Extinction Rebellion Boston’s Statement on the murder of Daunte Wright

We are once again saddened and outraged by the death of another black person. Daunte Wright was murdered by a police officer a mere 11 miles from where George Floyd was murdered.

Traffic stops should not end in death. Daunte Wright, Allan Feliz, Sandra Bland, Philandro Castile. Pretextual stops have been used time and again to racially profile and they quickly escalate to deadly violence. The use of armed officers for traffic stops is completely unnecessary and does not create a safe society for any of us. For black and brown people it often ends in violence or death.

To those who say police violence can be addressed with more training, the evidence suggests otherwise. The police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright was a 26 year-veteran and former president of the police union. If she can “accidentally” confuse a gun for a taser, that is the kind of stupid that training won’t fix.

The problem is not the need for more training. The problem is systemic racism and police who are repeatedly not held accountable for their brutality. In his book “The End of Policing,” Alex Vitale writes that in the desire to frame “the problem of policing as one of inadequate training and professionalization, reformers fail to directly address how the very nature of policing and the legal system served to maintain and exacerbate racial inequality.”

The history of policing has its beginnings in the management and capture of slaves; to protect the interests of the white ruling class. The militarization of policing has further exacerbated the racist violence inherent in policing, and it has led to a warrior like mentality.

Communities need to assess the challenges they face that have evidence based non-violent solutions. The funds for those challenges need to be reallocated from police budgets to the resources that can address the challenges. This would not only be a more cost-effective use of tax payer dollars but more importantly, would result in less unnecessary violence and fewer deaths.

The racism inherent in policing is just one of many injustices borne by our communities of color. If we are to create a just and sustainable future for all then we must acknowledge and address these injustices.

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