‘Comply’ or Die Anyway: White Supremacy Is Killing Us
This week has been an extraordinarily traumatizing week for democracy-ish: “Three stories of police violence and incompetence in one week,” says Toure.
The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is still ongoing. But this week, just outside Minneapolis, another police officer shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, at a traffic stop.
This wasn’t the only headline about violence perpetrated by law enforcement against Black people: A video emerged of a Virginia police officer using pepper spray against a Black army lieutenant.
In the midst of all of this trauma, self care has never been more important. Toure and Danielle talk about what they do to stay sane.
It’s been a rough seven days.
“We interrupt our ongoing coverage of a Black man murdered by a police officer to talk about the story of a Black boy murdered by a police officer,” Toure says –– “which followed the story of the release of a videotape of a situation five months ago when a Black army lieutenant just narrowly escaped being murdered by police officers.”
In that incident, Second Lt. Caron Nazario (in uniform, no less) was pepper sprayed by a Virginia police officer at a traffic stop.
“Only his intelligence and calm that he learned in the United States Army allowed him to survive,” Toure adds.
“But Daunte Wright, say his name, was 20 years old. He was a boy. He was murdered by a police officer, Kim Potter, who has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. I was not Nostradamus when I said before the Chauvin trial ends, we will have another one of these.”
He knew this because “it’s the cycle of America.”
After all, it hasn’t even been a year since we were in the streets yelling about Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks and Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor.
“The pain and the trauma of being Black in America is immense,” Toure says. “I continue to feel incredibly exhausted.”
Danielle does too: “The number one illness that is killing us is white supremacy,” she says.
“Because whether you die at the hands of a police officer with a badge or a white vigilante with a grudge, it doesn't f***ing matter.”
Episode Highlights –– Daunte Wright
Death by traffic stop and a ‘traveling Karen’
Toure sees “the modern police force as a traveling Karen, riding around, making sure you’re wearing your seatbelt, have paid your registration, eaten your vegetables ... and didn’t have air freshener hanging from your rearview mirror.”
They’re all excuses to do two things, he adds: “Number one, pull you over for pretty much any reason, so they can search the car for guns and drugs, which allows them to arrest you, seize the car, seize your home and any number of things.”
But they can also impose fines, which is problematic because police officers are responsible for generating revenue for their cities and although “none of it has to do with public safety,” Toure notes, being able to pull anyone over for “bullshit offenses” gives police far too much power.
If an officer suspects someone is driving drunk or otherwise endangering themselves and other citizens, that’s one thing. But, he says, “if you didn’t turn on your blinker for a lane change––”
Danielle interrupts: “And if you're Sandra Bland, you end up dead three days later.”
Citations penalize the poor –– for profit
A big part of the problem, Toure points out, is that officers who want to climb the chain of command must be able to boast about their statistics, like arrests and citations.
Plus, in most places, officers qualify for multiple hours of overtime even if they spend just five minutes in court. That’s a great incentive to write as many tickets as possible.
Danielle thinks the police “have become a for-profit business” which “penalizes the poor and criminalizes poverty in order to keep their lights on.”
But it’s ironic, she says, “that they receive so much fucking federal assistance … for their tanks and their G.I. Joe outfits and their helmets and their pepper spray and all of these fucking things” –– so they “shouldn't need to pull people over.”