Dayanara for Boston Compass (#133)
March 9, 2021
A proposed course on the merits of policing strategy based on US military tactics at Harvard University was cancelled late January amid public backlash. The course was set to be led by an engineering professor who previously led counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. It was meant to evaluate counterinsurgency tactics to police Black and brown neighborhoods. Police in North Springfield started implementing a featured tactic called Counter Criminal Continuum or “C3” policing in 2013 to control criminal street gangs. Police intentionally targeted a majority Hispanic and Black community and hunted down gangs by manipulating residents to trust police. They turned a community into a war zone with late-night SWAT raids often authorized under false pretenses, similar to the no-knock warrant that resulted in the murder of Breonna Taylor.
Ultimately, law enforcement officials are just doing what they have always done—beginning with their loose origin as slave catchers. They are winning over people who can be the eyes and ears for police by going door-to-door and urging residents to give sources and tips so that they can gain access and control of the community. Police paint C3 policing as something that is good for the community, manipulating residents through fabricated trust to lead them to persons of interest.
Police say broadly defined crime went down and the tactics made a difference for the community. But imprisonment is never the answer. Drugs and gangs are not the root problem—poverty and systemic racism are. Police only care about their image in quotas and stats, and Harvard profits from its existing prison relationships, ultimately aiding in the spread of pro-police propaganda.
—Dayanara Mendez, WHBoston
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