Police the Police – A Reflection
When I was asked to create a political remix video, I was at first struggling with a subject to focus on. There are so many political happenings in the world today that disagree with me, but I found one too egregious to ignore, I needed to focus on the Police in America. I wanted to focus on the various activities in which they participate that degrade American’s, their property, and their essential human rights to enjoy life and liberty. I chose to spread out the focus on the policing, initially I wanted to focus on the drug war as a means of police acting unjustly in the public sphere.
I began by finding anti-cannabis quotes and rhetoric from politicians and ideologues found on television. The first clips I salvaged were of a Canadian politician who had an anti-cannabis rhyme she addressed the parliament with, and followed that with a clip of President Raegan speaking about how the negative side-effects of cannabis were definitely long-lasting and permanent. I thought this was ironic, because the effects of the cannabis are known to be relatively safe, whilst the police raids and war on drugs caused permanent harm to the lives of innocent, non-violent citizens. Following these clips I wanted to transition to aspects of the drug war that have negatively impacted society and ruined lives, I began this by focusing on an issue called civil forfeiture, or asset forfeiture.
After editing the first cut, I would remove the cannabis related portions of the remix, and focus more-so on the actual police, their “legal” activities, and injustices they commit, rather than cannabis. This being said, I would like to express that the remix is a commentary on the overarching drug war issue, and several different ways in which the drug war has harmed innocent Americans and ruined lives, through extending the conversation to militaristic policing, and asset forfeiture.
Transitioning into the issue of civil forfeiture, I wanted to include video clips of police shaking down innocent citizens who had their money seized simply because it was a large amount. This issue received some media attention in the recent past, but like many stories in the American news sphere, it was pushed aside very quickly and forgotten by the majority of the public. People have had their money, cars, homes, and more taken from them by the police, and they may not even be charged with a crime. These innocent citizens desperately need a voice in the public eye, when these people wish to regain possession of their rightful belongings, they are met in court by the very same governing body which illegally seized their property.
I wanted to introduce my audience to this aspect of police injustice first, it would open their eyes and warm them up for the dark, violent portion which would appear next. From civil forfeiture, I would transition to police raids, another extension of the war on drugs. It is eye opening for one to see the police who claim to protect and serve dressed in paramilitary uniform, armed for war, knocking down the door on an unsuspecting house. The police have been known to raid the wrong house, because they were misinformed on the house or apartment number. This gross violation of rights and privacy is only made worse when the paramilitary state troopers use their weapons to gun down the innocent homeowner. I take my audience through the process of these police raids, the first clip knocking down a door, the next clip was a raid in which the homeowner was murdered in his robe because he left his room with a golf club to meet whatever intruder knocked down his door. Finally I take my audience to a hotel corridor where a man was murdered in cold blood by a verbally abusive officer. I close with a statement to my audience; “Who are they protecting and serving? Police the Police.”
When I was editing my final cut, I had to work with the conclusion and how I wanted it to be worded, I also replaced the introduction about cannabis with Sherriff David Clarke speaking about anti-police rhetoric being spouted by hate groups and the popular opinion of policing in America. I thought this sober look at a high ranking police official, speaking about anti-cop rhetoric, would put into perspective for the viewer the difference between what police say and what police do. I wanted to invoke the questioning of authority within my audience, I do not want people to simply walk around blindly believing that the government knows and does what is best for us, or that the police are actually doing good and protecting a community rather than filling prison and ticket quotas. Finally I chose KRS One’s Sound of the Police for my main soundtrack to the clips because I felt that it is a familiar song to some, and the lyric’s correspond beautifully with the message of my remix. The song has a gritty sound that amplifies the sights and sounds of the injustices, and it also matches the mood and intensity of the remix throughout, I chose to fade on an ominous sound at the end to truly reign in the audience and le the reality of the situation set in. The entire video was made to draw the line in differences of how police operate within this country and how they protect our rights and livelihoods, there should be no mistake by the public to blindly trust these powerful authorities, they do not police themselves, so we must.
Don Lemon, sheriff spar over police shootings, CNN
How Police Departments Use Civil Forfeiture to Collect Billions, Vice
Civil Forfeiture: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO
Money confiscated during arrests, Denver7
Body-Cam Video of Daniel Shaver Shooting, Los Angeles Times
Todd Blair is killed during a drug raid in Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune