There’s a popular liberal myth that claims that individual cops can be good. This claim is rooted in white supremacist mythology that suggests racism is an individual act committed by anybody. First and foremost, policing is not a question of individualism. It is not as if a random individual gets a gun, a badge, a police car, and a blue uniform. The police are a highly organized institution with systemic power. In order to understand any institution, it is important you start with the history of that institution, the institution of modern day policing evolved from the slave patrol system.
Enslaved Black bodies were the foundation of the american economy, as enslaved Africans were more valuable than america’s industrial capital combined. Many Black people attempted and successfully ran away from slave masters, which made the white ruling class lose money. This led to the creation of the police. Their motto was to serve and protect, not citizens, but the institution of slavery. This fueled the american settler colonial empire, and subsequently boosted the capitalist economy.
While the role of police/policing during chattel slavery was to protect the “property” of white slave-owning land stealers, the system evolved. Shortly after the “abolishment” of chattel slavery, the 13th amendment institutionalized slavery through the federal government. The police transformed into the gatekeepers of the prison slavery industry. A system that enslaves Black men at a higher amount than chattel slavery, and advocates for the criminalization of Black women and girls. The more bodies in prison the more potential for exploited labor and disenfranchisement.
The police also serve as a neo-colonial paramilitary force that protects and promotes the white capitalists interests. A prime example of this neo-colonial force was at Standing Rock. The u.s. government authorized police to forcibly remove indigenous people from their land. All of this violence was done in the name of an oil pipeline that donald trump is invested in.
To suggest that there are good cops is like saying there’s good slave patrols or good colonizers. It acts as if policing is an individual act that isn’t a product of racial capitalism. A cop might have “good intentions”, but these good intentions don’t change the fact that they are a part of a system that is rooted in anti-Blackness. These “good intentions” don’t change the fact that the system they work for criminalizes the whole Black community. I am anti-police not just anti-police brutality. If you are only “anti-police brutality” you are simply saying that you think slave patrols are good just as long as the slave patrols doesn’t beat anybody.
The police must be abolished if police brutality is to end. There’s no such thing as reforming a system of policing that was founded on slave-catching. Every branch of the u.s government supports the institution of police which is why the entire system must be removed. Now, some might argue that abolishing the police will create more “crime”. The entire idea of crime is a racialized profit scheme (but that’s another article). I want you to imagine a world in which a $100 billion every year isn’t spent on the police. $100 billion dollars could fund the college education of every “american”.
$100 billion dollars could feed every person in this country. $100 billion dollars could make sure everyone has the right to clean water. $100 billion dollars could make sure that every person had adequate health care. We must abolish capitalism, as capitalism places human life in cell blocks and uses slave labor to expand the american colonial project.