/warrior in me feels like taking one of them out, out of desperation, immediate gratification and needing to soothe the psyche, restoring dignity and humanity. Doing so would create a small feeling of justice with the overwhelming overstanding that I've made no dent or impact structurally to change the conditions. I would have to kill every cop to achieve justice, which is unrealistic. I wrote a set of songs, for a side group I was in called Semi Official on Rhymesayers with DJ Abilities, that deal with the issues of Police brutality. The songs were called Police Assassination Anthem or P.A.A, as there labeled. Part.1 is on “The Anti Album” and pt. 2 is on the B-side of the Crime 12".

Part 2 deals with the desperation and frustration of someone who kills a police officer as a political act against the Capitalistic state, then flees to Cuba:
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/02-P.A.A-Pt-2.mp3|titles=02 P.A.A Pt 2]

Part 1 deals with the explanation of the conditions that could create the character in part 2:
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/08-Police-Assassination-Anthem.mp3|titles=08 Police Assassination Anthem]

The point is to always politicize the act away from a just a killing in the same way that a riot is different from an uprising organized never disorganized. Back in the day I noticed KRS One had a gang of different cuts (songs) about police through out his career "Sound of the police”,” Black Cop","100 Guns","30 cops or more", and "Who protects us from you?" I have done my own exploration (silent competition) on this issue with the two songs previous along with:

I Self Devine-"Officer Down" with Brother Ali (Self Destruction Mixtape 2005):
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/01-Officer-Down-full-version-featuring-Brother-Ali.mp3|titles=01 Officer Down (full version) featuring Brother Ali]

Micranots-Rookie vs. Steel Toe" Featuring Slug ("Emperor & The Assassin" 2003):
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/05-Steel-Toe-vs.-The-Rookie-feat-Slug-of-Atmosphere.mp3|titles=05 Steel Toe vs. The Rookie feat Slug (of Atmosphere)]

I Self Devine-"Know Your Rights" (from "The Sounds of Low Class America" 2011):
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/01-Know-Your-Rights.mp3|titles=01 Know Your Rights]

I'm trying to see how many songs I can make about cops. I'm aiming for like 50 joints, a double CD, nah mean!!!

I gotta throw Main Source "Friendly Game of Baseball"in there for good measure ("take that, take that", in P.Diddy voice from Hypnotized by B.I.G):
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/05-Just-A-Friendly-Game-of-Baseball-1.mp3|titles=05 Just A Friendly Game of Baseball 1]

The issue of police and there role in our society is complex.

I was two years removed from LA and incarcerated when the 92 rebellion took place. I was angry at the Rodney King verdict and mad I wasn't present to channel my outrage. When I was released I remember talking to people back home about the conditions after the initial uprising and they spoke of the possibilities of peace and unity reminiscent of the fertile conditions that allowed The Panthers to prosper in LA after the Watts uprisings in 65. I also began to hear stories leak out of officers, mainly C.R.A.S.H Unit (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums), dressed as gang members committing crimes against other gangs to instigate violence during the truce which is also mentioned in the documentary Bastards of the party. The investment in crime and more policing is big business. If there is no crime, police have no jobs. I wonder how many police are truly invested in peace and structural and institutional change vs. checking in or out doing their jobs and getting a paycheck (a functionary)? If there were factory workers working in inhumane conditions with no benefits or union they couldn't go to the police to report a crime against their employer. Yet if the workers decided they were going to organize a peaceful demonstration or public action against the factory employers demanding fair treatment and wages 9 times out of 10 the bosses are going to call the squads in.

