Steve Tamari is a history professor at SIUE, a small college that is practically in my back yard now. While he was protesting the genocide of Palestinians with students and faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, he was beaten by cops. Defund the hammers.

They broke Tamari’s ribs. They broke his hand.

Three other officers stood in front of [witnesses] as [officers] worked to zip tie [Tamari’s] hands to block press and protestors from recording the scene.

Riverfront Times

The people who wonder what I have to hide apparently have something to hide.

The cops protect and serve their own while the “lucky” living pay in taxes, in trauma, and in grief.

Metro St. Louis has a cop problem. Add that to my own history (hear my story in this Tangled Talk episode) and in a “debate” about the usefulness of police, I will start speaking too quickly, at too high a pitch until I hyperventilate.

So when I say I was for defunding the police long before cops had Facebook apologists, I’m not riding some leftist hippie bandwagon. My distrust of cops is not hypothetical. They are the embodiment of the saying “when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

It’s not a question I’m here to debate with anyone. I know what I lived. I know what others have lived. I know what people are right now living.

I didn’t mean to watch it or need to see it to believe it, but I saw the video of Mike Brown’s murder in 2014. Then I saw people clamoring to protect Darren Wilson after. It changed me irrevocably.

I don’t—can’t—spray paint bridges and overpasses with “ACAB,” but I nod when I see it.

Today I learned Steve Tamari is the neighbor of someone I know. The violence is not isolated.

Defund the hammers.

And if anyone asks why I’m like this, tell them the unvarnished truth. Tell them cops made me this way.

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