Ben & Jerry say police are brutalizing Black people 'before our very eyes', Whites ignore it
'The people we pay to protect and serve are killing and brutalizing Black people before our very eyes,' the founders of Ben & Jerry's say
The founders of Ben & Jerry’s published an op-ed calling on White Americans to use their "power" to stop police brutality, which they say is causing Black people to be brutalized "before our very eyes."
"Ours is a majority white society. White people elect the officials who appoint police chiefs. Police chiefs are overwhelmingly white. The people we pay to protect and serve are killing and brutalizing Black people before our very eyes. And we’re letting them get away with it," Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wrote in their op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today.
The pair of ice cream company founders went on to describe three instances where Black Americans died during interactions with police, including Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville last year.
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"When we were growing up, our mothers taught us the policeman was our friend. Black mothers have no choice but to teach their children to fear the police," they wrote.
Cohen and Greenfield say that White Americans must actively fight against "injustice," otherwise, "we are allowing the horrors to continue."
Protests and riots spread across the country last year following the death of George Floyd, which ushered in calls from the public and corporations to support Black Lives Matter and overhaul policing. But, "despite spending more than $1.5 billion per year to influence Congress, Big Business didn't make passing police reform a priority," the pair wrote.
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"Since our national failure, the crisis has only gotten worse. More than 1,000 people have been killed by police since George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020. And hundreds of thousands more have faced inhuman abuse," the pair continued, citing data from Al Jazeera that includes all races of people who died during interactions with police.
The pair also lauded states that have adjusted qualified immunity - which shields government officials from civil litigation in certain circumstances - and are leading a coalition of 2,000 business leaders, celebrities, sports players and others "to mobilize people in every state to demand integrity, accountability and better public safety."
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"If we choose to use it, we white people have the power to hold rogue cops accountable and create a society where Black mothers can also teach their children that the policeman is their friend."
"Inaction is not an option. If we tolerate the status quo, in the end, our children will find that we’ve left them a world infested with injustice and rotten to the core."
Cohen and Greenfield have made similar calls to end qualified immunity, and the company they founded has launched multiple efforts to help support liberal causes. Ben & Jerry’s developed an ice cream flavor earlier this year, called "Change is Brewing," which will send some of its proceeds to Rep. Cori Bush’s People’s Response Act, aiming to defund police departments and replace them with social workers in some cases.
As Ben & Jerry’s continues to work to overhaul policing, the defund the police movement took massive hits last week in various elections and some liberal leaders have announced plans to beef up departments.
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In Minneapolis, voters last Tuesday rejected a proposed amendment to the city's charter that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. In New York City, voters elected a former NYPD captain, Eric Adams, to lead the city after the police department saw its budget slashed by $1 billion. And in Portland, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler called to beef up the city’s police department by more than $5 million after the city council voted to defund the department last year.