This post is not to lay out a solution to a problem, but considering opening up space in dealing with this problem. Ever since Michael Brown’s murder by Darren Wilson (of the Ferguson Police Department) the discussion on how to handle the incident has revolved around fairly traditional forms of justice. That is Wilson, as well as Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who murdered Eric Garner, should be indicted in a court of law. While this legal process certainly privileges police officers, it should be noted that this a similar process of law that works to incarcerate the same bodies that these officers were responsible for murdering (not the same singular body, but the racialized body of Black men). For me, I can’t divorce this process of indictment with the racialization of the Prison Industrial Complex. In turn, this poses several questions regarding any sort of ‘justice’ that can be done.
- In what ways would the incarceration of ‘killer cops’ affect the Prison Industrial Complex?
- Is Restorative Justice an option for the police?
- Can Restorative Justice address the institutional oppression of racialized bodies?
- Considering the possibility of a “post-police” and/or “post-carceral” world, as well cops not indicted–What does reconciliation look like?
These are my starting points in thinking about the situation of ‘killer cops’. In no way, do I have a clear sense of which direction this discussion should move given these questions. However, I am certain that a discussion that is considering the relationship between law enforcement and the Prison Industrial Complex helps move the conversation beyond indictment. It helps us consider the further possiblities beyong police oppression and the Prison Industrial Complex.