WWE superstar Mustafa Ali recently spoke to Sports Illustrated to discuss the murder of George Floyd and the problems with the criminal justice system, using his time as a cop in Chicago as reference. Highlights from the interview are below.
Says that Floyd was murdered:
As a former police officer, I can look you 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.
Why he wanted to be a cop:
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.
Talks about the broken police system:
The system is not designed to help people. It’s designed to hunt people. The earliest forms of the police department in this country were put together to capture runaway slaves. So the system is doing exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s not here to help anyone, it’s here to hunt them. The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t something that happened overnight. It’s not something over one Black man being murdered. This is 400 years of getting shoved and hit and kicked and spit on and murdered and raped, insulted and degraded, and killed. This is 400 years of that. The Black Lives Matter movement is essential to the survival of every Black man and woman in this country. Yeah, there’s going to be that permanent scar there and the only way to really repair that relationship is massive change. And yes, it starts with the police.
How the criminal justice system profits off of arresting black people:
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,” says Ali. “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.
Wants to use his WWE platform to combat bigotry:
WWE’s primary purpose is to entertain, but I believe, given this huge platform we have, our responsibility is to also educate,” said Ali. “I’m proud of the fact that when I’ve had the opportunity to educate and speak on matters such as this, I have. I’ve dropped lines in promos where I’ve said, ‘I’ve seen evil amongst the people that I’ve swore to protect and serve, and I’ve also seen evil amongst those that have sworn to serve and protect.’ Anything we can do to get people thinking, get people away from what they routinely believe, is key. Any time I have an opportunity to challenge the narrative or educate, I’m going to do it. The way I’m using my presence as a WWE superstar to help combat bigotry is my mere presence on screen, with the name Mustafa Ali as a form of protest. We as a society like to live in this little box where we try to fit everyone inside this box. If you’re a Black person, you’re a thug. If you’re Middle Eastern, you’re a terrorist. They want to put us inside this box, [but I am] just refusing to live inside that box and be outside that box, refusing to conform in any way. Making them uncomfortable with that is my way of protest, my way of combating bigotry. And I’ll proudly continue to do it.
Full interview below.
I wanted to share the full version of my @SINow interview in which I discuss my support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement as well as how the current policing and criminal justice system does not help people, it hurts people.
Article: https://t.co/1zNkUWuMNg pic.twitter.com/WCQDNCcxz9
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) June 12, 2020