ACAB in the wake of January 6th

Where does the ACAB movement stand after definitive evidence that all cops are not bastards?


Where were you on January 6th 2021? 


I was sitting on a school bus, swiping aimlessly on my cellphone when I came across the story. 

The facts came together throughout the day. Trump had given a speech where he told his supporters, “ you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing,” and they had followed through. They had taken the building, they had made it to congress, all the house members were evacuated, and now they were back and determined to ratify the votes that night despite the best Republican efforts. 


As the impeachment charge came and went and Joe Biden was sworn in, the event became less present in my mind. However, when I heard about the powerful police testimony at this week’s congressional hearing I thought Wait, I thought the cops ushered them in? Of course in the back of my mind I knew that some police had resisted, but I had never considered them victims of the situation.


I could not have been more wrong.


I encourage everyone to watch the hearing. Listen to it like a podcast while you run errands or even just watch the clips in this article. But you must listen to these men speak, the horror of their experiences does not translate into print.


As I hear their stories and think about their heroic actions. I began  to examine my beliefs and a little seed of doubt grew into a tree. Heroic, brave and emotional are adjectives that come to mind but there is one word I would never use to describe them.




I cannot in good conscience say all cops are bastards as I listen to Micheal Fanone recount how he was beaten into unconsciousness by an angry mob, tazed and trampled while the terrorists chanted “kill him with his own gun” Calling the police pigs seems immoral after hearing how Aquilino Gonell’s skin burned after being sprayed with a gas that left him unable to hug his wife when he did make it home. How can we dismiss the sincerity of a police officer’s pledge to protect and serve the people when after being spit on, suffocated and otherwise abused Fanone and Gonell and hundreds of officers across the city threw themselves right back in the fray to defend the oldest democracy in the world?


If the Metropolitan Police Department department had been defunded, Nancy Peliosi’s head would be on a pike on the White House lawn and the house floor would be stained with the blood of the blue. The police undoubtedly saved many lives, and perhaps even the world’s oldest democracy. We owe these officers a debt of gratitude, they have earned the title of heroes. 


I realize this is a unique case. The majority of police departments deal with bike thefts and speeding tickets, not violet insurrectionists telling you you will die on your knees. However after listening to their testimony, I no longer feel comfortable painting any one group of people with the same brush. Assuming someone’s intentions before you meet them will only lead them to play into whatever your preconceived notion may be. I speak from a place of immense privilege, as a white woman who grew up in a household where my mother worked very closely with the police, I have no reason to distrust the cops. 


I cannot even begin to fathom what it is like for people of colour, seeing people that look like you killed senselessly everyday. You have absolutely every reason to distrust and fear and hate the police for what they do to someone who looks like your grandmother, your sister, or your father. 


There are enough cops that abuse the power of the badge that sweeping changes need to be made at a systemic level. 


But neutering the beasts won’t solve the conflict. It will only create a deeper divide between two people who already have an us versus them issue.


Do we need to reconsider the way we allocate police funds? Absolutely. Take away the beast’s sword, machete and throwing stars and exchange them for educational classes, mental health supports and a local distribution of officers that does not consider race or economic status. 


Small police precincts are often overworked and understaffed and do not have mental health resources that are extensive enough for a job so demanding. 


Let me reiterate, leveling out the distribution of power between police and police as well as fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity within the police force have to come before any talks of coming together and singing kumbaya can start. Peace is a balancing act, and the side holding the weight has the power to even out the scales, not the other way around. However, we the people need to be open to the idea of trusting the police, when they earn back the power of their badge.


This is what brings me back to ACAB. All Cops Are Bastards. This movement is championed by those who call for accountability, change and growth and yet it leaves no room for that. You are pushing the “good cops” away from standing up against the system, and fighting for change because they are told they don’t exist. They are pigs, they should be ashamed of themselves when they just try their best to stand by their oaths to serve and protect. When cops see rhetoric like this flying at them they can be easily drawn toward movements that vifly them like back the blue. I mean, what would you choose?


I can already hear it, “there’s no room in the movement for people like that.” This is talk of a movement designed to scream from the sidelines for all of eternity. The left needs to be focusing on educating, not shaming people into fighting for our causes. Telling people that everything they do makes them a terrible human makes them want to stop trying. Social consciousness doesn’t happen in a day, especially after being suppressed by our institutions for many years. 


So it’s more like All Cops Are Failed By The System As Well and Need Education (ACAFBTSAWNE), but I guess that’s not as catchy.