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Monday, March 17, 2014

Anti-Cop Protesters Make Cops Look Awesome

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Last Saturday, activists held an "Anti-police brutality march" in Seattle streets. As their Facebook page put it, "Unfortunately, here we are again, another year, another year of police brutality, and no accountability." Which is at least half true. The US Department of Justice pushed the Seattle Police Department into a consent decree in 2012 that requires officers to stop a "pattern or practice" of using excessive force against citizens and stop treating racial minorities poorly. I'm not sure about the stats on excessive force in the last year, but some have no-doubt persisted. And since Ed Murray became mayor this January, the police accountability system under his hand-picked interim chief was revealed as a Keystone Cops farce of officers being punished, having punishments reversed, pointing fingers at others, and then—seriously—losing the paperwork. We've had legit problems with brutality. And we have evidence that there is zero real accountability.

In other words: Seattle has cause to protest.

Several people had asked me last week to march with them. I've been a loud advocate for police reform and I'd complained about a Seattle cop's misconduct last year (the SPD flip-flopped on the case, pointed fingers, etc.). But I didn't plan to attend. I've been to anti-cop marches before—such as one that idolized an alleged cop murderer—and that shit is a liability to its own cause. Well, I'm glad I didn't go, because I ran into the marchers by chance on Saturday evening:


As they hoofed up Broadway, the protesters yelled that they wanted to get rid of all cops. They chanted, "All cops are bastards!" They declared all cops "fascists!" They screamed, "Fuck you, pigs!" Of course, most Seattle cops have never had a misconduct complaint and some cops are excellent peacekeepers. And while some cops are certifiably bastards, not all of them are bastards. This coming from someone who thinks SPD is pretty fucked.

Guess who was also there—guess who politely, calmly escorted the marchers through the rainy streets?


Seattle police officers. They diverted traffic to keep everyone safe. They stayed friendly, cool as cucumbers, while being barraged with insults.

Way to take the high road, SPD. And way to marginalize legitimate police reform with asinine accusations, stupid demands (eliminate all cops?), and tactics that drive away folks who would otherwise agree with you, dipshits. You achieved the opposite of your goal: You made the cops look outstanding.


Comments (30) RSS

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Phoebe in Wallingford 1
Good article. Migra apparently refers to U.S. Customs and ICE.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on March 17, 2014 at 2:47 PM · Report this

Try being a woman in the US walking the streets alone and/or living alone and see how much you don't need the police now and then. This is a dangerous country we live in. This march should have been a march against SPD commanders. Now, THAT one I would have supported.
Posted by mandyv on March 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
unknown_entity 3
Great piece Dominic.
Posted by unknown_entity on March 17, 2014 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Rojo 4
@1 imMIGRAtion services.

"La migra, correle!"("The migra, run!",): a fun little saying we would have as Latino children when spotting an INS vehicle. It was like slug-bug, but you duck in your seat or hide instead hitting your friend.
Posted by Rojo on March 17, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Kinison 5
Surprised they didn't do this on a Wednesday. The majority of protests in Seattle tend to be the way method (block street traffic), same street (usually Broadway & Pine) during the same time of day (evening rush hour).
Posted by Kinison on March 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Provocateurs make cops look good by discrediting legitimate protest against the bad apples.
Posted by neo-realist on March 17, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
schmacky 7
thanks for pointing out the stupidity here. Classic left-wing foot shooting going on here.
Posted by schmacky on March 17, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
No wonder the bicycle cops were in such a good mood on Saturday. Between the minimum-wage march and the anti-cop march, they racked up a hefty amount of overtime.
Posted by Toe Tag on March 17, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this
venomlash 9
Anyone who thinks we'd be better off without the police is welcome to refrain from calling 911 the next time they get into deep doo-doo.

@4: Damn, that's a little messed up.
Posted by venomlash on March 17, 2014 at 3:53 PM · Report this
treacle 10
@6 - Was the march organized or derailed by provocateurs? Or were nearly *all* the marchers chanting "all cops are bastards"? (Which is a stupid, stupid thing to say on its face. It demonstrates a very shallow depth of thought).


Fascism, btw, is a political system more correctly called "corporatism" (by an actual Fascist, Mussolini). It is the merging of state and corporate power. You could accurately call G.W. Bush and Dickhead Cheney 'fascists', probably Obama too. But I'm not willing to call the cops 'fascists'. Cops are tools of the fascists, but they don't necessarily subscribe to the politics of state-corporate power merging themselves, they just do what they're told to do. Just like soldiers. They are pawns.

