Policing in the United States 1845-Present

Colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era: 1100s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Revolutions, Cultural Survival 1100s: Origins of the “Shire Reeve” or Sheriff in England. Sheriffs were representatives of the crown who sat in on local affairs to make sure laws were actually being enforced (previously, localities had relied on collective enforcement efforts of citizens; the Sheriff’s role thus extended the power of the crown). These unpopular figures were also tax collectors, at least initially; later forms included coroner, justice of the peace, and constable. 

  • 1100s-1800s: Use of “night watches” in Europe and its colonies: civilian groups of men required by law to patrol the streets at night. They were unpaid, often unwilling, and apparently “frequently drunk.” 
  • 1492: Colonization of the Americas by Europeans begins; brutal militia force is a routine part of land-grabbing, along with later forcing Indigenous peoples into working for colonizers in mines and agriculture. 
  • 1600s-1700s: Establishment of trans-Atlantic slave trade; use of force and control of bodies institutionalized into economic systems of the Americas. 
  • 1500s-1800s: Colonial forces import European justice systems to what is now the U.S., including sheriffs, constables, and night watches. They were unpopular entities whose jobs included taxing and elections alongside law enforcement. 

Militias, Patrols, and White Supremacist Consolidation of Power: 1680s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Escape and Subversion, Cultural Survival 

  • 1680s: South Carolina passes a law that allows any white person to capture and punish a runaway slave. In 1690 a law was passed that required whites to act in this role. Slavery and white supremacy were so fully institutionalized in the American South that, as one author put it, “White supremacy served in lieu of a police force.” 
  • 1700s-1800s: Reform of London Watch to resemble a modern police department: pay, round-the-clock hours, and hierarchical command were established. As in the U.S., establishment of actual “police departments” was based on growth in property crimes. 
  • 1703: Boston passes a curfew law for all Blacks and Indigenous people, establishing race as a defining criteria in law enforcement in the new colonies (even non-slavery ones). 
  • 1776: Formation of a nation-state in U.S. colonies; national militia unifies in effort to remove the British and a national constitution provides for maintenance of military and National Guard. 
  • 1700s onwards: Southern cities such as Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and Mobile form paramilitary groups tasked with the control of enslaved people, with the goal of preventing and repressing rebellion. Slave patrols and militias often work together. In the U.S., these organized patrols are the first proper antecedents to “modern” police forces. 
  • Early 1800s: Pass laws were passed in several Southern states requiring all Black people to carry passes and allowing for arrest of any Black person without a pass, regardless of their status. 
  • Mid-1800s: Police in the U.S. coalesce into one relatively uniform type. Previous law enforcement models such as guards, watchmen, militias and slave patrols begin to coalesce into city-run, 24-hour police. 

Property Control and Order Maintenance Era: 1840-1940 

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Demands for the Families Whose Children Were Terrorized By The Sacramento Police Department

Photo Credit to the Davis Vanguard
(from left) Tanya Faison of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, parents Paris Flores, Janai Johnson, Angel Totten and Roderick Totten


“Our 13-year-old son’s life was changed forever. Our boys were clueless about what they did to deserve such treatment from law enforcement (who) they thought were there to protect them. Unfortunately, the officers assume all African American teens look alike, My son was treated like a criminal…he has not been the same since,” said Angel Totten.

At 11:20am on June 21, 2019, two 13 year olds and a 14 year old were told by Officer Verk and Officer Matthew of the Sacramento Police Department to "get the fuck on the ground" while Verk's shaking hand held a gun pointing toward them. His hand was shaking and these very young boys thought he was going to shoot them on accident. 

They were being detained because of a burglary that happened 10 minutes prior but 30 minutes away walking distance. Officers said they fit the description but that wasn't the case. The burglary was done by 4 males. One was "white or hispanic" and the other three were Black. All had short hair and one of the Black males was heavy set. These three boys detained were all tiny with a lot of hair. 

Even after officers were sure that these were not the suspects, they still continued to detain and question these boys without a parent present. 

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Shut it down: Shutting Down the Arena and the Aftermath of Political Double Speak and Piecemeal Reform


I will start by saying that I am an abolitionist unapologetically. I see the prison system as a refinement of slavery and a technology that the state uses to extend slavery through immigration policies and colonialist policies of indefinite detention and over policing to harvest free black and brown bodies from our community. I fight for the end of slavery in any form especially ones that are constitutional allowed.

I say it because I know what I write will be wildly unpopular in the community of activist after the shutting down of the arena but I think it needs to be said.

Shutting down the arena was one of the most effective things I have seen the people of Sacramento do. It had both an economic impact to the city and an ability to wake up many people in the city who had become apathetic to the fact that every 3 month the police were killing a black member of our community often unarmed. That for years there had been a rally of both direct action and policy options lead by Black Lives Matter often on there own dime and own time presented to the city with no or slow action. The shutting down of the arena had a multilateral and cross functioning organization effort and it's not that there had not been this effort before there had been many multilateral and cross functional organizational efforts primarily in the Chambers of city hall where the response had been policing of grief after Joseph Mann and the outright refusal of city council to hear from the people by walking out when it came to police violence in the city of Sacramento.

