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Sarah Fathallah
Okay, I've seen a number of people on social media share this campaign. I wanted to put my thoughts (and those of others) together to explain why this campaign is a bad idea. I want to first start by addressing each of the 8 policies. (Bear with me, thread follows)
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
1. Ban chokeholds and strangleholds Banning things with the police does not work. NYPD banned chokeholds and still used one on Eric Garner. The officer who killed him was never indicted on any charges.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
2. Require de-escalation Every single policy that requires de-escalation has an exceptional circumstances provision that allows officers to escalate force. The legal threshold for deadly force is whether an officer feared for their life, which does *not* require de-escalation.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
"I thought I was going to die" is a common phrase that cops involved in killings now say, including the one who shot Philando Castile in his vehicle.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
3. Require warning before shooting Insulting. How would a warning stop a shooting? This is already implemented by 62% of PDs (per the campaign's study). If we're addressing a problem of widespread police violence today, why are we proposing policy that's already widespread?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
4. Exhaust all other means before shootings Again, exhaustion requirements have huge loopholes. For instance, if force that will likely result in great bodily injury is presented by an offender, a cop can scale up to full lethal force without having to go through "other means."
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
5. Duty to intervene This is ineffective. Chicago PD had this policy for years, with hundreds of cases of use of force and *zero* officers having ever intervened. Not once. Also, this was already adopted by Minneapolis when 3 officers stood by and watched George Floyd die.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
6. Ban shooting at moving vehicles Many PDs have this policy, but this feels like smokes and mirrors. No major police killings in recent years involve shooting at moving vehicles. Philando Castille was murdered in his vehicle that was standing still.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
7. Require a use-of-force continuum This is already implemented by 85% of PDs (per the study behind this campaign). Again, if we are addressing a problem of widespread police violence today, why are we proposing policy that's already widespread?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
Additionally, the use-of-force continuum *expands* the arsenal of options that officers have at their disposal, meaning they can use force with even more impunity because they can explore even more options.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
8. Require comprehensive reporting We know that the police doesn't report all crimes, including rapes and murders. Expecting them to report on all force is ridiculous. Even if they did, why does it help us? People were killed/brutalized, but no worries, the cops reported it?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
Lastly, I have some issues with the campaign as a whole, based on (1) the claims it makes, (2) its focus, and (3) the moral stance it's asking us to take.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
(1) Claims: The 72% number is a very catchy one (and its framing I would argue allows for the potential that PDs implement these policies then wash their hands from any further accountability or change). However, it comes from a study for which the methodology seems to be flawed.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
The 72% number would *only* apply to PDs going from 0 to all 8, (which the study admits that it wouldn't be the case of most PDs who already have some of those policies so taunting this number is fallacious). Other critiques:
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
(2) Focus: At best, these are at best superficial, cosmetic reforms. We know that many of these policies have been implemented across the country. It has not solved the systemic problem of police brutality.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
None will stop the police from (1) finding loopholes or workarounds to keep brutalizing people, or (2) continuing business as usual because we know all too well that the police has never stopped doing something because it's unlawful.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
At worst, they dilute demands that would actually contribute to systemic changes with regards to policing, and in my opinion, co-opt the energy and urgency of this moment. I question whether they should be the focus of our efforts right now.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
We're on the cusp of an important moment in this fight and should *only* settle on what: - Reduces funding to the police - Challenges the notion that police increases safety - Reduces the tools, tactics, and technology police have at their disposal - Reduces the scale of policing
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
(3) Moral stance: But the most important point of all, that I want you to sit with. Even if the study was iron-clad, and everything went as perfectly as predicted: are we okay with the remaining 28% of police killings to continue?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
Case in point: San Francisco PD has all 8 of those policies. It didn't stop officers from shooting someone seven times last December. Are we okay with that death? Because that person wasn't choked? Because that person was warned before they were shot? By seven different bullets?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
Are we pushing for preferred ways to die? Do we think pushing for some people dying versus others not is a conscionable demand?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
TL;DR vs. * The former takes for granted that the problem is how policing is executed, the latter assumes the problem is policing itself. The former regulates the police, the latter reduces the police. *or defund, dismantle, disband, disarm, etc.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 4
Replying to @SFath
In practice they may not be mutually exclusive, but which demand do we want to prioritize right now, with a massive uprising on our hands? What we know so far is that incrementalism has been tried over and over with no success. Should we avoid big change just because it's scary?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 5
Replying to @SFath
This thread blew up. Obligatory note: none of these are my own ideas. They're informed by the work of critical thinkers and abolitionists that I've been following for years. I urge you to read the writings of Mariame Kaba, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Alex Vitale, Angela Davis, etc.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 5
Replying to @C_Resistance
I urge everyone to look at this chart by : In it, I think two things are worth highlighting. First, a set of criteria to assess whether demands are reformist vs. actually lead to the larger goal of police defunding and abolition
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 5
Replying to @SFath
Do these demand... - Reduce funding to the police? - Challenge the notion that police increases safety? - Reduce the tools, tactics, and technology police have at their disposal? - Reduce the scale of policing?
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 5
Replying to @SFath
Second, in response to critiques that is unrealistic, it provides a number of clear, feasible, immediate reforms: - Suspend the use of administrative leave for cops under investigation - Withhold pensions and not rehire cops involved in excessive force
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 5
Replying to @SFath
- Require cops to be liable for misconduct settlements - Cap overtime accrual/pay for military exercises - Withdraw participation in police militarization programs - Prioritize spending on community health, education, affordable housing - Reduce the size of the police force
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 6
Replying to @SFath
Taking a break from Twitter and won't be responding to mentions/DMs after receiving too many hateful messages. For Black voices critiquing , please see: And many more.
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Sarah Fathallah Jun 10
Replying to @SFath
By way of update, please read: Brittany N. Packnett Cunningham's decision to leave Campaign Zero: Samuel Sinyangwe's statement:
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