Friday, July 8, 2016

Why I Care so Much About Unbridled Police Brutality by Cindy Sheehan

Why I Care so Much About Unbridled Police Brutality
 by Cindy Sheehan

Since my son Casey was murdered (by the US Empire and its cohorts, like Great Britain) in Iraq on April 04, 2004 and I have become a resister to aforementioned Empire, I have been arrested over 20 times (I lost count).

To be sure, some of those arrests were fairly benign---popped in front of the White House, or CIA, then out in a couple of hours with a citation. However, I have been treated very poorly and even the "easy" arrests always have some component of dehumanization and the threat of brutality. Once I was arrested in DC and the cop told me that he really agreed with me. I always opine why then don't they arrest the criminals in Congress and the White House, and then I challenged him with this question: "You would kill me if you were ordered to, though, wouldn't you?" His answer, "I guess I would have to."

Not only have I been mistreated when I have been arrested, I never think I have done anything illegal. I believe that every time I have been detained, I have only been exercising my Constitutional rights to free speech, peaceable assemblage and the right to petition the government for redress of wrongs, among other things. The way the Constitution was written, Congress can't make any laws abridging those rights, and that makes every single time I have been arrested, just one word: "bullshit."

Being dragged in NYC
Anyway, one of the most egregious uses of force was once in NYC where I and three other women were sitting-in in front of the US mission to the UN demanding a meeting with then US representative to said body: John Bolton. We had been told ahead of time that someone there would accept a petition we were delivering with tens of thousands of signatures demanding that the US end hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan (this was when Bush was still president and people still cared). It was International Working Women's Day and I and my three comrades were treated that night to a complimentary iron-bar suite in the infamous Tombs with about twenty other women. Before we were plopped down in the Tombs, an NYC cop dragged me by my arm for about 15-20 feet along the hard concrete giving me a dislocated shoulder and a concussion. (I was, however, able to kick up and land a glancing blow to his crotchal area while he dragged me).

I can't tell you how many times I have spent the night in jail in freezing cold cells: One time for almost three days. That arrest was in front of the White House and not only did I freeze for three days, but we got no food or water---only a cup of punch a couple of times a day. At the end of that detainment, my feet were shackled together and my wrists were shackled to my waist for eight hours in a holding cell while we were awaiting arraignment.

I have been left in tight handcuffs behind my back for hours upon hours. Once one of my wrists was shackled to a wall for four hours, then I was taken for a ride in a cop car in Washington, DC in the middle of January in the middle of the night with no coat, or heat. The cops had big, thick jackets on and I was berated by the driver (a veteran) for "shitting on" Casey's "memory."

Sacramento County Jail is a filthy pit with human waste floating in the garbage AND they tried to force us all to get TB tests after I was shoved hard against the wall for my mugshot. That night, jailers kept walking by my cell going, "so, that's the one" and then they beat up a tiny Afghan woman right in front of me. 

One late December day in 2006, my sister and I and three others were arrested in Crawford, TX. That's the one and only time I was strip-searched which is a deeply humiliating and degrading experience. Dede and I spent the night shivering on the hard, cold cell floor and were grateful we had people working on the outside to spring us.

I could go on and on, but I want to say a few words about the other women (besides activists) I have been detained with. Every single woman I met was there because of economic hardship or when they got tired of being beaten up by their partners and retaliated. No matter how uncomfortable I ever felt in jail, I knew that I would always be getting out soon, or soonish. My heart breaks for all of my sisters who see only a life of continuing abuse from the system with all of its violence and force. 

I always think, if this is how badly they treat a white woman (now grandmother) who is the mother of a so-called war hero, then I cannot even imagine the horrific treatment of people of color. Oh, wait I can, I see it on Youtube every day. 

I see unprovoked and brutal cop killings of young black men and
then I see those cops exonerated by the same system that hires them, trains them, and pays them. The system is always pronouncing itself "not-guilty" but if the roles are reversed, there is swift and oftentimes brutal (in)justice dealt out.

I have met mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends of those brutally murdered by cops and I know what it's like to have someone you care so much about murdered by a system that never holds its own accountable. It's not only tragic, it's infuriating. We have to mourn our loved ones AND fight the system that killed them?

Creeping fascism is winding its slimy way around this country and its happening even faster under the mismanagement of a black president and attorney general.

What can we do as a people under fire?

Remember, whatever happens here in America, is multiplied hundreds or thousands of times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Yemen, etc, and the racist wars abroad are magnified versions of the racist war here at home and those lives matter, too. We cannot allow a Democrat to get away with these multiple murders, just like cops should not. 

