The slogan to defund the police or to abolish the police in the wake of protests against police brutality sparked by the filmed murder of George Floyd has become a new movement. While it sounds like protesters want a lawless state, what it really means is that we need to completely restructure the police department function in the US and to divert the outlandish funding it currently receives into pro-social progams. In many cities, the PD makes up 10x more of the budget than the other services the local government provides (some of which have federal subsidies). It’s gotten this high in the wake of 9/11, even though places like Minneapolis don’t need to be arming themselves for a war. Even small town police departments often have military grade weapons like grenade launchers (!) which are completely unnecessary.
The protests, most of which were peaceful, were frequently attacked by police crew in riot gear, using rubber bullets, batons, and tear gas to terrorize protesters. If you wanted to show police at their worst, it seems they could not have designed it better. We have video of police using shields or their hands to knock down elderly bystanders, an officer groping a female protester, then his fellow officers assaulting a bystander for asking why they were allowing this, and police
teargassing using other chemical agents similar to teargas (smoke and pepper balls) in effect on a peaceful protest to clear a path for an ill-conceived presidential photo-op. Or try this one on for size: a protester was charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” because he (apparently) tossed back a tear gas canister that was thrown into the crowd by the police. Why are we paying the police to assault our citizens with deadly weapons that are banned for use in war by the Geneva convention? If it’s a deadly assault weapon, don’t use it on citizens! A friend of my son was arrested as a protester when the police used a “kettling” technique, corralling protesters, cutting off their exit points, and then waiting until the curfew had passed so they could arrest and cite them for breaking curfew.
If you actually look at the timeline, you’ll see something interesting. The protests became more peaceful the longer they went on, and in many places, particularly larger metropolitan areas, the police response became more violent just as the protests were more peaceful. Why did this happen? It seems to have been a response to the same thing: concerns about looting and violence, and pointed statements that the police weren’t doing enough. Citizens as a whole don’t want violence in their communities, but police don’t want to be seen as weak.
At some point in our history, the police became an unquestioned benefit, a necessity, a sacred cow, and we’ve let them define the terms of this relationship they have with the public. They tell us what they need, and they get it. Defunding the police means that we don’t leave it up to the existing system to redefine itself. We start over with a different design, different roles, and possibly different personnel. As with corporate America, if a department has deep problems, it’s common to require that everyone in that department re-apply for their positions. Several positions may be cut and/or replaced with other functions that the existing staff may not qualify to perform. Plans to defund the police usually entail this step.
Another problem with any existing organization is that the baggage of history has defined where it is now, having shaped it to some extent. There are many historical problems with the police:
- In the south, it was originally a vigilante slave patrol, eventually run by the KKK, specifically designed to target and punish black people and to protect the property and dominance of white people.
- I see the superior smirking north of the Mason-Dixon line, but guess what–it wasn’t a whole lot better up north once free blacks started migrating there! Recent immigrants were disproportionately recruited to police the only people lower than them on the social strata: black people and newer immigrants. These groups ended up aligning within the police force by ethnicity, and their status as police officers gave them more respectability and acceptance in American culture, but often at the expense of those less fortunate and poorer.
- During the prohibition, the police aligned with rule-breaking white people and took bribes to give them cover for breaking a law that literally everyone hated anyway. This type of corruption still exists.
- The police have aligned with politicians who support them through public funding in a mutual back-scratching relationship that is easily corruptible. Who’s policing that? Nobody.
- The police still disproportionately protect the white and wealthy at the expense of the poor and people of color. This is one reason the unleashed dog walker who threatened the black birdwatcher knew that she could call the police and tell them lies about this man, and that he would be the one who would suffer, not her. She used the police as what it often is, a personal security force for white people, a weapon she could use to avoid accountability.
I suggested the slogan “Police the Police” when my other son was creating his protest sign this weekend, but he still preferred “Defund the Police.” I suppose his point is that it’s not just watching them, but it’s dismantling their entire budget and way of thinking, rebuilding from scratch. There are also those recommending we abolish the police entirely, or at least drastically reduce the types of crimes it covers, and mostly these have been from people in communities that are often targeted with police violence. I watched an interview with the owners of the store whose employees called the police when George Floyd paid with a fake $20 bill. The owners said that had they been in the store, this would never have happened, because they know full well as people of color living in Minneapolis that the police are not to be trusted, and $20 is not worth a man’s life. However, their employees did not know this.
