Protesters in Chattanooga rally the 14th time Monday to decry violent and lawless acts by the police department and to focus their strength on pushing the idea of participatory budgeting, where ideas about how to spend tax dollars bubble up from the people rather than being swooped upon by traditional nonprofit recipients.
The protests led by hip hop singer and activist Cameron “C-Grimey” Williams and spicy-tongued council candidate Marie Mott have been largely peaceful except for angry and profane chants directed against the executive branch — “F–k Andy Berke! F–k Andy Berke” and his police department (“F–k 12! F–k 12”).
City council meets tonight online in what is at best an ersatz “public” meeting under the CV-19 panic. They were chastened by more than seven hours of public comment a week earlier that almost without exception demanded either an end to the police department or a sharp curtailing of its oppressive customs and usages and lofty outlays.
The city is under administrative notice about the department’s ignoring of a law limiting warrantless arrests and one about the department’s following a judicial policy favoring “traffic stops” rather than respecting the constitution and black-letter law that denies city cops authority to enforce the trucking statute on people not working as carriers or haulers (your mom, let’s say, or your teenage son, let’s say).
No doubt its members are at least partly invested in the national narrative over the past 2 weeks, even as global protests have erupted over the thin blue line that is really a snare and a trap rather than a barricade against lawlessness and disorder.
➤ The organizers say people who want to follow their work should check in at Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/icantbreathecha/
➤ Meanwhile, a GoogleDoc database has assembled hundreds of cellphone and other video clips showing police dragging peaceful protesters, gassing them, striking them, beating them with clubs and otherwise acting courageously and violently against them — in the name of law and order.
It is a document of remarkable poignancy, seeing that police are using beatings and anger to suppress the citizenry upset at their beatings and anger.
City council members — nine men and women — appear long disinvested in the well-being of Chattanoogans, especially those most vulnerable to police arbitrary and capricious arrests, threats, bellowings and curbside interrogations.
I propose that they:
➤ Love with Christlike other-centeredness and charity the people they represent
➤ Be jealous about their rights and property
➤ Protect citizens’ God-given liberties as guaranteed by the constitution
➤ Use the power of the purse string to reign in Mayor Andy Berke, who is responsible for continuing abuses of planted evidence, perjury by cop, abusive alliances between his officers and local judges, and misuse of authority, for the harm of routine operations in addition to the “deviations” from policy
The city council should refuse to continue funding the source of humiliation and damage for many Chattanoogans, starting with African-Americans, the poor, immigrants, and those vulnerable people who are derscribed in the Christian scriptures with the terms “orphans and widows” and “aliens and strangers.”
The budget is F$70 million, and tough strings need to be stretched across that bulk of cash to order changes and reforms such as those I describe here. https://tnt23.wpengine.com/2018/12/halfway-reforms-may-be-enough-to-save-police/