Mustafa Ali: Police Reform Can’t Happen Until Prisons Stop Profiting
Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard
Former cop and current WWE superstar Mustafa Ali talked to Sports Illustrated about George Floyd’s murder and the current Black Lives Matter movement. “As a former police officer, I can look you directly in the eye, and tell you with zero hesitation in my voice that George Floyd was not just killed by the police, he was murdered by the police,” Ali states before going into a deconstruction of the current criminal justice system.
Check out highlights below:
Why he joined the police:
I had joined the police department because I truly believed that, at its core, the police officer profession was a noble one. To protect and to serve, to lay your life down to protect the innocent. I felt, what could be more noble than that? I was well aware of all the problems that the police department was having with the community, and I was aware that it needed change. I thought the best way to bring change to the police department [was] from within. That’s why I joined.
Why police reform won’t help by its own:
People are talking about bringing reform to the police department as a potential solution to this crisis, but I’m here to tell you that is not the solution because it’s not the root of the problem. The criminal justice system is designed to profit off of arresting Black people. Every time I went to court, it was filled with Black people. There was one white guy there for domestic battery, but everyone else was Black and they were arrested for traffic, retail theft, warrants, etc. Every single person, every single month. The entire court room was filled with Black people. The reason is because the criminal justice system profits off arresting people. Look at the private prison industry. It makes millions every year off of what? Arresting, detaining, and putting Black people in custody.
How it can be fixed:
When you have a criminal justice system that is designed to profit off of people getting arrested, and when you have a prison industry that is designed to profit off people getting arrested and incarcerated, what are the police going to do? They’re going to arrest people because it’s profitable. So it’s not police reform, it’s not just the criminal justice system, it’s the entire economic structure behind it.
The system is not designed to help people. It’s designed to hunt people. Until we reform the entire system and we get [away] from any kind of profit motives, then there will be no reform. There will be no change. You take the money and the profit out of it, that’s when you’ll reform. That’s when you’ll see change.