I’ve heard a lot of bullshit about how riots don’t work and the only thing we’re getting out of them is losing Aunt Jemima and old 30 Rock episodes. People who are mostly satisfied with the status quo and are more attached to their property than Black lives would love for you to believe that. And it makes for more click-baity news than the peaceful protests that are still happening throughout the country.
But here are some facts. In the weeks since the George Floyd protests began:
Prosecutors brought second-degree murder charges against Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd and charged the three Minneapolis cops who watched him do it with aiding and abetting murder.
Amazon issued a moratorium on police facial recognition software.
57 members of Buffalo police riot response team resigned after video showed one of their own shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground hard enough to knock his head open and the rest of them watching while he bled.
New York moved to make officer disciplinary records public. Chauvin had 18 complaints when he murdered George Floyd.
Colorado’s governor called for a new investigation into the police killing of unarmed Elijah McClain and signed a bill which ends qualified immunity for police, heavily restricts their use of tear gas/projectiles on citizens, and introduces criminal charges for cops who don’t intervene when their colleagues use excessive force.
The King County Labor Council, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO cut ties with the Seattle cop union.
This work isn’t even close to over. It has, in fact, only begun. The entire criminal justice system — from cops to prosecutors to judges to medical examiners to crime labs to forensic investigators to expert witnesses to prisons to bail to the parole system — has for decades operated with near-zero unaccountability and dismal results. But it has begun.
Riots work. If you don’t want riots, fix the problems.