“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”
(Matthew 5:9, NIV)
So, apparently the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters in Charlotte, NC are resorting to terrorist-style demands.
Recent articles from HeatStreet and Times report that BLM protesters have issued a ten-point list of demands before they will cease and desist the ongoing violent and destructive protests in the city of Charlotte. Many of these demands appear to be borrowed directly from demands list on the BLM main site. The Charlotte protesters are demanding the following:
1. THE IMMEDIATE END TO THE STATE OF EMERGENCY, CURFEW & THE REMOVAL OF THE NATIONAL GUARD
2. THE IMMEDIATE DEMILITARIZATION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE IMMEDIATE RETURN OF ALL MILITARY EQUIPMENT
3. THE DEFUNDING OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT (2017 Budget: $246,644,617) AND THE REDIRECTION OF THOSE RESOURCES TO THE NEEDS OF OUR COMMUNITIES (INCLUDING RESOURCES FOR JOBS PROGRAMS, AFFORDABLE QUALITY HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION, HOLISTIC HEALTH AND QUALITY SCHOOLS)
4. AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE KILLING OF KEITH L. SCOTT AND AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND A FREEZE ON THE NEARLY 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS AWARDED IN FEDERAL GRANTS ANNUALLY TO THE DEPARTMENT
5. A RELEASE OF THE POLICE REPORT AND BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE CONNECTED WITH THE KILLING OF KEITH L. SCOTT & ALL OTHER KILLINGS TO THE PUBLIC AND IMMEDIATELY REPEAL OF HB 972, WHICH RESTRICTS THE ABILITY OF THE PUBLIC TO ACCESS POLICE BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE
6. THE IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF ALL THOSE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE UPRISING RESULTING FROM THE KILLING OF KEITH L. SCOTT & THE DROPPING OF ALL CHARGES
7. THE RELEASE OF ALL THE NAMES OF THE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THE KILLING OF KEITH L. SCOTT TO THE PUBLIC FOLLOWED BY THEIR FIRING, ARREST AND PROSECUTION
8. REPARATIONS FOR THE FAMILY OF KEITH L. SCOTT AND ALL VICTIMS OF POLICE VIOLENCE AS WELL AS THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED
9. COMMUNITY CONTROL OF THE POLICE, STARTING WITH THE CREATION OF A CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT BOARD THAT HAS THE POWER TO HIRE AND FIRE OFFICERS, DETERMINE DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AS WELL AS DICTATE POLICE POLICIES, PRIORITIES, AND BUDGETS. THE BOARD SHALL NOT INCLUDE POLICE REPRESENTATION AND WILL BE CONTROLLED BY COMMUNITIES MOST IMPACTED BY POLICING AND INCARCERATION IN CHARLOTTE.
10. AN END TO THE REPRESSION & TARGETING OF PROTESTORS AND ALL THOSE ENGAGED IN THE CHARLOTTE UPRISING
*All Caps in original. Source: http://www.charlotteuprising.com/charlotte-uprising-information.html
Some of these demands, if stated as requests, could be granted without much pushback. Freedom of information requests, for example, make a lot of sense. Sensible voices could probably negotiate a reasonable timeline for the release of those tapes. An independent investigation into recent events could be reasonable too. Judicial oversight is, generally, a good thing, and that represents more lawful order and not less. So that can be a good thing provided the Justice department doesn’t let partisan politics and election year fears dictate the outcome.
But, I hope you see in this list of demands that the rest of the demands prove BLM is highly problematic. By tying these demands into threats of continued violent and destructive protests, BLM has all the appearance of Alinski-style terrorists groups from the heyday of the “Weather Underground” and the “Black Panthers.” For those of you who are SERIOUS about repairing race relations PLEASE distance yourself from BlackLivesMatter. Actual black lives matter too much to be tied into terrorist tactics like this.
For example, the demand for immediate and complete defunding of the entire police department (almost $250 million) is a recipe for chaos. The demand for the abolition of the city police force naively assumes that the entire work of the police can be neatly replaced, overnight, with a less corrupt, and more pristine community based police system. But for that idea to even be an option the city of Charlotte would need full confidence that that option wouldn’t drive the city back 200 years to the “Wild west” era (when we did have those sorts of police forces). That form of policing was primitive, violent, prejudicial, and profoundly corrupt. By all appearances that option looks to be LESS safe, not more.
Also, the demand for reparations might be valid if it weren’t preempting the entire judicial system to get there. Quite possibly, the family would win a BETTER payout if they utilize the normal court system and leave BLM out off it. It’s not uncommon for civilians to win multilmillion dollar settlements from police misconduct rulings (see here, here, and here). BLM’s activities and demands however threaten to ruin any chance of objectivity by tainting witnesses, and if tensions keep escalating, turning the city against the protesters till the city is so chaotic that the case is ruled a mistrial. Effectively, BLM’s demand (and related demands) circumvent the entire court system. Yet it’s that very judicial system which, for all it’s problems, still incorporates multiple levels of correction and oversight to make sure that justice can done even among us imperfect people. Leaving the court system out of this is, again, one more facet of the wild west where presumed “justice” was issued without trial, and meant that some people and businesses, wrongfully accused, can be ruined without any reasonable or fair chance to defend themselves. The verdict is rendered without trial, hardly a gain in justice.
Also, BLM demands for the “immediate release” of all related protesters. This demand is a direct insult to all people (including black people) who were injured or whose property was damaged by rioters. Excusing criminal activity is not MORE justice it’s less justice. BLM’s demand therefore reflect indifference towards justice so the group can advance an unjust and even vengeful vision of “social justice”. If you didn’t know, “social justice” has little to do with the traditional and normal understanding of “justice.” Yet again, this demand threatens to send the city back 200 years releasing criminals on the streets because the “new sheriff” likes them.
Of course, regarding the remaining demands, it makes little sense for BLM to threaten more violent and destructive protests till the city demilitarizes the police, withdraws the city curfew, withdraws the National Guard, and retracts the “State of Emergency.” It’s the equivalent of school yard bully saying, “If you’d stop defending yourself I’d stop hitting you.” As long as the violent agitators keep using Alinski-style tactics, they are proving why the city of Charlotte needs a militarized police force, a curfew, the National Guard, and a declared state of emergency. The police and national guard have the intrinsic duty to keep the peace and preserve order. They cannot be expected to willfully surrender that ability to do their job while riotous protesters threaten to explode into chaos any given night. We have every reason to expect the police to be militarized and increase their military resources so long as BLM teases the city with threats of more violent and destructive protests.