The federal government’s response to protests over the past couple of months has been nothing short of terrifying. Spurred on by President Trump’s imperative to “dominate” the streets and project an air of “law and order,” police officers across the countries have brutally beaten, gassed, and vehicularly rammed countless American citizens.
Rather than having some kind of calming effect, the state-sanctioned violence has driven even more outraged protestors to the streets, which has in turn prompted cops to crack down even harder. It’s a vicious feedback loop and its continued existence can be traced directly to the Oval Office.
Perhaps the most disturbing trend—first witnessed in Portland and now caught on film in New York City—is that of unidentified law enforcement agents throwing protestors into unmarked vehicles before driving off with them. The eery similarities between the “arrests” and the kind of paramilitary kidnappings we often see under authoritarian regimes in foreign countries are understandably drawing concerns but an even bigger risk comes in the normalization of such encounters.
If you’re a protestor and armed men hop out of a civilian vehicle and try to subdue you and abduct you without properly identifying themselves, how do you know they’re even law enforcement officers at all? How do you know they’re not members of a white nationalist militia or human trafficking organization? By treating such encounters as acceptable behavior, police and federal agents are sowing uncertainty and putting innocent people in danger of being exploited.
A clip of one such “arrest” in NYC went viral yesterday and the ACLU shared it on their official Twitter page.
BREAKING: We're receiving reports that at least one protester was abducted off the streets today by unmarked “officers” — this time in New York City.
These dangerous, abusive, and indefensible actions must stop. Law enforcement must be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/I9VQo4Tvbx
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 29, 2020
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a reliably strong advocate for the rights of everyday Americans, shared the video and correctly stated that: “Our civil liberties are on the brink.” She went on to say there is “no excuse” for law enforcement using tactics such as these and that we all must “resist authoritarianism.”
Her rhetoric could only sound alarmist to those who haven’t been paying attention in recent days. If Donald Trump wins reelection all of these dangerous government overreaches and violations of rights will be validated and we will likely see him push us even closer towards outright authoritarianism. The stakes going into November could not be any higher and it falls to all of us to save this country.
Our civil liberties are on brink.
This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.
To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism. https://t.co/pw20WF05KK
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 29, 2020
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