This weekend’s protests are about Syracuse Police Department as much as they are about George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Eric Chauvin. It might be comforting to those in power to pretend otherwise, to think that it’s all about something that happened in some other community, somewhere far away from here, but that’s a lie.
Those protests are also about how police dragged Shaolin Moore from his car and beat him in the street, how their justification was that they were afraid of the communities they serve, and how they arrested Yamil Osorio in retaliation for filming the whole thing.
And those protests are about how police officer Chester Thompson used the power granted him by his badge and the gun on his belt to rape multiple women—including Maleatra Montanez—while on duty, and how the Syracuse Police Department just let it happen.
And they’re about how the Syracuse Police Department ordered medical professionals at St. Joseph’s Hospital to drug Torrence Jackson and then to sexually assault him with an anal probe.
And the protests are about how Syracuse police officers Paul Montalto and Damon Lockett beat Alonzo Grant because he punched a screen door in his own home.
And they’re about how the Syracuse Police Department singled out Elijah Johnson while breaking up a party near Syracuse University, beat him, and then falsely charged him with inciting a riot.
And those are just some of the highest profile cases of the last couple years. This list could go back for decades, more than a century, as far back as police kidnapping William “Jerry” Henry to sell him into slavery in 1851, and it go much broader, encompassing every racist traffic stop that traumatizes a family but somehow isn’t ‘newsworthy’ enough to make it into the paper.
If the people in power are actually listening, if they have ears to hear what protesters are saying, they’ll acknowledge this abuse, and they’ll use their power to end it.