Jajuan R. Henderson became paralyzed after being shot by New Jersey police on Feb. 12, according to NBC News. Recently, Henderson filed a civil suit against the Trenton Police Department for using excessive force, negligence and racial profiling.
On the night of the incident, Henderson was attempting to get a drink out of his car, which was parked in front of his home. Then a group of men with masks and dark clothing got out of their unidentified vehicle and started to approach and yell at him.
Henderson tried to use his phone to call for help, but he was unsuccessful. One of the masked men smashed his car window, and then Henderson was shot four times. One of the shots left him paralyzed from the chest down. He would later find out the masked men were police officers.
Henderson being essentially attacked by plainclothes officers shows a never-ending pattern of disregard for Black and brown lives by police officers. This abuse of power by the police leaves marginalized people to not trust the people whose duty it is to protect and serve them. Some are even afraid to call the police when there is danger or trouble.
The entire system of policing has to be dismantled.
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Police departments all over the nation have adopted the motto “protect and serve,” which is usually about protecting and serving people. However, this doesn’t appear to accurately reflect the historic purposes of the police.
According to Time, the creation of police forces, especially in the south, was centered on the preservation of slavery through slave patrols. Modern-day policing can be traced back to slave patrolling.
The goal of slave patrolling was to put an end to slave uprisings by apprehending runaway slaves and returning them to their owners. Slave patrollers used similar tactics that are used today, such as excessive force.
Just as slave patrolling was driven by the preservation of white supremacy, the same can be said for modern-day policing.
People may think times have changed, but have they?
Modern-day policing and the criminal justice system, in general, have a large number of racial disparities and bias that continues to disproportionately affect Black people today.
Black and brown communities are over-policed with constant surveillance, and those communities are disproportionately victims of police violence. In 2019, 54% of the people who died as a result of police violence or brutality were Black or people of color, according to US News.
There have been many attempts to reform policing, and they continue to be unsuccessful.
If almost every attempt at police reform has continuously failed, this means there has to be another solution.
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Reforms will only place band-aids on the systemic issues with policing. There will never be real change within society until the entire system is dismantled.
Once the system of policing is dismantled there will be no “alternatives” or any new form of policing. The word police will no longer exist because it will no longer be integrated into society. Police will sound like a foreign language. No one would feel frightened, angry, or saddened by it. No one will think about the harm police inflict on marginalized communities. There will continue to be victims of police violence and general harm until the police are gone.
However, once police no longer exist the funds that were allocated to them would be put into social programs for the advancement of underfunded communities and general society. This would include affordable housing, accessible and better health care, food access, resources for schools, as well as mental health resources. This would be an idea of what the world would look like without police.
Dismantling policing is essential for the safety, security and well-being of Black and Brown lives. This is so that Black and Brown children will grow up in a world where they no longer worry about the police.