Say It, ACLU!

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sep 23rd, not much more than an hour after the Kentucky AG announced that no officers would be charged for the killing of Breonna Taylor, the ACLU released its own statement to the press. Before you read it, remember that this is the statement of an old organization that depends on its relationships for its effectiveness as much as it does the courts. So when they release statements, they’re not normally likely to simultaneously set fire to their political relationships and impugn the credibility of the courts.

But read this fucker:

Today’s charging decision is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core.

Ho. Lee. Fuck. Who said this?

Carl Takei, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, issued the … statement

Well, DAMN, Carl! Give us more!

This decision further highlights what was already obvious: To change these systems that routinely perpetuate egregious acts of violence against Black lives, elected officials must listen to the cries of those communities and make sweeping changes — including divestment from these broken institutions and reinvesting in non-police alternatives — so that Black people no longer fear being murdered in their own home. (Emphasis mine, because why the hell not? You just know that Takei was swearing up a storm while typing this anyway.)

You gotta wonder, though, exactly what the ACLU will be doing when the elected officials feel burned and won’t return their calls and the judges feel their integrity has been called into question.


“We will continue to fight alongside the members of the Louisville community and the larger movement to shift power and resources away from the racist and unjust institution of policing that regularly terrorizes our communities and the lives of those that we love.”

You fucking GO, ACLU. You fucking GO.






  1. ardipithecus says

    Two Thumbs up! That is the level at which the fight must be fought. Protests are good and necessary to keep up the pressure but they won’t change things in and of themselves.

    It is tragic that Taylor’s killers won’t be brought to justice. The fact that Kenneth Walker fired the first shot makes it impossible for any kind of homicide charge to result in a conviction. Even the existing charge will be problematic in court.

    It is tragic that the real murderers of Taylor can’t be charged – those who developed a police doctrine that could be foreseen to take innocent lives on occasion.

  2. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I appreciate the sentiment, but I strongly dislike the proposed solutions. The solution to police abuse is not to pretend that we can abolish police. It is to fix the problems of police. To do that, we need proper State-wide or nation-wide written standards for use of force and escalation of force, and we need to apply those standards against actual cops in their individual capacity for civil damages and criminal charges. Anything short of that is not going to fix the problem. We need personal accountability – for the cops themselves. How do we get there is the interesting part.

    PS: Lots of other things need fixing too. I’m focusing specifically just on this one particular problem, and one much better (partial) solution compared to the ludicrous non-solution of “let’s just get rid of police”. That way lies Pinkertons, aka private police, which are way worse. Someone needs to verbally smack down these ridiculous anarcho-communists pipedreams.

  3. says

    Someone needs to verbally smack down these ridiculous anarcho-communists pipedreams.

    …ooookay, but did anyone actually advocate those pipe dreams here? Takei or me or a commenter? I don’t see anyone saying we should have zero police going forward, and it should stay that way forever.

    I’ve seen calls to “defund” the police where it’s being used in the exact same sense as it is used when speaking about “defunding education” or “defunding the Veteran’s Administration”. And, sure, the people who oppose such defunding often fear it will lead to abolishment, but the proposed actions labeled “defunding” aren’t acts abolishing police, they’re acts of transferring responsibility for responding to certain kinds of situations to non-police specialists that are much better equipped to handle those situations, with a commensurate shift in funding transferred as well so that the newly hired specialists can be paid a fair wage to do the job for which they are trained.

    I’ve also seen calls to “abolish” individual agencies – in fact I’ve even made them – but these are always accompanied by a plan or proposal to reestablish a new agency to handle those responsibilities that must be handled. The purpose of this is to start fresh, not to end policing of any kind. Too much institutional inertia exists in most police departments for incremental reform to create the changes we need on the time scale that matters to the humans living their lives now. This is exactly what happened in Camden, New Jersey, and is the most extreme version of “abolish the police” that has ever been seriously considered. But guess what? There are police in Camden, and they aren’t private Pinkerton officers.

    So I guess that all leaves me wondering exactly where on this page you find any quotes stating that we should never have government employees performing the functions of police? Where is the anarchy-communist pipedream written into this post or these comments? If you’re opposed to what I think of as anarchy-communist pipe dreams that would pave the way for a Pinkerton’s takeover, why is your criticism relevant here? If you’re opposed to a Camden-style remake of particular agencies or even to replacing 25% of the police force with social services designed to prevent crises and to respond to a subset of crises – especially health, drug & psychiatric crises – which are better handled by persons other than cops, why do you think that leads to private policing?

    You say its only the solutions to which you are objecting, but I don’t actually find any specific solutions being proposed on this page (though I certainly have proposed some in other posts on this blog). The only bit that’s remotely a proposed solution is perfectly consistent with the widely respected opinion that we shouldn’t be sending armed officers primed for violence to care for people in need:

    elected officials must listen to the cries of those communities and make sweeping changes — including divestment from these broken institutions and reinvesting in non-police alternatives — so that Black people no longer fear being murdered in their own home

    Is it your contention that nothing short of complete abolition will end Black fear that someone they know will be the next Breonna Taylor? I find that odd.

    I’m genuinely confused as to what you oppose.

  4. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    If you reduce the police by half, there is still half remaining. I think that’s still way too much of a problem. I despise this rhetoric that says that the problem with the police is police itself because it’s not a serious adult conversation about what needs to be done. I expect better from you. It’s no better than the proverbial ostrich who sticks one’s head in the sand, hoping that the problem will go away on its own.

  5. says


    I think you misunderstand me. I believe that there are fundamental problems with police agencies, but that policing itself can be done in an acceptable manner.

    I’m happy to “abolish ICE” in the sense of cleaning out their offices, firing everyone and temporarily transferring their responsibilities to someone else while we create a new agency from scratch. In fact, I see this as necessary to combat the institutional inertia. This is more or less what happened in Camden, N.J. and the results there were much better than the results in places like Baltimore that have had historic problems and have chosen to respond with incrementalism.

    I’m also happy to “defund the police” in the sense of removing their responsibilities for responding to a great number of situations that now default to their “care”.

    But yes. I think we’re going to end up with police on the ground and I do not oppose a process which finishes with police on the ground. Can we do that without literally firing everyone and rehiring selectively, one agency at a time, while neighboring jurisdictions cover for the scrapped & rebuilt agency during the transition period?

    From my long observations of US policing I don’t think so. But scrapping the agencies and then reconstituting them as smaller agencies with more focussed missions, better training, and near-total demilitarization is not the same as wanting to ban police from within the US borders.

    Is that what you think is burying my head in the sand? Because I’ve expressed support for this general outline of what ought to be done in the past. I think my position is consistent & I think that I am willing and able to have “adult conversation about what needs to be done”.

    Of course, even though I think that there are examples of positive changes that research says work well, that’s not to say that I think I’m an expert here. If governments are taking their direction from me without input from actual experts, that would be terrifying. You wouldn’t want me writing a police training manual, for instance.

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