9 steps used to seize power in a Democracy

1. Create a terrifying enemy inside and outside

2. Create force labor camps/penal detention- a place for political prisoners, repress opposition

3. Create/develop a system that creates a social class of criminals

4. Internal surveillance

5. Harass citizen groups

6. Control the press

7. Target key individuals

8. To think different or to disagree equals betrayal or treachery

9. Suspend rule of law

The role of the police

The role of police is to enforce the class, racial, sexual, and cultural oppression that has been an integral part of the development of capitalism in America. As long as this function remains, any strengthening of the powers of the police, any movement toward greater efficiency or sophistication in their methods must be seen as inherently contrary to the interests and needs of the majority of the people in this country and in any countries where the U.S police system penetrates. In The 1967 Report of the President's Crime Commission they recognized that "The police did not create and cannot resolve the social conditions that stimulate crime", and "our economy is not geared to provide criminals with jobs"

Origin of police in America

The earliest form of the modern American police lies in the southern slave patrols. Since slaves were the dominant mode of production and the plantation owners ruled the legislature of each southern state they came up with the slave codes in 1712. The slave codes provided brutal slave patrols, protected plantation owners property rights in human beings and in held slaves despite their chattel status, legally responsible for misdemeanors and felonies. The patrols, usually consisting of 3 armed men on horse back covering a beat of 15 square miles , were charged with maintaining discipline, catching runaway slaves, preventing slave insurrections, and enforcing laws on slave literacy trade and gambling. Although the law called on all White males to perform patrol services, the large owners usually paid fines or hired substitutes, leaving patrolling to the landless or small land holding whites. These whites hated the owners who controlled the best land and access to markets, almost as much as the slaves. The slaves resisted the patrollers with warning system and ambushes. When the slave rebellions reached its peak in 1811, the state militia and regular army supplemented the slave patrols. Policing in its earliest years, developed as a planter class strategy of race and class control, designed both to keep the Black slaves conquered and controlled and to make more violent and severe the contradictions between Black slaves and poor Whites. After the Civil war the slave codes reestablished policing practices changing "slave patrols" into "police stations". In the North and West, Native Americans who inhabited the desired land posed the first police problems. In the large cities like Philly, NY, Boston, and Baltimore the growing number of merchants, lawyer, wealthy urban class, and political leaders established night watches, paid for by the city to guard their warehouses and homes recruited from the class least involved in productive labor. If this is the origin of the Police, how can we expect justice or be mad or surprised out the outcomes. To make matters worse, Police weren't fully integrated until the 60’s-70’s when they needed more color on staff in order to infiltrate the new emerging groups like The American Indian Movement, Young Lords, Brown Berets, and the Black Panthers. You’re offered a job opportunity at the expense of your community and people.

On the low I think about this topic every other day, if not everyday, based on my upbringing and my collective history/memory/legacy. I think about why it is like this, how did it start and what are the possible solutions? Is a police-less society in capitalist America realistic? Do we create community police system using the same districting as the city council since most police don't live where they police? What I do know is what's in place is not working from my perspective. As well as how we respond to the issues of police brutality as a community. It's hard to get someone involved with prosecuting the police if they haven't been abused themselves. People are aware of the problems yet want no parts of it for fear of harassment. Unfortunately, people get involved after someone has been beat, shot or killed. So there's no proactive strategy in place. We usually have the knee jerk reaction to hold a press conference or a protest, when those tactics by themselves haven't been effective in 40 years. What ever the plans are, they need to have a multi tiered approach. Something aimed at visible decision makers that can shape political agendas and policies, while shaping peoples understanding of the issues and how it affects them providing possibilities and visions for change. The point of any one campaign is not just to win the specific demands, but in the course of the campaign to develop political consciousness and a sense of solidarity amongst the people involved so that we can advance toward bigger demands and broader change. Something that combines the traditional organizing, popular education, and Action education approach. Something that could engage people in action around power, develop a critical consciousness for social transformation that combines structural analysis and strategic action to shift power to advance social justice. This topic was inspired by the events taking place with Jason Yang, Fong Lee, Tycel Nelson, Abuka, Courtney Williams, and countless others.

