In a Friday New York Times op-ed, anti-police activist Mariame Kaba advocates for completely and literally abolishing police departments immediately because of the long-term harm they have caused black people. “Yes, we mean literally abolish the police,” Kaba wrote.
“Congressional Democrats want to make it easier to identify and prosecute police misconduct; Joe Biden wants to give police departments $300 million. But efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century. Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police,” Kaba opined.
Kaba said there was “not a single era” in U.S. history when law enforcement was not a “force of violence against black people” dating back to slavery. “When you see a police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck until he dies, that’s the logical result of policing in America from officers who believe it’s ‘his job.’ The first thing to point out is that police officers don’t do what you think they do. They spend most of their time responding to noise complaints, issuing parking and traffic citations, and dealing with other noncriminal issues. We can’t simply change their job descriptions to focus on the worst of the worst criminals. That’s not what they are set up to do…fewer police officers equals fewer opportunities for them to brutalize and kill people.”
Kaba pressed her point: “Why on earth would we think the same reforms would work now? We need to change our demands. The surest way of reducing police violence is to reduce the power of the police, by cutting budgets and the number of officers…We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them obsolete.”
She would instead fund “health care, housing, education and good jobs,” explaining that would lead to a lesser “need for the police in the first place” and that “community care workers” can “do mental-health checks” for people who need assistance. “When people, especially white people, consider a world without the police, they envision a society as violent as our current one, merely without law enforcement — and they shudder. People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation… When the streets calm and people suggest once again that we hire more black police officers or create more civilian review boards, I hope that we remember all the times those efforts have failed.” Conservatives disagreed with her analysis and showcased what the paper made clear by her statements.
“The @NYTimes just told us the truth and that ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and droves of other liberal media outlets were lying when they said not to think that they’re saying all police need to go,” NewsBusters editor Curtis Houck tweeted.
The @NYTimes just told us the truth and that ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and droves of other liberal media outlets were lying when they said not to think that they're saying all police need to go https://t.co/gHaYCNVzTg
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 12, 2020
Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross tweeted, “This NYT op-ed would put far more people in danger than Tom Cotton’s NYT op-ed.”
This NYT op-ed would put far more people in danger than Tom Cotton’s NYT op-ed. https://t.co/5gvpSeMEpT
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 12, 2020
New York Magazine columnist Josh Barro wrote, “This op-ed does not address how serious crime *would* be addressed under police abolition, except to say more social services would reduce crime and that towns could have restorative-justice models. I don’t get people acting like this is a side question.”
This op-ed does not address how serious crime *would* be addressed under police abolition, except to say more social services would reduce crime and that towns could have restorative-justice models. I don’t get people acting like this is a side question. https://t.co/5XcwGp1KEN
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 13, 2020