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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: South Bay | U.S. | Racial Justice
The Black Lives Matter Movement Needs to Embrace Civil Disobedience
The American public should be in support of mandatory minimum sentences for police officers who commit acts of brutality, that led to serious injury or death, due to racial motivations. However, reacting to violence with violence, will not garner the good graces of the majority of the public, therefore civil disobedience must be urged by leaders of the Black Lives Movement to change the media narrative that the group is a violent organization with leaders that seek violence to continue.
In the wake of the recent racial violence in various parts of the country, such as Dallas, Texas and in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I urge people who are supportive of or directly involved with Black Lives Matter, and other fringe groups, to not continue to retaliate with violence. Rather we need to be more akin to Martin Luther King, to use civil disobedience to have mandatory minimum sentences for police officers who kill civilians, who show evidence of performing the killing(s) due to inherent racist motivations and those officers who unjustly kill civilians who are unarmed.
The author of the article, “In Support of Baltimore: Or; Smashing Police Cars is Logical Political Strategy,” claims that non-violent protests are ineffective in garnering the attention of the “privileged” ruling class. Which leads me to ask, would this author potentially claim we should resort to violence in regards to abortion rights issues, gun rights, environmental issues, and instances of police brutality against non-African American individuals? This call to violence for Black Lives Matter is a naïve viewpoint that will just lead to chaos and the degradation of the value of life for those who seek vigilante forms of justice.
Look at the history of the civil rights movement to see which methodology is more effective. Martin Luther King, Jr., was able to inspire millions through civil disobedience and was able to bring hundreds of thousands to DC to the March for Jobs and Freedom. Neither Malcolm X, nor the Black Panthers, inspired the masses to the level that MLK did because using violence to react to violence is not humble nor virtuous.
I do believe that all lives always matter and that police brutality against civilians, of any race, is a serious issue that must be addressed. Which leads me to state that the Black Lives Matter movement needs a leader who resembles MLK, who can draw attention away from the violence; because once more attention is given to peaceful resistance then more individuals will be compelled to use civil disobedience, rather than acts of destruction, to get a more effective message—condemning police brutality—out to national news outlets.
In addition, just as mandatory minimum sentences are applied to individuals who commit crimes, such as certain drug offenses, legislative bodies must consider mandatory minimums for police officers who kill civilians through acts of police brutality. Police and prosecutors work closely together, within the American judicial system, and I believe mandatory minimum sentences are necessary for police officers who kill others after acts of police brutality, in order to prevent police officers who commit such acts from obtaining lighter sentences than they deserve to have.
Government has a duty to protect life, liberty, and property, and civilians need to be protected by government officials who abuse the trust of the public by committing acts of police brutality. Therefore, by implementing mandatory minimum sentences for police who kill civilians through acts of excessive force, governing bodies will demonstrate that not just black lives matter but that all lives matter. Rioting will not result in mandatory minimum sentencing laws, due to the fact most politicians will not respond to acts of violence with an inconsistent message. Rather, acts of peaceful civil disobedience and persistent lobbying of state and federal level legislators will allow mandatory sentence laws, oriented towards police officers who commit racially motivated acts of police brutality, to be implemented in the future.