Get Your Red and Blue Knees off Our Necks

Get Your Red and Blue Knees off Our Necks

This weekend, a national coalition will march on Washington declaring “Get Your Knees off Our Necks” and decrying the epidemic police brutality that continues to plague our country. The Baltimore Green Party endorses this much needed action to pressure elected officials to make sweeping reforms to violent policing.

As a grassroots electoral Party that holds the values of Nonviolence and Social Justice as two of our Four Key Pillars, it is our duty to remind our neighbors in Baltimore and siblings nationwide that violent policing is not a Republican problem nor a Democratic one; both of the corporate and police-funded parties are responsible for enabling police violence, overfunding the police, and turning their backs when victims and communities are demanding accountability.

Here in Maryland, we see this most clearly with the nation’s first-- and one of its most conservative-- Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBR). This bill, written by Democrats and signed by Democrats and Republicans, gives police officers protections not afforded to the rest of us by the real Bill of Rights. It has led not only to countless acts of police violence against community members, but also to abrogations of justice when an almost equal number of crimes by police fail even to come before the scrutiny of a jury trial, and very few indeed result in conviction of the guilty officers. We demand Senate President Bill Ferguson lead the effort to repeal LEOBR in a Special Session of the Maryland General Assembly this fall!

And here in Baltimore, where communities have suffered and survived decades of unconstitutional, violent, and corrupt policing that has unequivocally failed to address the root causes of violence and desperation-- in fact, policing practices like those of the now disgraced Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) Gun Trace Task Force may well aggravate those roots and cause, rather than relieve, that violence-- we see this most clearly in the grotesquely bloated budget of the BPD. It swells during recession and boom times alike, from one mayoralty to the next, when crime is rising or falling, while the budgets of Baltimore City Schools, Recreation and Parks, the Health Department, and other essential functions of municipal governance are slashed, underfunded, and critically neglected. We demand Council President Brandon Scott and the fourteen members of the City Council use their current budgetary powers to reject out of control and unbudgeted BPD overtime requests and further defund the police!

The Baltimore Green Party joins the chorus of voices calling out for justice! Justice for Jacob Blake! Justice for Korryn Gaines! Justice for Tyrone West! Justice for Sandra Bland! Justice for Freddie Gray! Justice for George Floyd! And we add to the refrain: “Get Your Red and Blue Knees off Our Necks!”