Fuck The Police…?

The Radicalization of Devon J Hall

Devon J Hall @LoudMouthBrownGirl
And Another Thing…


I Can’t Breathe, by Dax is the song choice for this essay

The final words of George Floyd were “I can’t breathe.”

I said those same words on an airplane five years ago. I was then handcuffed, arrested, dragged off the plane, and systematically humiliated while my pants fell, my body was bruised and scratched up and I was called a “Loud Mouth Brown Bitch,” by a white cop who laughed at my situation while telling me to shut the fuck up.

Over and over again, I said “I Can’t Breathe,” thinking I genuinely couldn’t breathe, and incredibly aware not one person who stood by watching, stepped in to help. All of them were white.

The one Black girl on the plane, turned her head away from me as she watched me being taken off the plane. Wherever you are, I hope to be famous enough that you never, ever, forget my face again.

CN. #VPD Murder. Remembering Ben Batson on the 20-year anniversary of his murder. Ben Matson was killed by the #VPD on May 12 2002 in downtown Vancouver. Images and text shared below by his daughter Julie. 1/16 — quote Twitter, Defund 604 Network

I didn’t know Ben Matson, and until today I’d never heard the story, but then I saw this tweet:

Being a holiday weekend in the center of a major urban area, many witnesses saw the death of Ben Matson that night. Many recall hearing him say “Stop you are killing me,” and “You are hurting me, I can’t breathe,” 7/16 — quote Defund 604 Network Twitter

“I Can’t Breathe…”

How many people have said that to a cop before they died? How many people have cried “I can’t breathe,” before their life was extinguished forever?

Now it must be said that I used to work side by side with cops. I worked at Surrey Urban Mission Society, or SUMS for short. My job was to help folks get into recovery programs, occasionally I ran my own women’s and at-risk youth programs.

One of the programs we ran out of SUMS was our student nursing and policing program. Students who were engaged in nursing studies, or criminal justice, would come and volunteer a set amount of hours at the church.

This gave them valuable experience for when they went into their respective fields because they learned that houseless folks, folks with disabilities, and folks with addiction issues, are regular, degular people, who just want to be treated like real people.

The problems started when the Church decided they didn’t like having people of color, and LGBTQ2S+NB folks at the forefront of the church image.

And so they cut our programs one by one, and then they fired us, and you know what happened? Crime went up.

It wasn’t our programs alone that got cut, several groups in the area eventually had to move due to gentrification, lack of funding and support from the city, and other reasons.

But without those programs and organizations in the main downtown core, the downtown Surrey, British Columbia area, as well as the Vancouver downtown core, have become far more violent.

When you take away the services that protect the most marginalized among us, the most marginalized among us find ways to fight back.

When you steal someone’s home, when you destroy their belongings, when you throw their precious few remaining items from their old life into the trash, when you step on their necks, when you knee on their spine, when you break their arms, shoot them in the belly, and do other heinous acts of violence against innocent people, and call it policing, yes, folks are going to fucking hate you.

I don’t know yet if I am for abolition, I am being honest, I don’t know enough of the history of the movement to understand what abolition looks like or how it would work.

However, what I do know, is that something needs to change when it comes to how police interact with the community. And I’m not talking about Surrey, British Columbia alone. I’m talking about globally.

There have been enough science experiments to know that when you put one group of people in a jail cell and another group of folks get weapons, eventually they will act out the roles you give them.

If we *tweak* the roles, so that the onus isn’t on policing alone, then perhaps we can make some inroads between what was, what is, and what could be.

My point here is that the police need the community, the community doesn’t need the police. The police is a colonial system that was and remains designed to stomp on Black, Brown, and Indigenous men, women, and children.

There are ways to protect communities that don’t involve police, that don't involve calling the cops every single time something happens.

I believe, and I think that many smarter people who came before me have been saying that if we take *some* of the funds (or you know ALL of the funds) we give to cops, and put them into different avenues in the community, every single one of us, will have a better quality of life.

Schools, shelters, and hospitals shouldn’t have to crowdsource funds to provide the next generation with what it needs to succeed.

Many people believe that the world operates like a self-eating snake. With each generation trying to eat the generation that comes after in a variety of different ways, I don’t think they are wrong.

I think we need to stop thinking that the more we abuse those under us the better we deserve to be treated.

The worst among us, the most silent among us, the most afraid among us, are not the people who are going to protect us from the next generation of horror. We have to be the ones to do that ourselves.

We have to decide that we’re going to take every experience we’ve ever had and use them to help others so that they don’t have to face the horrors that we’ve seen.

That’s precisely why you’re seeing so many young people around the globe settling into fighting against their universities and by extension their governments when it comes to what is happening in Palestine.

We’re not done. We still have Haiti, Congo, Sudan, the DRC, and other places around the world to fight for, so don’t run out of steam yet my young ones.

It’s inspiring to see the work you’ve put into the world make the kind of difference that means that millions of folks are standing up for what is right, and that’s the thing that celebrities will never truly understand.

Movie stars become movie stars because they want to become famous, not necessarily because they love the stories they’re telling.

But to the people…those stories are everything. They are the fuel that sets the flame that inspires us to believe that we really can change the world. Police are the water to that flame.

The problem that American cops today have is that the protestors of today, the kids camping out at universities in the USA, have faced school shootings and the laws that keep guns in the streets and their lives in danger.

They aren’t afraid of cops.

So why should I be?

I think I’ve finally decided where I stand on abolition…what about you?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall, The Loud Mouth Brown Girl



Devon J Hall @LoudMouthBrownGirl
And Another Thing…

4 Time Self-Published and Published Author, Devon J Hall brings honest relatable content to you weekly