One video shows a police officer telling a group of armed white men to secrete inside so it “doesn’t look like [the police] are playing favorites.”
Rabat – Tensions continue to mount in the United States as ongoing protests flood the streets with demonstrators demanding an end to institutional racism and police brutality. Although many of the demonstrations have remained peaceful, an alarming number of videos circulating social media networks spotlight the ongoing violence and biases of US law enforcement.
In one recent video, a Salem, Oregon police officer is shown supporting a group of armed white men on the streets as police prepare to carry out arrests for curfew violations.
“We’re going to really enforce the citywide curfew shutdown so we can arrest anybody walking around,” said the officer. “My command wanted me to come talk to you guys and request that you guys secrete people inside the businesses or in your vehicles, somewhere where it’s not a violation… so we don’t look like we’re playing favorites.”
The officer goes on to warn the group that there would soon be a heavy presence of police in the area and explains that he and his colleagues have “really appreciate the attitude you guys have all had.”
The men talking to the police officer are said to belong to a group called the Proud Boys, a far-right neofascist organization that emerged in 2016. The Proud Boys claim to not support white supremacist views and instead say they focus on and promote “Western values,” fearing their culture is under siege. However, the men-only group often participates in racist organizations and rallies.
The Salem police chief has since apologized for the incident.
Other acts of police brutality under scrutiny include shooting and killing a protester who was kneeling with their hands up, sideswiping protesters with car doors, countless beatings, targeting civilians peacefully sitting on their front porch, pepper-spraying pedestrians, and knocking elderly men to the ground and leaving them to lay unconscious.
Police brutality is a key grievance driving the protests, but many demonstrators have only seen an intensification of excessive force rather than a de-escalation.
Some protestors and onlookers have shown mercy for the police, saying they are experiencing unprecedented times. However, most agree that the violence is inexcusable, unlawful, and an appalling violation of human rights in a country that champions itself as the world’s moral watchdog.
Protests in the United States have been ongoing for 11 days after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in police custody on May 25.