End the system perpetuating police brutality
To end police brutality means ending the system that allows it.
One week ago, on December 20, the shooting incident of Sonya Gregorio (52) and Frank Gregorio (25) was added to the long list of police brutality cases this year. In a viral video that caught their deaths, a voice shouts “my father is a policeman!” Not as an assurance, but as a threat. The murderer might not be wearing their uniform at the time but they wielded a state-issued gun, using their status as police to commit the crime.
Earlier on April 23, retired soldier Winston Ragos was also shot at Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City. Ragos, who allegedly “attempted to pull out a gun from his slider bag” was shot twice in the name of “self-defense”, just a few weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte’s “shoot-them-dead” statement on national television.
Like the virus we’ve spent an entire year trying to eradicate, the culture of police brutality lives on through a conducive host and environment. And we allow it to spread every time we dismiss the brutality as “accidents”, “acts of self-defense”, and “isolated cases”.
Anyone with eyes could see that whoever fired the shot is the murderer. That time, however, the murderer was exercising a “judgement call”, including “shoot” as the first option.
It is easy to get lost in the echo chamber and even easier to simply run with it: blame the father, blame the daughter, blame the victims, blame each other. We fall under the machinations of a fascist state the moment we allow them to put a face on the enemy, which they can and will label as anyone but themselves.
Police brutality incidents were by no means scarce in the history of our country. It’s a cancer that’s outlived administrations. Like the virus we’ve spent an entire year trying to eradicate, the culture of police brutality lives on through a conducive host and environment. And we allow it to spread every time we dismiss the brutality as “accidents”, “acts of self-defense”, and “isolated cases”.
Not all police brutality incidents have the fortune of being heard or caught on camera. Not all victims receive the justice they deserve just as not all perpetrators receive the punishment they deserve. This is what the “not all” narrative truly means, especially to those whose lives mainstream media cannot reach.
That is why ending police brutality demands so much more than putting one criminal behind bars. It will take more than a trending hashtag, a series of statements, and the masses taking the role of watchdogs in their own right—but it’s a start. It begins with recognizing two harsh truths: one, the state is teeming with violence, and two, the state is what enables and promotes this violence.
In a system that establishes the police as judge, jury, and executioner, we must never forget who gave them the authority to do so, and we must continue to hold them accountable until the culture of impunity is no more.