Police brutality and misconduct have been a focal point of global discussion for the last several years. Despite the public outrage, police continue unabated, as though violence is just another part of the day. While some cases of police violence directed toward the public have been brought to light – with some officers punished – the underlying problems persist. It is easy to feel frustrated in a world gone mad, with many wanting to help, but not knowing how. Here’s our list of the five ways you can peacefully protest police violence.
The voice of the people can be spoken in many ways. The one that garnishes the most attention these days is the one on the street, protesting. There is a distinct difference between protesting and rioting. Protest is what the concepts of democracy and freedom were built upon – the right to peacefully assemble, to tell the powers-that-be that things are not okay. Unfortunately, all too often, we have seen peaceful protests turn violent. Taking a stand while remaining peaceful, displays to the world what the power of unity can actually accomplish.
Film the Police
It is unfortunate that we have seen over and over again, innocent bystanders arrested for doing nothing more than film the police. No matter where you are, you have a lawful right to film public safety officers in public. The Supreme court has upheld the right to film, as an exercise of the first Amendment. Those who are arrested will typically find their charges dismissed, and a civil rights violation law suit on their hands. Always keep a safe distance so a cop could never articulate that you “interfered” with his “investigation.” If it were not for the brave men and women who dared capture the police with their iPhones, we would never know about Eric Garner, Alton Sterling or the dozens of other names of men, women and children killed in recent years.
Attend Council Meetings
Everyone has the opportunity to attend their local city and county commission meetings. This is where immediate change happens. Keep up with the police in your town. Track the names of cops who keep turning up in internal affairs or complaint reports. The police will never bring their dirt to the city council, unless they absolutely have to. In this way, it’s up to us to know who is patrolling our streets. Since no one else will, it is also up to us to expose the bad apples. Petitioning city councils has successfully forced the resignation of police commissioners and police chiefs alike, time and again.
None of us are alone in our struggle. Our voices can best be heard when spoken together. Social media has made the seeking out and participating in local groups much easier than in the past. Organize, plan and leap into action. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, either. People have organized and protested the powers-that-be for centuries. Come up with strategies and assign tasks. Working together is the best mechanism for change.
Vote in Local Elections
While we’re all discouraged with voting at the national level, there is still hope for our individual communities. The power to pick those in charge is still a valuable tool in the quest for change. Voting in local and state elections can have a significant impact on our day to day life. Voting out politicians who support archaic drug policies, which target minority communities, is a start. Find out who the people are, who want to look over your shoulder. Know who will crack down on police violence and treat it like the problem it is. Know who will increase revenues by relying on policing for profit. Local politicians have the most impact on your life, and are also subject to the power of your vote.
Sources: Huffington Post
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