|Montgomery County Planning Board chair|
Casey Anderson surrounded by armed police
officers, called in as members of
Macedonia Baptist Church attempted to deliver
a petition during a peaceful protest last year
|Police confront Macedonia Baptist Church Pastor Segun Adebayo |
and Social Justic Director Marsha Coleman-Adebayo at the
HOC in October 2017
Planning Board, February 2017
Office of the County Executive, April 2017
County Council office, May 2017
Housing Opportunities Commission, October 2017
As an activist in the County for over a decade, I have attended many public meetings and hearings, and the police were never summoned to confront or remove a white speaker or protester.
In "progressive" Montgomery County, the peaceful struggle over the Moses African Cemetery has proven to us "just how low the bar is for white Americans to sic law enforcement on black people," in the words of Mother Jones magazine. "Getting law enforcement involved is an extreme response that tends to escalate conflicts," Brandon E. Patterson wrote for the magazine in May. "For black people, that call to law enforcement can have dire consequences. That’s why it’s especially egregious when white people use 911 like a personal grievance hotline, summoning officers for something as minor as a black person arguing with restaurant staff—or because our behavior makes the caller uncomfortable, or because they think we might be up to no good."
Such frivolous calls to police are "rooted in an effort to preserve racial hierarchy by showing that black people can be removed at any time," Vox reported, quoting writer Tressie McMillan Cottom: “'At millions of places, in a billion different interactions across the country ... a white person is doing all the daily management of white spaces and places,' she wrote."
Callers may "feel that the police are there to work as their personal racism valets and remove black people from the situation," Morgan State University professor Jason Johnson told NPR last month. "The role of the police is as law enforcement. They're supposed to be the last resort. You're supposed to ask questions, attempt to communicate and resolve things as a functional citizen. So of course, we shouldn't be calling the police on a regular basis."
Johnson, and others, have advocated the idea that callers in such cases should be fined. That may be called for, when our fabulously qualified and talented Democratic, "progressive" officials are unable to "communicate and resolve things as functional citizens."
Can we expect the County Council to adopt a Starbucks policy that County government should no longer call the police simply because African-Americans are peacefully protesting or attempting to deliver a petition? And one that would fine County officials who violate it?
Don't bet on it. The Council has yet to even acknowledge or condemn the calls to law enforcement that came from their own, and multiple other, County government officials in the Moses African Cemetery controversy. They also have not criticized Anderson, or asked him to step down as chair of the Board.