Written By I Self Devine FACEBOOK TWITTER


7 Responses

malcolm x moody jr
malcolm x moody jr

February 14, 2011

i appreciate your comments and perspective yet have a few comments to say in responce: how to respond. brad i find it rather inappropraite to personally attack the man for sharing his feelings and ideals on a subject. if you diss agree stat your argument but resorting to personal attacks ussually shows the weakness in one argument. i wonder if you even read the intire article or just skimmed through it. you are correct that every cop is not a corrupt biggot harrassing every black person the come across, but the few cops you know are not the mojority and still represent the larger power structure that is oppressive. one incident of being mugged by “minorities” is not an eaquel comparison to the systematic weight of oppression placed apon the shoulders of the poor. also the vicseral reaction of witnessing injustice as stated in the “would have to kill every cop” is followed by a statement that says this logic is faulty, unreasonalble and unlogical but the feeling is relevent and this may not be able to be understood by a person who has never been spit on, beatin over the head with a steal flash light or witness friends or loved ones killed by police officers or any one for that matter. the natural human responce to violence is self preservation if you feel you are under attack it is only natural to respond in kind. I dont know if there is anything that would grant you understanding other then to review the history un-biasedly to have an ounce of empathy and get over yourself and place your self in the shoes of another person. maybe by know the fog of the liquid courage and the proceeding hang over have worn off and you can look at the information presented with a fresh set of eyes.
a few qoutes to think of:
civil disobediance- the diliberate violation if the law for social purpose

the most important rule in education is that every premise must be examined. and here the unexamined and unspoken premise is that the law is right, and by implication, just and even moral. this can only be asserted with out discussion and carful consideration of the complicated relationship between law and justice, power and oppression, money and curruption- harper collins with my own little twist

absolute obidience to the law may bring order for a while for a few, but it may not bring justice. and when it does not those treated unjustly may protest, may rebel, may cause disorder as the american revolutionaries didin the 18th century, as antislavery people did in the 19th century and as working people going on strike have done in every country across the centuries.- howard zinn

“so what do i say to that dead cops wife cops kill my people every day thats life” -talib

malcolm x moody jr
malcolm x moody jr

February 14, 2011

i appreciate your comments and perspective yet have a few comments to say in responce: how to respond. brad i find it rather inappropraite to personally attack the man for sharing his feelings and ideals on a subject. if you diss agree stat your argument but resorting to personal attacks ussually shows the weakness in one argument. i wonder if you even read the intire article or just skimmed through it. you are correct that every cop is not a corrupt biggot harrassing every black person the come across, but the few cops you know are not the mojority and still represent the larger power structure that is oppressive. one incident of being mugged by “minorities” is not an eaquel comparison to the systematic weight of oppression placed apon the shoulders of the poor. also the vicseral reaction of witnessing injustice as stated in the “would have to kill every cop” is followed by a statement that says this logic is faulty, unreasonalble and unlogical but the feeling is relevent and this may not be able to be understood by a person who has never been spit on, beatin over the head with a steal flash light or witness friends or loved ones killed by police officers or any one for that matter. the natural human responce to violence is self preservation if you feel you are under attack it is only natural to respond in kind. I dont know if there is anything that would grant you understanding other then to review the history un-biasedly to have an ounce of empathy and get over yourself and place your self in the shoes of another person. maybe by know the fog of the liquid courage and the proceeding hang over have worn off and you can look at the information presented with a fresh set of eyes.
a few qoutes to think of:
civil disobediance- the diliberate violation if the law for social purpose

the most important rule in education is that every premise must be examined. and here the unexamined and unspoken premise is that the law is right, and by implication, just and even moral. this can only be asserted with out discussion and carful consideration of the complicated relationship between law and justice, power and oppression, money and curruption- harper collins with my own little twist

absolute obidience to the law may bring order for a while for a few, but it may not bring justice. and when it does not those treated unjustly may protest, may rebel, may cause disorder as the american revolutionaries didin the 18th century, as antislavery people did in the 19th century and as working people going on strike have done in every country across the centuries.- howard zinn

“so what do i say to that dead cops wife cops kill my people every day thats life” -talib

brad55418
brad55418

December 18, 2010

Wow, you are so misguided, and ignorant..

“I would have to kill every cop to achieve justice..”

