History shows that racist policing has been around for at least 100 years in America. In 1919, the state militia was called in on the South Side of Chicago during race riots going on in the city.
Racist Policing in America
Police brutality and violence is nothing new in America. It has been around for more than 100 years, but current events have ignited an awakening of injustice. The recent death of George Floyd and other black Americans has led to the Black Lives Matter movement and thousands of protests across the country.
To understand the history of police violence in America, it’s important to look at past events. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune published in 1919, when race riots broke out on the South Side of Chicago, the state militia was called to the scene. As a result, many people were injured by police officers who used violent tactics to control the riots.
In a recent book written by Khalil Muhammad, The Condemnation of Blackness, the author talks about systemic racism that has existed in American since the times of slavery. He says it can be found within the criminal justice system, federal and state governments, law enforcement agencies, and every day walks of life. The book points out a vicious cycle in American history that started a century ago, when black people were arrested to prevent them from exercising their rights under the Fourth Amendment.
In 1919, a 17-year-old black boy, Eugene Williams, was stoned to death by white people after he swam into what they deemed to be the wrong part of Lake Michigan. In response, black people in Chicago started protests, and white people attacked them, resulting in over 500 people injured and 38 people killed. Afterward, the city convened a commission to study the causes of the violence.
History shows that forms of racist policing and violence existed as far back as the 1600s when America was a British colony. White citizens of towns and cities developed a watchmen system where organized patrols would try to prevent crimes and maintain order as the slave population increased. Now 100 years later, racist policing in America has once again ignited national debates on racism and police brutality against blacks. In Minnesota, felony lawyers provide criminal defense for many innocent people arrested and charged with crimes. In many cases, defendants are acquitted due to misidentification, lack of evidence, and police coercion.