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Sunday, August 26, 2012

#Anaheim


I usually don't post anything too heavily focused on the current events impacting Xican@s, not because I don't have anything to say about it, or because I don't care, but more so because there's already plenty of people reporting about those issues. If you want to know about the struggle in Tuscon, Arizona, then just google it and you'll find a lot more people that are reporting on it or giving their opinion about it in a more insightful way than I ever could. I felt the same way about the events that went down in Anaheim, California. You could just read the tweets of many people who were there in real time, view live stream video, or read the reportage being done by Gustavo Arellano and his team over in the OC Weekly-a great source (that feels like it takes a muckraking approach) if you want to be informed about what occurred in Anaheim, and what is currently unfolding.


As I've kept up with the outrage over what an out of control police force has done, I read the steps the community is taking, and the steps it wants it's city council to take. I also think about past atrocities involving cops, the Rodney King beating, the Watts Riots, any stories of citizens coming across abusive cops, and my encounters with cops. Here's the way I understand it, if something occurs to you, file a complaint, demand justice from your city hall, and/or file a lawsuit against the city. Usually a lawsuit might get the victim a nice chunk of change if they were brutalized by cops. Chances are though, the cops will walk and will continue working the same beat, they'll just be more careful or retire their abusive ways for a time. But the problem is that they'll still be working. They won't be fired, the most is they'll be on PAID LEAVE until a settlement is reached. This could be months, look at what occurred in UC Davis with the pepper spray cop. A lot of people believe in hitting the city or police department where it hurts, in their pocket. Want to hurt anyone? Hit their pocket, just ask any of the babys daddys out there. I'm in full agreement with making people pay out of their pocket for injustices, but when is the individual that perpetrated the injustice held accountable and brought to justice?



Lawyers are quick to take a case if they feel they can get a big pay off  (unless they do it pro bono of course) from the city for their client and themselves, but again, what about the cop(s) who perpetrated the injustice(s)? When are they brought to justice? Do they take a financial hit? If they do okay, but do they ever do time like the rest of us? Do they ever do justifiable time like the rest of us if we assaulted someone unjustifiably? Remember, when we assault someone, we can't argue our word against theirs, when you are assaulted by cops, you need witnesses and hard evidence, and even then, if the cop is found guilty they get a slap on the wrist, because it's our word against theirs. When do those of us that have had our rights assaulted by cops get any kind of justice? I'm wondering because I've noticed uptick in these types of cases throughout the nation. Or maybe its just that social media makes us much more aware about them, but while many people gasp, and others root for the cops because they feel it was justified, when do the cops finally get brought to justice. Many of us want the money, we don't care if the cops don't get fired, and or if they don't have to do time, if they end up back on the street, or if they simply end up being transferred. Cops on the other hand, try go after the "bad guys" until they are dead, or until they can scare them out of the neighborhood. Cops actually make us pay in more ways than one. We tend to usually make cops pay only one way, financially, and even then, chances are, it's a city's money, it's not coming out of the pocket of a cop directly. Some people may shrug their shoulders and think that, well the courts/judicial system doesn't hold the cops to the same standard as the rest of us. Which is a true, and it also means that we need to change the judicial system, because they are just as accountable, because they have allowed cops to walk away, and get away with too much, for too long.

So as I follow the occurrences in Anaheim, I wonder if the people will feel successful once the city makes some changes and if they pay off the grieving families. Or if they push it further and demand the jobs of the cops who pulled the triggers, and those who shot bean bags and released (accidentally they say) a police dog on women and children. Maybe even jail time. I doubt it. But I think its time we think about what justice really means to all of us in regards to situations such as this. Arellano makes it very clear that it's a work in progress, starting from the top down, and I agree. But I can't help but focus on those individual cops, that present more of a threat, and I'm hoping that if changes are enacted from the top, that this in turn will bring those cops who are also civilians just like the rest of us, to justice. And if not, then what? To sound cliche, "who watches the watchmen, if not us?"And when I say the "watchmen" I'm not just nudging my head toward the cops, I'm also nudging it toward the courts, and the entire "system" with the checks and balances it put in place to supposedly watch itself, but it feels more like, those institutions and regulations were set up to look out for themselves and each other, and their own interests- continuing to perpetrate brutality and cover up imbalances in power.

Fundraiser T-Shirt Designed by Lalo Alcaraz


Anaheim Riots and Jeffrey-Lynne: Where It All Began

Anaheim's Tragic Kingdom

OC Weekly

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