“I was angry at the Rodney King verdict and mad I wasn’t present to channel my outrage” You mean ruin other people's property and steal things that weren't yours? There's some reasonable debate about what was happening., but let's not overlook the plain ol' selfish looting and destruction that took place..

But I digress… Say what you want, vent your frustration, whatever… But be honest with yourself. Your blanket hatred for cops is just as ignorant as some racist guy who says that all minorities are horrible because he and his friends got mugged by minorities.

I personally know a few cops who are salt of the earth, honest, do-gooder types who really believe in truth and justice. Unless I'm misinterpreting, you would feel some kind of justice if they were killed? Get over yourself.

Do some research on the victim mindset. You have it. While it might make you feel some instant gratification and it might be a convenient identity for your marketing and business purposes, it definitely won't help you or all of the people you promote it to in the long run.

I hope you calmed down after writing all of that and are willing to open up your perspective a bit. Best of luck..

brad55418
brad55418

December 18, 2010

Wow, you are so misguided, and ignorant about this..

“I would have to kill every cop to achieve justice..”

“I was angry at the Rodney King verdict and mad I wasn’t present to channel my outrage” You mean ruin other people's property and steal things that weren't yours? There's some reasonable debate about what was happening., but let's not overlook the plain ol' selfish looting and destruction that took place..

But I digress… Say what you want, vent your frustration, whatever… But be honest with yourself. Your blanket hatred for cops is just as ignorant as some racist guy who says that all minorities are horrible because he and his friends got mugged by minorities. You've seen and heard some injustices = all cops are bad. Faulty logic, sorry. Yes, there are problems, and yes, there are solutions needed, but you are just fishing for anecdotes to feed your hate.

I personally know a few cops who are salt of the earth, honest, do-gooder types who really believe in truth and justice. Unless I'm misinterpreting, you would feel some kind of justice if they were killed? Get over yourself.

Do some research on the victim mindset. You have it. While it might make you feel some instant gratification and it might be a convenient identity for your marketing and business purposes, it definitely won't help you or all of the people you promote it to in the long run.

I hope you calmed down after writing all of that and are willing to open up your perspective a bit. Best of luck..

I enjoy the music and perspective that I gain from the artists affiliated with this site, and in that same spirit of artistic freedom, I hope my response isn't flatly censored and rejected without at least a moment of thoughtful consideration.

…but I've been drinking all night.

lilmalcolmx
lilmalcolmx

December 10, 2010

dido to what they all say very insightful informative and engaging as are all my interactions with you stay up and i cant wait for that music to drop very interested in hearing your new project peace

mcarlson12
mcarlson12

December 17, 2010

Can't speak for being poor or black as I am neither. I have experienced police abusing their power and even spent a night in jail because of it. There was a big fight outside of a bar and I pulled my friend out of it. When the police arrived, I approached them to inform them of where an injured person was so they could assist. I was maced.

When I tried to get a badge number, I was maced again, put in cuffs and put into the back of the car. My friend protested and she was given the same treatment. On the way to the station, the cop pulled over, put his knee on my head and maced me for an extended period of time.

It was so thick in the car that they had to pull over and one of the officers threw up on the side of the road. I spent the night in jail, challenged the charges, beat them and attempted to retaliate in a legal way. No one would assist, Internal Affairs just asked me to fill out a bullshit report and no lawyer would touch the case.

Beating the charges is not justice. Years later I'm still fuckin pissed off about it. I saw the cop earlier this year. Funny thing was I didn't recognize him until he opened his mouth and his cocky fuckin arrogance gave him away. My blood boiled and I wanted to jump him in the alley.

I didn't of course, but that one incident makes me not like cops for the rest of my life. I can't even imagine what you must feel growing up seeing that shit all the time. I definately can't hold those feelings against you…

M

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December 06, 2010

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alicia Steele, I Self Devine. I Self Devine said: New Blog post http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/reports-from-the-field-police-and-their-role-in-society-by-i-self-devinereporr/ […]

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