Anyway, I think of cops' position and impact in society as more of a symptom than a root cause of injustice. If we address the root causes (eg. the actual sources of power), & dismantle or 'aikido' them, while also working to build up a more equitable society, the cops will likely follow the power shift and become more benevolent as we need them to be: "Peace officers", and not well-armed, blue-uniformed mini-soldiers.

I really think all this focus on 'confronting' cops & calling them names is so much wasted energy on the wrong objectives. It also wins very few supporters to this group's cause(s). And I'm a person who wants to evolve a society that doesn't need cops or la Migra.

I want a free Cascadia as well, but I plan to stay quite far away from this group while working to achieve that goal.
Posted by treacle on March 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Ah yes, those dastardly agents provocateurs again. They've been showing up at every single anarchist-organized event in town for years and years now, and yet the organizers still haven't excluded them, or taken the simple step of stopping the march or rally when the hatey provocateuring starts up.
Posted by robotslave on March 17, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this

I wasn't aware that being a woman and outside requires cops' attention all the time.
Posted by The CHZA on March 17, 2014 at 5:12 PM · Report this
Great article and good point!

I cant get behind blind aimless vitriol aimed at police simply for being authority figures. BUT

Being a person of color, or rather I should say being a member of the 'non-preferred' POC's (african americans, darker latinos, pacific islanders, darker natives), I have to say I can empathize with the anger towards law enforcement.

I cannot count how many times Ive been followed, or harassed by police for no other reason than being black and in their sightings. I have no criminal record. I dont commit crimes. I dont even smoke legal pot. Yet by virtue of my skin being dark, a large swath of those charged to protect the public have determined me to either be a criminal, a future criminal, or a likely criminal.

Ive witnessed family members and friends assaulted (one semi sexually) by law enforcement in other states. Ive been physically assaulted by law enforcement twice [note- again, I have no criminal record, committed no crime and after the assault I was let go and told to go home], and have had LE pull their gun on me on 3 separate occasions. One in front of my own home. I would ask readers to try to imagine what it is like living in a nation where merely existing or going out in public will result in you being harassed by members of the state.

And thats the BEST case scenario. The worst case is one of those 'thought I saw a gun' or 'he moved to fast' or 'she was in the car and I thought it would drive towards me' hail of gunfire deaths that hundreds of unarmed blacks and latinos are killed from every year by law enforcement.

Walk in those shoes, and youll understand the frustration all the more.
Posted by araucania on March 17, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Most cops ARE bastards. But shouting that in a march doesn't have any good effect.
Posted by sarah70 on March 17, 2014 at 6:35 PM · Report this
@10 re: fascism = corporatism: have you ever actually read Mussolini, or did you just pick that up off some web site? The sense in which he uses "corporatism" in "Il Fascismo" has little to do with the meaning of that term in present-day America: it refers to something more like guilds that integrate workers, supervisors, managers, and owners within an industry. Not that I at all like fascism, and what it became in power was even uglier that what it pretended to be before obtaining power, but in the early 1920s he was still sort of a syndicalist, though a very odd sort in that he believed in having these "corporations" include owners as well as workers.

I agree that in practice fascism merged state and corporate power, but it is either ignorant or disingenuous to say that when Mussolini made that remark about "corporatism" he meant anything like what that connotes in present-day America.
Posted by Joe in Seattle on March 17, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Rotten666 16
@13 White guy here. I have had a cop pull a gun on me three time in my life. I was once assaulted by police, thrown in jail overnight, and released without any charges for standing up to cops when they were clearly out of line. I've been followed by cops, harassed by cops, etc. my entire life.

I do not mean to at all diminish your experience, so please don't take it that way, but this aint just a people of color thing. Some cops are bigots, some have nothing but hate for the word at large.
Posted by Rotten666 on March 17, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
@16 wow, how did this white guy manage to never once be bothered by a cop?
Posted by Try not being an asshole on March 17, 2014 at 8:01 PM · Report this
I'm a person of [ ] ... [insert whine here].
Posted by BaskingInFauxWhitePrivelege on March 17, 2014 at 8:24 PM · Report this
White guy here. araucania, pull your pants up. It'll help you get away from the cops faster.
Posted by Araucania,PullYourPantsUp on March 17, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 20

I actually agree that we should work towards a distant (read, DISTANT) future in which police as we know them today don't exist, HOWEVER only an idiot would think we can do away with them tomorrow and be okay. And most cops aren't even that bad and they're just doing their job. I hate taxation, but I would never call an IRS agent a "bastard."