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Honoring Dazion

Rest in power Dazion. Today we honor you.

The violence and injustice bestowed upon you moved this chapter to action and organize against a state that allowed not only your murder, but the defamation of your humanity. Now you ride with us every march, every action, every press conference—every everything—fueling our steps toward justice in a city that afforded you none.

Three years ago today Sacramento Police Department murdered Dazion in Meadowview, not far from where they killed Stephon Clark two years later. In both acts of egregious police terror, our city officials not only defended the murderers—they further attacked the victim to cover up the misconduct of their officers and uphold the anti-Blackness that blankets our local government.

In both circumstances—BLM Sacramento wasn’t here for it.

DA Schubert, Darrel Steinberg, Howard Chan, Chief Hahn, Brian Louie you are trash. Straight vile, complicit, cowardly trash. We are not moved by your calls for decorum and promises of a change that never comes. #JosephMann #StephonClark #BrandonSmith #DarellRichards are proof enough of that. We are singularly focused on preventing the horror Dazion felt illegally trapped in the back of your police car and the unnecessary bullets that tore through his body. Be advised that we will continue to TURN UP and make your lives as uncomfortable as need be.

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Get Your False Flag Out Of My Face



When a black man takes a knee to shed light on police brutality in the black community is seen as disrespectful to the flag, but when an actual flag is defaced and stripped of color and left with a single blue stripe to match a job description that’s ok because white people say it is.

When our marches for the dead stop traffic we are met with contempt, road rage, and death threats, but their funeral processions do the same and we should just respect it because of an occupation.

When we are expected to remain calm and collected on the receiving end of violence in high stress situations stemming from the fear of the color of our skin, but they are not held to the same standard as the trained professionals and perceived as more human than we are because of a uniform.

When their murderers have white skin they are deemed “mentally ill” without any type of verification, but if we are murdered in the midst of a full-on mental health episode we are not afforded the same and often hit with “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” because how could a person of color possibly have mental health issues?

When they are automatically turned into heroes upon their demise, but I have to explain to my daughter all the evil things they will surely say about me in the event I am killed during a routine traffic stop, or merely walking home at night.

Yes this is what equality looks like from here.

When they ask for compassion and sympathy and respect...you tell them to fuck all the way off.

Try defending and supporting folks of color the way you defend and support cops.

Stop demanding humanity from people who have it stripped away anytime the thin blue line is called into question.

And get your false fucking flag out of my face. If you respected and gave a shit about this country and the people who make it up...then you would

Demands for the Terrorizing and Abuse of the Macon Family

On April 27th, Caleb Macon, LaShaun Macon, and their daughter, were pulled over by the Sacramento Police Department, accused of speeding after turning right at a stop sign.

After being pulled over by Officer Mustafa Mohammad, several officers were called. Officer has a history of harassing this family, especially Caleb Macon.

During this stop Caleb Macon was physically abused and then arrested for "resisting arrest." LaShaun Macon was told to shut up several times and then she was physically beaten and detained. Calebs brother also experienced excessive force and was detained, and their young daughter was detained and traumatized. Other young children there who witnessed the incident, were also traumatized. (video below).


Black Lives Matter Sacramento was recently made aware of this terrorism and have demands.

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On November 30th 2018, Black Lives Matter Sacramento heard and saw several Sacramento Police Department vehicles speed past with sirens and lights on.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento listened to police scanners to learn that police were in pursuit of a Black adult male hiding in various back yards in the Meadowview neighborhood on streets Putnam Way and Cranston Way. 6 police vehicles upon arrival.


live video of incident: https://www.facebook.com/augusteighteenth/videos/10212359709860457/

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November 20, 2018

Today District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert, found the Sacramento Sheriff deputies justified in their murder of Mikel McIntyre.

This was a decision she made following the Office of Inspector General and oversight for our Sheriff department Rick Braziel, found the murder of Mikel McIntyre "excessive" and that officers had no reason to fear for their life therefore it was not justified.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento thinks that the District Attorneys response was unfortunately expected, but extremely disappointing.


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Demands for the Murder of Darell Richards by the Sacramento Police Department

Upon the release of the video of the murder of 19 year old Darell Richards, by the Sacramento Police Departments SWAT team…

…the video released that showed no evidence of Darell Richards having a gun, pointing a gun, or even walking from Broadway and 17th to 21st street and 2nd avenue…

the family of Darell Richards, along with Black Lives Matter Sacramento has demands:


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Are All White People Racist?

I won't be taking too much of your time today.

I just wanted to break some things down for folks.

Let's get this definition of racism out of the way first. 

According to the United Nations, racism is defined as

“any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

In other words...

Prejudice + Power to Oppress = Racism


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