You are almost half my age. That’s a blessing for you and for Minneapolis, and quite frankly for the United States. But age has its virtues; what you witness now, we who protested in the 1960s faced a similar fate.
My brother Jack confronted the illegality of the draft board as a teacher of youths on how to avoid conscription at Hobart and William Smith College and went to Lewisburg penitentiary for defying the state’s support for what the Supreme Court recognized as illegal imprisonment.
It occurred to me as I watched your poignant condemnation of murder by police in broad daylight that the anger in your community, and as it exploded across the United States, is recognition by those who have witnessed America’s past that it is based on avoidance of its roots in exploitation, subjugation, suppression and greed by those in power in Europe, principally, and takes the form of selling the American Dream to the poor and hopeless whether from Lithuania, Poland, Russia, or by feigned exploration and discovery to bring freedom to an empty land. Such propaganda has enabled those in control to maintain control of towns, cities, and states from the Civil War to now.
Once in my life, a Mother, a defiant Black woman, unveiled the truth of this past by displaying the horror of her son’s murder, and horrific torture and distorted face as thousands waited to witness the open casket of Emit Till. His death resulted in the innocence of the murderers even as they made money by selling their story to Look Magazine since they could not be prosecuted again. We have a history of licensing our Police to control the people. Until that is faced the due process denied people of color will never change.
As a lawyer, you saw the crime and called it that. But the law does not operate in this country on the principle of Justice, it operates on a business basis, protect your client at all costs. The question for my brother as a conscientious objector and for you as a lawyer who must confront what has made American Police complicit in crime comes from a business model, the training of police in the United States.
In the United States, approximately 33 states have been trained by the same company, the Israeli state, including Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C. among them. For twenty-seven years, police departments in Georgia have received grants from the U.S. Department of Justice that subsidize these trainings. “Activists in Georgia are calling for an end to Atlanta’s police exchange program.” There are many groups involved, the Jewish Voice for Peace and Project South among them. Why object? Because Israel has a clear record of human rights abuses and state violence against Palestinians. “In the year since 2018 Great March of Return demonstration began…190 Palestinians were killed and 28000 were injured by Israeli Forces.”
Why should Americans pay for Police training that uses as its methodology of action the tactics the state of Israel has learned by using their imprisonment and torture and tactics of control used on a people they do not recognize as citizens, people that are denied access to highways created by Israel for Jews only, what is called apartheid and non-democratic behavior, the Palestinians?
Your action to charge the officer with murder implies does it not that the responsibility of training America’s police rests with the states and federal government in cooperation. A foreign state that trains our police is not in sync with the principles of American Democracy and how the behavior of its police is determined.
Certainly, the diversity of America’s people requires a program of study, in American Studies, from its outset described above, a thorough knowledge of the Slave Trade and America’s brutal expansion across the continent in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the Philippines, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. I would suggest that your training in law and, even more so, at the College of William and Mary would necessitate eliminating the legal training based on the business model. Justice does not arrive when profit is its purpose.
Finally, I would suggest that your citizens would find how police in America are trained and for how long this training has been going on and on what basis its methodology is founded, enlightening. Let me offer this location as instructive: “Progressive/dispatches/us-police-trained-by-Israel-communities-of-color-paying-price-shahahani.”
– Dr. William A. Cook is a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of La Verne. His last book is Age of Fools, published by Dandelion Books in 2017. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.