Remember that being a police officer is actually one of the safest occupations out there; their lives are not under constant threat and they can lose the siege mentality. If a cop murders someone, don't automatically believe that the slain person deserved it. Chances are very great that they did not. The absolutely insane thing is, many of these brutal slayings are actually on video, and the cops still skate free!

This year alone, 609 people have been killed by cops here in the US as of this writing---that's more than three per day and it looks like about 34 cops have been killed by "perps" in the same time frame. That's a wide and unconscionable disparity. 

Gone are the days of Officer Friendly and here are the days of Officer Brutality and his/her merry band of enablers. 

Face it, it's an epidemic. 



    I don't use any of the profiles listed for publishing comments. Perhaps you'd care to add this one to your "Why I care so much..." soapbox page?

    "I could add my own personal horror stories to those of Cindy, as I'm sure many of you can as well. What I think it all comes down to is the obvious fact that this is not simply a matter of 'bad cops' or isolated incidents of terrible judgement. This is all the result of serious systemic flaws in the American way of justice and policing. As such, they will not be altered by more superficial remedies such as body cameras, review boards, sensitivity training, diversity or other devices which preoccupy most of our public discussions on the matter. They are matter which will require deep structural changes in the way America is policed, and how and why it is done. Without that, all the rest of responses (useful as they may seem) are easily manipulated and end up as hand-wringing political prattle and cosmetic feel-goods.

    For those interested, I posted a couple of needed structural changes on the subject of "Policing America" on my FB page ( There are many good thoughts and comments developing which may be of interest to some of you. Pay particular attention to one from Diane Messer, who has made a call to form a working group to look into how such changes can be implemented. Perhaps a few of you will want to participate in her group, when she gets it formed. I hope so. The ideas are worthless until someone decides to take the next step and put them into action. Cindy - no one can take back the loss, suffering and struggle you've endured for so many years. Perhaps it is a small return to say I think you have opened the eyes of tens of thousands of people and we seem to be getting close to the point of demanding the changes that might justify the effort you and others have put into these matters. It's the only 'thank you' I can think of that will have real meaning. I am beginning to see signs of it everywhere around me. We have reason to be hopeful. omoiyari, Red "

    Red Slider |

  2. Thank you, Cindy. I (a white man) am also the victim of illegal detainment, and rather extreme police violence, assault, and torture. I am shocked how BLM and the mainstream media have framed the issue of police violence in racist language. But the data indicates this is not a black-only problem. In terms of raw numbers, there are 2 whites murdered by cops for every black person. When we look at per-capita numbers, it is slightly worse for blacks (2.7x) but it is even worse for hispanics (4x).

    Police violence is a problem for ALL people. If ONE PERSON has their rights violated, then it is a problem for all of us, regardless of the amount of melanin in the victim's skin.

    PLEASE-- let us all a) recognize that this problem impacts all people, b) drop the racist framing, and c) all work together to solve this problem for ALL PEOPLE regardless of skin color.

    Thank you,
    BH (Binghamton NY)

    1. Probably because whites are a very large proportion of the population...and while the stats you report were true for 2015, it seems that many blacks are assassinated for just being black.

      While all lives do matter, the pendulum has swung far to the side of racist cops killing people of color. That's not in dispute, as far as I am concerned.

      Racism is still a huge problem in the US and we can't pretend that's not so.

      I do think that we all need to unite against our common enemy as Martin Luther King, Jr "framed" it so many years ago: "racism, materialism, and imperialism."

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. No doubt, it is an onslaught against the people of the US (police brutality is at an all time high across the country!). The president himself is baiting a 'race war' and getting tremendous results! US citizens keep believing the lies thrown at them by media, while refusing to admit many of these are 'false flag' incidents, in a blatant attempt to disarm the public.

    People are targeted by race, and many of the police officers are returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and other nations where their behavior (often misbehaviour)is protected by Special Forces, which have been given free reign by the president.

    We cannot count on Hillary Clinton to be any better, for she is the most war mongering of the candidates. She also deals with Saudi Arabia an opponent of women's rights, while claiming to be for empowering women. There just comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.

    The goal we all have is to re-claim the US while we still can. Expose the Pentagon arming the police with more military grade weapons, which they use against unarmed citizens with impunity! We must take it all back from the corporate liars that would be masters, as they try to own the world (according to Jeremy Scahill in his book "Dirty Wars: The world Is A Battlefield 2010, US citizens are targeted by a 'hit list' without due process or even proof of wrong doing! This is serious!!). Noted journalists have informed us all a New World Order (NWO)strives to set up a one-world government with a leader and a microchipped population, and we cannot let this happen at all costs.

  4. Now you know why those 2 black veterans went out and shot the cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. They got tired of waiting for justice.


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