I come from a state that has a really large, militarized police presence. The police where I am from are probably a lot different than the ones you're used to, and know. They have a lot of power, a lot of wealth, and they patrol every street corner, have cameras on every street, drive around in tanks, and haunt the skies with helicopters.
I've personally been singled out and targeted by police, due to the color of my skin. I didn't imagine it, and it has happened to me more than once. I come from a very diverse place, no less - a place where there are a lot of minority people who are just like me - who are afraid of the police, because the police are not there to protect us, and at times, do not even pretend to be protectors.
I wanted to vent, in part, but also to share my feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement, and maybe explain why I think their concerns are legitimate.
In the United States, we have many different kinds of police officers. In small communities, your police might be truly excellent. It doesn't make any sense to reduce funds for a small police force, patrolling a neighborhood in which they live.
But the police force here, where I live, has a budget that is about as large as the combined Swedish armed forces, with as many personnel. It has a navy larger than half the world's navies.
And it gets that money, in part, by squeezing the people. The police union is outrageously powerful where I live. There is almost no accountability for their actions. And unlike your police force, perhaps, it is not local people patrolling local streets. It is outsiders, who have no attachment to our neighborhoods, and thereby little sympathy for our neighbors.
I don't ask for you to change your mind, when people say "defund the police." But keep in mind, the police where I live aren't held accountable for their actions. The police where I live are always shooting innocents, always taking money through innocent, uninvolved people through civil forfeiture, and constantly violating people's rights.
The anger on the streets, and in the hearts of the people here, is real. It is very palpable. And I think, Black Lives Matter has been a really large net positive in my community, for how it has opened a dialogue between my community, my neighbors, and the police. Post too long. Click here to view the full text.