In the month leading up to the general election last week, the New York Police Department prepared the mass upheaval. Top Messing agreed to uniformed officers prepare Curb unrest after “one of the most competitive presidential elections of modern times”. A tactical squad staged Amped-up training Exercises to prepare for the ubiquitous destruction of property. According to a spokesman for the NYPD, the department has even prepared to “Freeze areas of Manhattan“For car and pedestrian traffic” should lead to widespread looting.
The post-election riots the NYPD had expected never happened. Donald Trump’s attempted coup appeared to have failed, and New York did not experience any significant electoral irregularities or voting dramas, so city residents saw no need for it that kind of escalation. But the cops were still controlling as if they were. During the three days between election day and the announcement of Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, tank officers persecuted and harassed organized protest marches and celebrations on several occasions water heater Protesters who spark confrontations and make violent arrests.
“It was just a march … there was no point making arrests,” said Tameer Peak, who was among more than 50 demonstrators arrested in Manhattan on November 4th. Arrests were “definitely the plan,” he said. “It was just run and catch and grab.”
The protests in New York City contrasted sharply with the celebrations that took place across the country on Saturday as activists and marginalized communities had passed the past few months continued violence by the police were accompanied on the streets by white liberals, who were delighted to hear Trump’s news of Trump’s defeat being declared and almost no confrontations with the police. Since those celebrations, cop aggression at New York demonstrations has already been resumed.
The dynamic reinforces an argument often made by Black Lives Matter protesters: While Trump’s defeat is a necessity, it does not represent a fundamental change in the face of the fight against institutions of authoritarian oppression in the US, particularly the police.
IIn New York City on the night after election day, when the Trump campaign made its sloppy attempts to prevent the counting of a few postal ballots, two separate marches demanding that election officials “count any vote” rallied several hundred protesters . They also attracted a comparable number of riot police and body armored bicycle policemen– Part of the tactical team that trained for post-election rioting.
The NYPD has made it sound like officials made arrests after protesters set rubbish on fire on one of the marches. Some protesters claim the fires were real started after Police took the first protesters into custody, and witnesses claim that both marches ended violently shortly after they began as police pushed and chained nonviolent protesters and looked for small interactions justify Shutdowns and arrests. The NYPD later characterized the situation as a case of “people trying to kidnap a peaceful protest” – but the police still got on both groups and eventually caught them on the street with no way out tackle, Beatings, and Towing several protesters and more than 50 arrested.
Peak was taken into custody while trying to film arrests on Instagram Live. Cops wanted to take his cell phone, he said, and when he tried to get them to wait when he saved the video, they attacked him. “I could feel her knees on my back,” he said. They withdrew his arm, which had been injured in an encounter with the police the week before. “I just started screaming.”
Videos of the November 4 arrests prompted an associate director of Human Rights Watch to do so call the city conduct an immediate investigation and compare the incident to a brutal mass arrest incident that occurred in the Bronx in early June found the organization was “intentional, planned and unjustified”.
The following evening, at a trans rights march that gathered at the Stonewall Inn – a celebration and protest that black trans activists have held every month for months without incident – the same line of police officers popped up. They watched and overcrowded the demonstration for hours and picked up more than a dozen protesters, including one of the Stonewall leaders who it was caught in a crush after cops started attacking people around them.
The Stonewall March finally made its way to a park. At this point, most of the crowd was going home or waiting outside NYPD headquarters (where they were again harassed by police) for the detainees to be released. But a few dozen stayed and eventually trickled onto a bike path to yell at the hundreds of police officers who were watching them from across the street to leave them alone. The police played a recorded announcement over a loudspeaker that New York demonstrators had gotten to know well: “Please note that pedestrians are not allowed on the street. Pedestrians are also prohibited from blocking sidewalks. If you illegally obstruct pedestrian traffic or walk on the street or street, you may be arrested and charged with disorderly behavior. “Although there was traffic between the two groups, the police attacked so many protesters that they are barely visible on video.
