The mass media continues to discuss instances of police violence in this country as aberrations, bypassing the larger systems that drive them. This line of thinking actually contributes to the national crisis we are living - a crisis that goes beyond "human rights abuses." We are dealing with crimes against humanity, specifically perpetrated against the Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples and communities of this country.
The common threads here are dehumanization and impunity; as Professor Otto Santa Ana notes in Brown Tide Rising: "Only humans have human rights." It is this dehumanizing force that permits such egregious violence against the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities of this nation to occur, and to occur without accountability. We can see this phenomenon at work not simply on the streets, but also in the courts and in the prisons, dehumanizing institutions that have become, in effect, warehouses for people of color.
At the moment, the historic and brutal violence against Brown-Indigenous peoples remains under the radar of this nation's corporate media, the nation's conversations and its psyche. (This is not to say, of course, that police violence against Black communities should receive less attention; in fact, it should receive much more attention, as should violence against Brown and Indigenous communities.) A particularly brutal and abhorrent case near Tucson, Arizona, helps to illustrate this attitude and relationship.