Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday while commenting on the ongoing protests against police brutality in the United States.
Thousands of people have been arrested across the United States in angry protests that have now spread to dozens of cities over the death of unarmed and handcuffed black man George Floyd in police custody. Floyd, 46, died after being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Monday.
After six straight days of unrest, an analysis of state police data from The Associated Press found that at least 4,400 arrests nationwide have been linked to the protests, which began in Minneapolis.
People have been arrested in Minnesota and elsewhere police clashed with protesters in Washington D.C., New York City, and other cities.
Despite curfews in big cities across the US and the deployment of thousands of National Guard soldiers over the past week, protesters descended into chaos again on Sunday night.
Police deployed tear gas, flash bombs and batons in an effort to disperse angry protesters who defied curfews imposed by a large number of cities Sunday night, including Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Louisville, San Francisco and Denver.Nightly chaos grips US cities as 4,400 people arrested, troops fire on crowdsThousands of people have been arrested across the United States in angry protests that have now spread to dozens of cities over the death of unarmed and handcuffed black man George Floyd in police custody.
“Well, I think that the US is already a police state. I think that’s the problem, you know that’s what people are seeing,” Kovalik said.
“And now of course it’s just more evident with how they’re handling the protests for the most part, as you said there were some nice cases where police are joining protesters. But for the most part, the police and the National Guard in Minnesota, they’re treating every citizen, as if they are an armed insurgent and there’s a lot of irony here,” he added.
“I saw comparisons to Hong Kong where the Chinese military only came out once, and that was to clean up trash during the unrest in Hong Kong. Here you have the National Guard being called out within a few days in Minnesota. You have Trump threatening more military action against his own citizenry,” he noted.
“To me, this just exposes what’s already been there – a very violent system, a very unjust, and a very cruel system. And all this of course is exacerbated by the pandemic and the government’s response to it,” he said.
100,000 people in this country have died due to the pandemic. Disproportionately those are African Americans, Latinos, indigenous peoples, and the government still doesn’t have a response to this pandemic.
“I saw a great quote this morning saying what do you say about a country that can suit up every police officer as a soldier, but can’t suit up every doctor as a doctor. And I think that says it all. All the money, all of our resources are going to the police, to the military and not to people who heal us,” he said.
“And, you know, we are seeing the results of that right now. We haven’t seen this type of unrest in this country really since the 60s, probably since 1968,” he said.
“You know where is it going? It’s impossible to know. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere inevitably. I think that, you know, the protesters, and I consider myself one, we have to push for greater social change. I mean this is not just about police violence. It’s about the violence of poverty. It’s about the violence of a system that is investing a disproportionate amount of resources into war instead of into infrastructure and health,” he stated.
“So where I’d like to see this go, frankly, is towards a major restructuring of this country. Where will it go? It’s hard to say,” he said.
“Sadly, our leaders are terrible. You know, we have a leader in the White House, who is an open racist, who certainly has no ability to engage in any sort of dialogue or reconciliation,” he noted.
“And frankly, he’ll be pitted against Joe Biden who is an old politician who never had any creative ideas and who’s now wracked with dementia. Does that give me a lot of optimism for the future? Not a lot. So whatever change happens is going to have to come from the grassroots, from below,” he concluded.