New Legislation Is Reinforcing Police As “Supercitizens”

frontal shot of a police man in uniform
Zain Murdock
June 18, 2024

In 2014, a new era of anti-police resistance began in Ferguson, Missouri, after Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown and got away with it. And through several uprisings, in the decade to follow, more police would follow in his footsteps — killing over 1,000 people a year but being prosecuted for murder in fewer than 2% of fatal shootings.

And while murder rates increase, so do the protections for police. Take the two bills Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently pushed. One targets civilian oversight boards designed to implement accountability and transparency in policing. The other makes it a misdemeanor to stand within 25 feet of cops after being asked to move for causing them “substantial emotional distress.”

Other states are joining Florida by making more moves to discourage filming cops legally. It sends the message: Not only should police be allowed to kill us, but we should be criminalized for trying to stop them. It also sends this message: that police are “supercitizens.”

At best, Black people have conditional citizenship. But in exchange for protecting the state’s interests, feeding mass incarceration, stamping out uprisings, and safeguarding the white and wealthy, police receive a different kind of status.

But being granted that status from a job title that’s only existed for a handful of generations doesn’t mean they’re inherently worthy of the power that comes with it. When we create a better society, “supercitizenship” won’t be a part of it.