A Northwestern University journalism professor who specializes in social justice reporting has penned a column that argues it’s reasonable to burn down a police building in response to police brutality.
Writing for Slate, Professor Steven Thrasher stated that the “destruction of a police precinct is not only a tactically reasonable response to the crisis of policing, it is a quintessentially American response, and a predictable one.”
The scholar argued in his piece that “property destruction for social change is as American as the Boston Tea Party and the Stonewall Riots.”
Noting that he has written about police violence for about a decade, “what I’ve witnessed is that policing is always violent.”
Good morning. Will be on @NPR @MorningEdition in about 20, 25 minutes (9:40 Eastern) with @lourdesgnavarro to talk about my Slate essay and the proportional, understandable rebellion against the police state https://t.co/siwFp0WJtK
— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) May 31, 2020
His column came after rioters set fire to the 3rd Precinct building of the Minneapolis Police Department over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time. That officer has since been charged with murder.
Thrasher, in his piece, argued that “what we are seeing in the streets of Minneapolis and Memphis and New York and Los Angeles is the result not just of a decade of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist organizing amped up by the pandemic. We are also witnessing a rebellion against the many inequities exposed by the pandemic. Health, space, income, race, and the ability to stay away from person-to-person job duties have produced enormous disparities in the impact of the coronavirus.”
In a subsequent tweet from his personal profile, Thrasher further explained the message behind his piece: “I didn’t use the term, but my last Slate piece was, like that workshop, largely about prison abolition. It’s a framework for understanding how to render prisons & police obsolete by getting ppl things to make them REALLY safe (shelter, food, time for family, clean air & water…)”
I didn't use the term, but my last Slate piece was, like that workshop, largely about prison abolition. It's a framework for understanding how to render prisons & police obsolete by getting ppl things to make them REALLY safe (shelter, food, time for family, clean air & water…)
— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) June 1, 2020
He had argued in his column that Minneapolis police cost $163 million a year, and that money could instead be spent on the homeless, the hungry, sick people, and infectious diseases, for example.
“What if Minneapolis put its police budget towards the very resources which would make policing as presently practiced unnecessary? What if every city did the same,” he argued in his piece.
Thrasher’s faculty bio states that as “a teacher, he encourages students to draw upon history, theory, culture, and reporting to critically read and create media narratives.”
Thrasher is also a vocal proponent of the BDS movement. And as an expert on issues relevant to the LGBTQ community he has also opined that Pete Buttigieg, a gay married man, did not fully represent and galvanize the gay community because the politician and former Democratic presidential hopeful is a white moderate.
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