The Police Cannot Be Reformed

After George Floyd’s murder and the protests that have followed across the country, many people are discussing how the police can be reformed so that Black lives aren’t destroyed again and again.

This is an old discussion. From the Civil Rights movement on, cities have introduced “police officer bias training” and “police oversight” boards staffed by civilians. Minneapolis already had civilian oversight, but police continue to brutalize people of color, especially Black people, on a daily basis. So is there any way to reform the police to stop them from committing racist violence?

The police are and have always been the tool of the capitalist class to protect property. Their job is to make sure that a system based in inequality, the capitalist system, continues to run smoothly despite the fact that it is a system that exploits and neglects people. To do their job, police harass poor people on a daily basis, and more often than not this means white police terrorizing poor communities of color.

Racism is in the job description of the police as enforcers of inequality. How can any oversight change that fact? As long as the capitalist system of exploitation continues to exist, it will use violence and racism to back it up. We need to rip up this system by its roots and send its police enforcers packing.

Featured image credit: Scott Olson