The interim police chief in Chicago, Eddie Johnson, claims he’s never witnessed police misconduct. “I’ve actually never encountered police misconduct, cause you got to understand, officers that commit misconduct don’t do it in front of people that they think are going to hold them accountable for it,” Johnson said. “Now that I’m sitting in this chair, if I come across it, I will deal with it accordingly,” he said.
This is a confession that those cops who witness police “misconduct” and allow it to happen are just as guilty as the perpetrators. And since he evidently has never done anything to stop such “misconduct”, he has to claim he’s never seen it, which is simply impossible for any veteran of any police force in the country.
Also very significant is this comment of Johnson: “The officers right now are confused a
little bit. They’re hurt. They went from being right about everything to now being under enormous scrutiny, and not just in Chicago, that’s across the country.”
“Confused… hurt” is a way of saying that they are furious about the anger that has built up in the US against them. They are furious that what they’ve been doing for decades is seeing the light of day and being condemned. “We’ve been told that we can do anything we like, that we’re right about everything. We’ve been doing anything we like. That’s what all that politics about ‘violent criminals’ and ‘war on drugs’ was really all about. And now, out of the blue, we’re being condemned. We’re not going to take it. And let’s see if you can do anything about it.” That’s the attitude that Johnson is really speaking to.
This is becoming a serious problem for US capitalism. Black people, and many others, are no longer willing to tolerate a police force that is “right about everything”, meaning being given a completely free hand to harass, beat, falsely arrest and murder – in fact being encouraged to do this. The more strategic capitalist politicians are trying to moderate this behavior, but the cops are unwilling to allow it after all these years.
Of course, it will never stop entirely. That’s the job of the cops – to enforce the status quo. And since part of that status quo requires some groups to be especially oppressed – meaning people of color in the US – this has to continue to some extent or another. And these same methods are necessarily used to keep the entire US working class in line.