16 June 2020

Jody Rosen: “[T]ransit policies and worse infrastructure — trains and buses that don’t run well and badly serve low-income neighborhoods, vehicular traffic that pollutes the environment and endangers the lives of cyclists and pedestrians — is borne disproportionately by black and brown communities. In fact, you could say that Black Lives Matter is a moral crusade about freedom of movement and who is at liberty to go where. For generations, police departments have patrolled African-American neighborhoods like occupying armies, surveilling and circumscribing the movements of residents, who are treated as interlopers even on their home turf. The mobility of black people is additionally restricted by a system that construes their mere presence in many public spaces as trespassing, a de-facto crime, punishable by imprisonment or even death.” I thought about this when I heard about the Aboriginal man who was beaten by police and denied medical treatment in Adelaide last night. Witness reports suggest police used bicycle laws to hassle him and escalate the situation into violence; after it hit the media, their story shifted to insinuations about drugs. The charges (hindering police, assaulting police, property damage) all relate to the scuffle after police attempted to search him — and even these were dropped after a complaint about police brutality was made.