And a white hood on every corner

New Jersey State troopers at a funeral for one of their own. (Photo: Keith A. Muccilli/Associated Press)

By Leonard Zorfass, Red Phoenix correspondent, New Jersey.

As protests against police brutality continue across the United States, it is important to understand the underlying systemic issues that have allowed for such atrocities to occur. One of the key factors in police violence and racial profiling is the history of white supremacist ideology within law enforcement institutions. A quick Marxist analysis of the New Jersey State Police reveals the deep-seated roots of racism and fascism within the organization.

The New Jersey State Police has a long history of racial prejudice dating back to its founding in 1921. Examples of police brutality and discrimination against Black and Latino communities can be found throughout the years of records, including the infamous case of the “Turnpike Troopers” who targeted Black and Latino drivers for traffic stops in the 1990s. In Assata Shakur’s autobiography, after being taken in and handcuffed to a hospital in critical condition after the shootout between the Black Liberation Army and the NJ State Police on Rt. 18, the officers mocked a seemingly dying Shakur, bragging that their families had been white supremacists in the police force for generations. 

The Brennan Center for Justice also highlights the connection between white supremacy and law enforcement, pointing out the infiltration of far-right militias and white supremacist groups into police departments across the country. The report argues that such groups often share an “us vs. them” mentality that views people of color, immigrants, and leftists as the enemy, leading to increased violence and brutality against these groups. The systemic and material production of the “othering” of minorities. 

More recently, a trooper within the New Jersey State Police was found to have white supremacist tattoos. This discovery highlights the ongoing presence of white supremacist ideology within the organization and the urgent need for radical change.

By taking even a glance at the history of the New Jersey State Police reveals that the institution has always served the interests of the ruling class by maintaining the oppression of marginalized communities. The police force was created to protect private property, the property owners, and uphold the status quo, which often meant suppressing labor movements, civil rights protests, and other movements for social justice. The use of racial profiling and violence against Black and Latino communities has been a deliberate strategy to maintain the social hierarchy and to prevent the formation of a united working class movement across its many stratified members. 

To address these issues, it is imperative that communities have control over their own police departments. Only by creating a truly democratic and accountable system of policing can we hope to eradicate the systemic racism and fascism that have plagued law enforcement institutions for generations. This means empowering community members to participate in the hiring, training, and direct oversight of police officers, as well as investing in community-based alternatives to traditional policing.

Categories: Police Brutality, Racism, U.S. News

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