Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Arresting Power (movie review)

Arresting Power is a locally produced film about police cruelty.  A few example cases get a closer look, such as the murder of Jim Jim.  Most of the victims are young black men.

The film excavates a lot of interesting history, reminding us of the fact that being a black person in Oregon was in itself criminal until 2001.  Seriously.  That bit was written into the Constitution by a bunch of low EQ hicks who thought of themselves as brave pioneers of a new state. 

Not every pioneer behind the design of this state was such a moron.

Then the morons decided to criminalize all the behaviors and ethnicities they didn't want to deal with (sound familiar?) and repurposed the slavery patrol vigilante groups, already popular back east, to give us today's police forces (shades of KKK + NRA per the South Park analysis).

OK, that's a bit of a caricature but films have only so much time to set the context and a lot of the viewpoint here is classic Black Panther, which I appreciate, coming from a Laughing Horse background.

A police system is complicated and multi-dimensional.  Professionals inside the system are well aware of the "bad cop" problem.  One reason we have a lot of bad cops, more than we need, is the lack of any credible safety net.  We all pay a price in lower living standards.

Quitting one's job before one is fired would be much more likely if retraining and exciting work, perhaps involving adrenalin rushes, were offered.  

Obvious points:  cops with anger management issues should not have to keep mentally ill from aggravating the public.  Different trainings and more recognized kinds of badge, not necessarily reporting to the same chief, might be effective. People who might be "on drugs" and/or "off their meds" are in a whole different category from those carrying lethal weapons (as police are).

911 needs to learn how to dispatch teams with different types of expertise.  When all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail.

A lot of the Q&A was about overhauling the system, which currently satisfies no one, police included.

People not good at their jobs, and some police are not, need a way to move on without bringing things to a head.

Peace and Social Concerns Committee (PSCC) no longer concerns itself with already successful organizing efforts per the Seifert Format, and is now pitching its services mostly to activists who need special Quaker expertise. 

The Truthers are getting special help for example.  Given what they're up against, I can understand why.

The cop watch culture in Portland, in contrast, is highly evolved and therefore not especially in need of "Quaker therapy" (like est?).  PSCC was not a sponsor of this event.  Occupy Elder Caucus was the primary organizer with AFSC a co-organizer, providing the projection equipment. 

The AFSC, with independent management, appreciates not having its hands tied by the newly restrictive policies Multnomah Monthly has applied to its own PSCC as a condition for reinstatement (Nominating was refusing to nominate until this possibly crippling new model could be forced through by the Business Meeting's ad hoc group). 

Mireaya (Portland staff) is answering a question right now.  She's outwardly too young to be Elder Caucus but like the Gathering of Western Young Friends, the group self identifies.

So, how do we fire bad cops?  Moving them to "desk jobs" is not necessarily helping.  A lot of them get bored and chafe under the sense of being punished.  Real criminals go to jail.

Dan Handleman worries the subculture of violence porn now popular in the US military will spread, reversing civil values in favor of mayhem as the new norm.  CBS will up the violence level with snuff films as viewers cheer?   Sounds a lot like Fallujah.

How does one fire "bad soldiers"?  How does one de-fund "bad wars"?  These were the deep questions the audience was considering.  Sending the bad apples to kill each other in faraway places only works for so long.  Will Mars become a next prison colony, the one way trip the Americas used to be (and Australia)?

While on the topic, lets look at the question of "bad Quakers" maybe?  Given housecleaning was a focus, I think that question deserves some real thought. I'd be a hypocrite if I acted like only the police have a bad apple problem.  Every group seems to have that.

We used to "disown" our slavers but that comes across as archaic in today's culture.  Mostly one just works around 'em (those slower to catch on), hoping they'll either find another sect, or work on developing their skills.

Phone apps are becoming important.  You can watch a cop do her or his job and upload the clip directly to ACLU.