Police cavalry charges against pedestrians cannot ever be justified as sensible policing or as reasonable force.
- Horses do not disperse people except for a few seconds
- People can be seriously hurt by a horse or by any panic in a crowd that ensues from a cavalry charge
- Horses can bolt putting people, themselves and their riders in danger
- Police riders are insufficiently trained to handle an unruly horse
During a Black Lives Matter protest in London yesterday (June 6th 2020), all of the above happened. One horse panicked and struck a traffic light pole injuring itself and its rider who fell to the ground and then it knocked over and injured a pedestrian. The scene was mayhem and achieved no policing objective.
Metropolitan Police’s operational decision to use cavalry to attempt to move people yesterday was a decision informed by crass stupidity and professional sadism both of which are dominant qualities in the mindsets of senior officers in the Met and its commissioner Dame Cressida Dick. The sadistic intent, toward people exercising the human right to protest politically, comes from the same philosophy shared by police, national guard and others who are tear-gassing, shooting (rubber-coated bullets directly at people’s eyes) and beating Black Lives Matter protesters in USA. Horses are merely a different weapon.
Thousands of people around the world protesting passionately against state racism is a wonderfully positive demonstration of humanity but it also frightens some governments that want use bigotry, xenophobia and racism as tools to divide and distract the public. The fact that the target of the protests is specifically state racism enhances these governments’ fears.
When scared, when fearful of losing control, governments that rely on the public’s subservience know only one method of response to popular political challenges: Violence. If the challenge is to the state’s racism then violent police tactics occur sooner and are executed more widely and viciously.
The Met’s use of cavalry was very stupid. If they could use tear-gas, water-cannons or rubber bullets – none of which are currently options available to them – then they would use them.