Activist and journalist Benjamin Dixon has seen enough.
Images of police brutality from the 10 days of nationwide protest sparked by the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers last week have brought the reality of police violence home for Americans. Dixon believes it’s time to turn the anger and energy into pushing for action at the federal level.
“How much do we have to see?” Dixon wondered during an interview Friday with Common Dreams. “We’re at the point of saturation. The question is, when is it enough?”
The police think they’re winning the streets. But they’re losing the nation. #WeveSeenEnough
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) June 5, 2020
The social media campaign aims to hold Democrats accountable to take firm, unequivocal statements in opposition to police violence.
“It was specifically started to put pressure on Democrats to speak out more, and firmly, not these weak statements they’ve put out so far,” said Dixon.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Thursday announcing hearings scheduled for next week on law enforcement abuses of protesters during the current unrest that he “is working very closely with the Congressional Black Caucus to determine the best path forward to address police brutality and racial inequality.”
“Next week, we will hold a hearing to hear from community leaders, advocates, academics, and law enforcement,” said Nadler. “We are reviewing legislative proposals and will consider legislation in the coming weeks.”
As Politico reported, House Democrats are considering legislation to address the continuing unrest:
The Democratic package—which lawmakers are still drafting—may include a number of measures: developing a federal “use-of-force” standard for police officers; a ban on chokeholds or other aggressive restraint techniques; a national database of police officers fired for misconduct or other offenses; and ending the “qualified immunity doctrine” that protects police officers from lawsuits, among others.
Dixon is also calling on House Democrats to heavily publicize and prioritize the hearings and solutions to the broader issues of police brutality.
“Even though they planned it two days ago, there’s been no press, no pressure, no leveraging of the hearings,” said Dixon. “The Democrats in the House have done nothing with their power. So, we’re saying, let’s do something.”
Twitter users took to the hashtag, expressing anger at the ongoing police attacks on peaceful protesters as well as the institution’s history of racism and violence.
Dixon told Common Dreams that the police behavior, specifically attacking white people in broad daylight at protests, shows that even the modicum of restraint they showed beforehand has disappeared in the face of a total lack of accountability.
“Everyone can clearly see that they are doing it in broad daylight to middle-class white women,” said Dixon. “You can rationally conclude that there are higher levels of police violence in the black community as we’ve been telling you for years.”