From my friend Liz on Facebook (permission was granted to copy and paste, but the original post is friends-locked and not linkable):

To the people who ask why do we want to hate cops: WE DON’T.

I grew up on Mister Rogers. I grew up white and middle class. I grew up being taught that the police were the people in my neighborhood. That they were there to protect me. That if I was ever in trouble, find a police officer. Learning that they had become the villains was devastating. I resisted hard at first, but the evidence became overwhelming. It’s like Steve Rogers being revealed as Hydra, but in real life. Even more devastating was when I discovered that black people had known all along. When I learned the horrific conversations that all black people have to have with thier children. It broke my heart, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for them. We don’t want to hate them, all we want is for them to stop being villains, we want them to become the heroes they were supposed to be, that white people are taught they are. But when we ask them to, they beat us and gas us and mace us, and tell everyone we started it. It’s like some heavy handed dystopian sci-fi story, except it’s REAL and we’re LIVING IN IT. I am constantly fighting back the tears while people ask why we are so full of hate. We are not. We are sad, and tired, and angry, and hurt.

Further thoughts from me:

I’m not an ACAB hardliner, but saying “not all cops are bad” is like any other “not all [group]!” response: Saying that does nothing but ignore the issue at hand.

I’m perfectly aware that there are “good cops” out there. But I’m also aware that our policing structure and culture, both nationwide and in local jurisdictions, is set up to the disadvantage of the public, especially any sort of minority or disadvantaged group. That even if the “good cops” outnumber the “bad cops”, too many of them either do not or cannot reign in the influence of the “bad cops”, and there are any number of reasons why that might be the case.

And so we are where we are now. Where the police are supposed to protect us, but we view them with distrust and suspicion, because we never know when we’ll suddenly be a target to be taken down instead of a citizen to be protected, or when they’ll stand up after taking a knee in performative solidarity just to deploy batons, flash bangs, and tear gas — and that’s me speaking as a middle-class white male, who can only imagine what it must like to grow up as a POC, knowing that you’re seen as a threat first and foremost.

Police can be better than they are — but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s certainly not going to happen without a fair mount of upheaval in the process.

All the progress that has been made has happened not in spite of the protests, but because of the protests. And for that very reason, the protests will continue as long as the police as a whole act the way they do.

Something that people sharing photos of MLK walking in peaceful protests should keep in mind: By the end of his life, Martin Luther King realized the validity of violence:

One of the foundational notions of nonviolence is that in order to be respected, one must behave well and abide by the social contract: work hard, follow the rules, and prosper. The problem is that since the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade, black people had worked harder and followed more rules, more strictly than anyone in America. And still they found themselves in an impossible and impoverished situation. King might not have been as militant as the militants would have liked, and he may have become an even greater citizen of the world while cities were on fire, but by the time he spoke in the fall of 1967, he recognized that it would no longer be effective to tell black folks to only protest peacefully, kindly, and respectfully. They could not prosper in a game where they were the only ones expected to play by the rules. King closed that speech with a stark truth:

“Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.”

Something else they should keep in mind: One of the most commonly shared such photos was taken minutes before police moved in and brutally attacked the protesters.

MLK protest and police abuse photos