Finally, a group of young people took to the streets on Friday night to celebrate Trump’s impending election loss. The march had the feel of a high school dance party – complete with ’80s pop and one Stop to do the cha-cha slide– with the same horde of police officers who again appeared to outnumber the demonstrators and acted as their aggressive armored companions. Although the NYPD opted not to make arrests during the march, some riot police returned to the park where it had started closing down the area later that night swing their batons in young people and arrest somebody the NWAs “Fuck tha Police” was playing over a loudspeaker.
IThe circumstances of an over-police force after election day took place elsewhere. In Portland, Ore., The epicenter of militarized policing during the ongoing protest movement, Governor Kate Brown activated the National Guardwho rolled into town in Humvees to break up a single group of 100-300 protesters, some of whom had broken windows.
And in Minneapolis, police detained a protest group, including children and the elderly, on a freeway for about five hours and arrested the entire demonstration –646 people– without warning the protesters or giving them the opportunity to leave.
“The police tried to anger people…. They were looking for an excuse to defeat us, ”said Jae Yates, an organizer for the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, who helped organize the action.
Protesters from Minneapolis described the protest as some in New York did solemn and non-violentThis confirms the activists’ belief that police officers will take action against protests that are critical of the police as often as they can, regardless of the context.
“For those of us who were active during the uprising [over the summer]We’d seen this level brutal before, ”said Yates. “We just hadn’t seen it on this scale.”
And these activists recognize that for the time being, elections are not ready to change that.
“We can acknowledge a little relief that Donald Trump is no longer in office,” said Isaac Ortega, who has been taking to the streets in New York since May and witnessed the brutality of the NYPD last week. “We also need a healthy dose of realism.”
“Joe Biden is an Establishment Democrat and Black Lives Matter started out under an Establishment Democrat,” Ortega continued. His election will not materially change the behavior of police officers who “have state legitimacy and are state-sanctioned violence”.
Amid calls across the country to devalue police departments to support other government services, Biden stood up for a promise to keep them $ 300 million in additional federal funds. He was approved by sheriffs, police chiefs, chief prosecutors, and former Homeland Security officials, and has implemented a rhetorically enticing vision of “community police” – a vague concept for which there is No evidence that neighborhoods are getting safer.
Biden’s unwillingness to confront the reality of policing in the United States with his party’s bias: State and local Democrats have routinely provided police coverage and will continue to do so. Portland just re-elected “Tear Gas Ted” Wheeler, Democratic Mayor and Police Commissioner, and Oregon National Guard Governor Brown is also a Democrat. Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Seattle, Philadelphia, los AngelesIn countless other cities, protesters and other residents have been brutalized by the police led by the Democratic Party. And last week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the police when asked about the post-election violent arrests, as he has done since May. “What you see before your eyes is not always the whole story” he said of video evidence of NYPD violence. To avoid this type of repression, he suggested that demonstrators could coordinate their actions with the police.
“De Blasio is full of shit,” said Peak. “The cops literally attack and are violent and bellicose towards protesters. … We get arrested, we get records, we get broken armsand we can’t even defend ourselves. ”
And the presidential elections won’t change that. “Trump is one Problem, but it isn’t the Problem, ”Peak continued. “The problem is the system itself in its entirety.”
ÖOn Saturday night, when Biden’s victory celebrations took place throughout the day, a group of activists gathered in New York City – many of whom had witnessed police action earlier in the week – for their own post-election rally. They reaffirmed their long-term vision of abolishing the police; They called for the dismantling of the immigration and customs authorities. they celebrated the defeat of Trump; and they rejected the author of the Crime Act and deputy “Deporter in Chief” Biden as their savior. To counter the mass exhibitions of liberal patriotism that had taken place that day, they burned an American flag.
“Black people are still at risk in this country,” one of the organizers of the Stonewall March said into a megaphone. “Let’s be very honest. … We have to understand that the work will never stop until [we] are free.”
Von Biden’s election “is a return to the status quo,” Ortega said. “And the status quo is the surveillance and overdrafting of black bodies, disregard for indigenous rights, US imperialism abroad and the cruel immigration policies that keep families apart. So no, the fight doesn’t stop. ”