Following the attack on the Capitol, some people have suggested that the United States needs new laws to prevent future events like this and address what already happened. Advocates for marginalized communities are saying, “Not so fast.” The U.S. has laws that apply—but they aren’t equally applied. Instead, the existing laws are used to surveil and punish Black Lives Matter protesters, Muslim activists, and other marginalized communities while white supremacists skate by.
“White violence is consistently perpetuated and then used as justification for increased surveillance or increased state power against communities of color,” Iranian American activist Hoda Katebi told the Associated Press. That’s the fear here. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Janai Nelson made the same point, saying: “Surveillance tactics and the eye of our law enforcement have always been trained on communities of color. Particularly Black communities.”
Take New Port Richey, Florida. Black Lives Matter protesters there were repeatedly harassed by counterprotesters, including members of the violent white nationalist hate group the Proud Boys. Guess who got charged.
Black Lives Matter protesters were slapped with thousands of dollars in fines—since dropped after the case drew public outcry—for violating a noise ordinance. “We were harassed [by the counterprotesters]. We had a few guns brandished on us … One guy even came up to me and flashed a White Power gesture in my face, but they didn’t get any noise violations,” activist Christina Boneta told The Washington Post.
Florida is one of dozens of states considering harsh new restrictions on protest in the wake of the wave of racial justice demonstrations in 2020, and that example shows you exactly how the laws, new or old, will be used: to uphold white supremacy in the name of “justice.” Because the officials in New Port Richey are obviously not admitting that they have one system of justice for Black people and one for white people. They’re saying that the Black protesters were louder and more disruptive than the Proud Boys, supposedly. Meanwhile, police were tipping off far-right counterprotesters about the plans of the Black Lives Matter protesters, and even praying with the counterprotesters before a protest. Does that sound like a recipe for anything that can reasonably be called justice?
The Capitol insurrection happened because Trump supporters sent a thousand messages, loud and clear, about what they were going to do—and law enforcement agencies refused to take it seriously. They made a decision not to treat a white, far-right mob with the level of seriousness of a Black Lives Matter protest, and since then we’ve repeatedly seen the operation of two systems of justice in how the police and courts have dealt with the insurrectionists versus how they treat people of color and poor people. There’s no reason to believe that new laws passed in the wake of Jan. 6 would be used any differently.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.