Before reading the text below, please see this post and this post for context. I [Valéria] am not the author of the italicized text below. The author is Sara, aka @Vipondalicious on Twitter. Any and all questions or comments about this particular piece should be directed to Sara. Thank you. -VMS
It is obvious that the police are not on St. Louis’ streets to protect the community from potentially dangerous situations. It is obvious by both the actions they’ve taken and those they haven’t.
When the police were outnumbered near Grand and Hartford, when the second, angrier, more provocative protest had formed and begun marching, they did nothing to calm the situation down. They didn’t try to engage with the protesters, hear their complaints, or talk about their own experiences as police officers. They didn’t try to keep everyone cool, the way the clergy woman and so many others did at MoKaBe’s. They set their jaws and allowed themselves to become outnumbered and provoked so they could call for reinforcements and bring out their toys.
And when their toys were out, all bets were off. Can’t pull ’em out and then not play with them, right? For nearly two hours, the police assaulted the people in MoKaBe’s. They used a chemical agent that is BANNED IN WAR to trap civilians inside a building. Twice. They gassed official safe houses. A group of them dragged a passerby off the sidewalk, leaving terrified people yelling, “What’s your name? What’s your name?” after him.
The people who were at MoKaBe’s in the spirit of solidarity could not have represented less of a threat to the police that evening. They were compliant. They were non-violent. They were unarmed. They weren’t on the move. They were on private property at the invitation of the owner.
You can not commit violence against a gathering of people and expect everyone not to panic. You can not assault unarmed civilians and expect people not to be angry about it. You can not use weapons on residential streets and expect people to feel safe. If you have these expectations, then you are not rational. And is this the behavior that we expect of our law enforcement and state security personnel?
If our civil servants cannot conduct themselves with civility towards civilians, then we quite literally can not call our society civilized. [They] are the savages, the brutes, the thugs that [they] accuse [us] of being. [They] are the mindlessly violent criminals. Our calls for peace are a farce.