People like this make rational anarchists look bad.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on March 18, 2014 at 12:07 AM · Report this
Seattlebcc 21
I guess this article is what one would call "bitter-sweet" and "begrudging" by its tone but the pragmatism has finally shone through from the original "anti-police" protester. Interesting, if not a bit ironic.
Posted by Seattlebcc on March 18, 2014 at 4:35 AM · Report this
NopeNope 22
Dominic, I'm sure the reason the police were so calm didn't have anything to do with the extreme scrutiny their dept is under and the likely high amount of cameras present at the march, did it?

Your insight into anti-police belief systems is as in-depth as a Seattle Times website commentator.
Posted by NopeNope on March 18, 2014 at 7:52 AM · Report this

Don't kid yourself friend— contemporary anarchist thought isn't exactly plumbing the intellectual depths, either.

The heavy lifting was done 100 years ago, the questions raised by critics back then remain unanswered, and present-day anarchist thinkers seem to very much prefer action over introspection.
Posted by robotslave on March 18, 2014 at 9:16 AM · Report this
Doctor Memory 24
@23 wins the thread.
Posted by Doctor Memory on March 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
venomlash 25
@20: There's a word for "rational anarchists". We call them "idealists". And we all know how well idealism works.
Posted by venomlash on March 18, 2014 at 12:40 PM · Report this
NopeNope 26
@23 Do you read much contemporary anarchist literature? What are some notable books or articles?

@25 And just how well is the capitalist state working?
Posted by NopeNope on March 18, 2014 at 1:03 PM · Report this
sirkowski 27
@26 Anarchist literature is pretty awful. I only read some at the café when I want a good laugh.
Posted by sirkowski on March 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ 28
@26: Capitalism is strictly idealist as well; it presumes that people are capable of determining what is in their best (monetary) interests. Counterexamples: Walmart Republicans, advertising budgets, derivatives markets.
Posted by ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ on March 18, 2014 at 4:23 PM · Report this
NopeNope 29
Basically what I'm saying is that anarchist thought has progressed, and while action-over-analysis does account for the M.O. of some anarchists, there are many who know exactly what they're talking about. Just like any other school of thought, there are people of all intelligence levels. And I also find that most people who say that anarchists haven't been able to address concerns from critics are those who generally don't read much modern anarchist literature and are ignorant to these proposed solutions. I'm not saying that anarchism holds all the answers to utopian society. I'm just saying that it has enough answers to be treated with respect as a subject. And I'm betting that if you disagree you probably haven't read much anarchist literature other than potentially some of the early 20th century writings from writers like Kropotkin, Goldman and Berkman.

And I think the really fucked thing about this article is Dom's childish name-calling, much like in this article:…

I would hope that the new editor of a widely-read publication could conjure up a slightly more intelligent analysis, even in the form of a criticism, than simply calling these people "Dipshits".

Furthermore, I doubt that Dom was around for some of the earliest anti-police brutality protests that started about 4 years ago, before SPD was under review. I can assure him that SPD were not "cool as cucumbers" then.

Leave the Anarchist reporting to Brendan Kiley. While he seems to have a few misconceptions, he has consistently reported on anarchist activity in a generally accurate, in-depth, intelligent and unbiased way.
Posted by NopeNope on March 18, 2014 at 9:39 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden: I'm sorry I couldn't hear you over the snark snarf of your entitled f'ing A being the only one allowed to have a legitimate opinion. You having absolutely nothing substantial to say about these people. Why are you obtusely choosing the entitled, rubbery negging POV? Is this your kiss up to SPD now because you're scurred? Or have you made cop-hating too mainstream for your brand and now you have to hate the posers? Who taught you to write like you're deploying playground tactics? Why don't you stand behind your fucking fellow kindred who are trying to make a difference even though they don't have a snarky ass city-wide newspaper to publish their pithy whinges and then go hide with their tails between their legs. BTW, ACAB and FUCK THE POLICE.
Posted by hellnaw on March 19, 2014 at 9:52 PM · Report this

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