Because cops ‘escalate, rather than reduce’ violence
A high school in Denver, Colorado is under fire for showing students a video telling them not to contact the police if they witness a “violently racist or homophobic” incident.
The rationale is that cops will “escalate, rather than reduce” the violence, the New York Post reports.
Originally posted to YouTube in 2017 by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the “Don’t be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks” YouTube vid says that given the current political environment, “White supremacists and White nationalists have been emboldened, and as a result, public attacks are on the rise.”
“Because police have been trained to see people of color, gender-nonconforming folks, and Muslims as criminals,” the video warns, “they often treat victims as perpetrators of violence. So, if the victim hasn’t asked you to call the police, do not — I repeat, do not — call the police.”
Denver South HS Principal Rachel Goss said the video was “to provide empowerment for people who may witness these types of attacks,” not to disrespect law enforcement.
According to ABC-7, Denver South is 42 percent white, 32 percent Hispanic and 9.4 percent black.
A spokesperson for the Denver Public Schools said the video was selected for its title and was not “fully vetted” before being shown: “While some communities of color report that they are over-policed and disproportionately impacted by the presence of law enforcement, nonetheless, there are some narratives in this video that we do not subscribe to in DPS.”
Denver South “believes students should contact the police if they witness a violent incident,” the spokesperson added.
Parents voiced their displeasure with the video saying it puts all police officers in a “bad light.” One mother said “[Cops are] the ones that are trained to help that kind of situation out. And parents or students shouldn’t feel like they can’t come to them for assistance for help […] Not all officers’ intentions are to harm people of color.” Another said parents should have been notified about the video beforehand.
The Denver Police Foundation said in a statement that the various “tips” made in the presentation were “reprehensible,” “irresponsible” and are “not only a blatant misrepresentation of the training received by the Denver Police Department and law enforcement as a whole, but […] also encourage anti police attitudes.”
According to its website, the Barnard Center for Research on Women “brings scholars and activists together through its working groups, public events, publications, and multimedia projects to advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and to promote social transformation.”
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