Is Black Lives Matter anti-cop?

(Tiếng Việt)

Claim: Many Vietnamese-Americans believe that Black Lives Matter is anti-police.

Rating: This claim is FALSE. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) national platform is focused on eradicating racism against Black-Americans. Unarmed Black people are more likely to be killed by police than white people. BLM wants to reform and reimagine policing so that needless violence and death can be avoided, and more money can be invested into Black communities.

Several Republican politicians have asserted that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement celebrates and calls for the murder of police officers, and has increased anti-police sentiment. In a recent opinion piece by former New York City mayor (and Donald Trump advisor) Rudy Giuliani, he claims that the primary objective of the BLM movement is to “kill cops.” 

BLM has repeatedly been blamed for the death of police officers, including in the shooting death of five Dallas police officers and of two NYPD officers. In Dallas, law enforcement officials confirmed that the gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, was acting alone and that he was not affiliated with any groups. Another individual, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killed two NYPD officers; Brinsley posted on social media that he wanted revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In response to those murders, BLM issued a statement that said: “An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice.”

The countermovement of BLM, Blue Lives Matter, was created in 2014, by police officers who believed that the goal of the BLM movement “was the vilification of law enforcement.” 

Media portrayals of protest movements, including portrayals of BLM, have misrepresented the agenda and demands of protestors. This misrepresentation, particularly in conservative media sources, creates a false dichotomy that has resulted in the narrative of a “clash” between BLM protestors and law enforcement. 

These misrepresentations have detracted from the goals of BLM, which are to increase awareness of the ongoing violence inflicted on Black communities by the police, and to address the problem of systemic racism against Black-Americans. Unarmed Black men are three-and-half times more likely to be killed by police than white people. In addition, Black people are more likely to be randomly stopped by cops while driving than white people. And they are more likely to be arrested for smoking marijuana, even though Black and white people smoke marijuana at the same rate.

This past summer, an estimated 15 million to 26 million people took to the streets nationwide to protest in support of BLM. The protests were sparked by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes, killing him. Floyd was unarmed. Meanwhile Taylor was shot in her home in the middle of the night when police officers burst into her house without identifying themselves.

It is important to remember that the role of police in the United States is to enforce laws and protect citizens, not to judge or punish criminals. For BLM, the most urgent matter is the killing of Black-Americans by police officers when it is clear they do not pose a threat.

To reform policing in America, BLM has proposed “defund[ing] the police.” This means redirecting some of the funds allocated to the police department and putting it into social services that can improve issues such as mental health, addiction, and homelessness. For example, in August, the city of Los Angeles voted to reallocate $150 million away from the police department’s budget, which is typically over $2.9 billion—far bigger than other city departments.

Though in recent years, there have been attempts at police reform, such as anti-bias training and body cameras on police officers, research shows that these measures have not effectively reduced the violence that police officers commit against Black people. Because of that, the call to reimagine policing and community safety has come from both researchers and activists

Said New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a city with a smaller police budget, “looks like a suburb…Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing etc more than they fund police…When a teenager or preteen does something harmful in a suburb (I say teen [because] this is often where lifelong carceral cycles begin for Black and Brown communities), white communities bend over backwards to find alternatives to incarceration for their loved ones to ‘protect their future,’ like community service or rehab or restorative measures. Why don’t we treat Black and Brown people the same way?”

Conclusion: We did not find any evidence that Black Lives Matter is anti-police. Politicians and media pundits have misrepresented the agenda and demands of protestors. One focus of BLM is to defund the police, which calls for divesting money from law enforcement and investing that money into social programs that can more effectively promote community safety and prevent unnecessary violence.