The city of Camden, NJ, had a huge problem with their police department and with crime. Their murder rate was 18 times as high as nearby cities. They defunded their police department and completely changed how policing happened, including a few great ideas to build relationships between police and the local community. They put cops on bikes rather than in cars so they were more integrated and accessible. They investigated cops who wrote too many tickets because tickets alienate the community. Once they had built trust, they found that the locals would keep them informed on who was doing what in the community, who was a threat, who committed crimes. The police didn’t go in, guns blazing, interrogating everyone as if they were a possible criminal. They already knew who was doing what because the community was involved.
As for normal training, cops are told that they should consider everyone a criminal suspect. In another podcast I listened to, a reporter said she sat in on a police training where new recruits watched a filmed altercation between police and a suspect. Initially, the recruits gasped in horror at the use of force. The trainer slowed down the video and pointed out why the officer was spooked in the moment, why his over-the-top use of force was “necessary.” The trainer (not a police officer) also explained that the standard for justification was whether the force was what any “reasonable” officer would do. But essentially, the training took normally sensitive citizens, appalled at the violence being used, and desensitized them to the notion of committing acts of violence on citizens because “anyone might be a dangerous criminal waiting to kill you.” This is how you create a trigger happy police force; tell them over and over that if they don’t suspect everyone all the time, they and their fellow officers will die.
I listened to a podcast about the Graham v. Connor case which was a horrifying but typical traffic stop gone awry. If you’ve ever been stopped by the police for speeding or your registration is due, you probably know that sinking feeling. The police are often intimidating in these routine stops because of their training. They do not attempt to de-escalate.
In the ensuing lawsuit, the defense attorney for the officer kept saying the man was being detained as a criminal suspect, but there was no crime. There never was. Idle police officers in a cruiser saw two black men leave a convenience store in a hurry, so they assumed they must have robbed it, and decided to do a “routine” traffic stop. When the passenger got out of the car because he was in diabetic shock and about to have a seizure (they left the crowded store because he couldn’t make the purchase of his much-needed orange juice quickly enough due to a long line), they considered his behavior erratic and suspicious, slammed his head into the car, broke his foot, and cuffed him. But as they said to the judge, he was not under arrest. They finally claimed he was cuffed “for his own protection.”
This is a landmark case because prior to this, police officers could only be charged with a crime if they were proven to have malicious intent, but the new standard handed down by the Supreme Court was whether their behavior was “reasonable” for most police officers. This is a fact the trainer shared in the aforementioned training. Police officers view it as their first amendment, protection from prosecution. “Reasonable” behavior essentially justifies officers’ violence on citizens for almost any reason: they were scared, the person twitched, the “suspect’s” behavior was unusual, other officers would do the same, black people are scary, this was a “bad” neighborhood, or whatever–in short, nothing and anything!
Joe Biden is saying he will not “defund” the police, probably mostly because it’s a phrase that freaks white people out. Kamala Harris schooled Megan McCain on this topic  challenging her to define what she meant by “defunding” the police when Megan asks Kamala if she believed in it. Kamala pointed out some of the problematic structure, but also the outsize budget we pour into the police while underfunding other worthy endeavors like mental health, homelessness, education and poverty. If you address some of these things, you don’t need as many police officers. By the time the police are involved, it’s too late.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Why do we pour so much money into punitive non-solutions like jails and police, and less money into things that prevent the need for jails and police? Why don’t we think more about how to improve the lives of the poor and to reduce income inequality? What about investing in those types of programs, providing shelter for the homeless or reduced income housing? There’s plenty of money to do both if we quit handing out grenade launchers to police departments.
Cops are also pretty ineffective at stopping or investigating crime. Adam Conover discusses the effectiveness of the police in one of his episodes, Adam Ruins Cops. On average, 60% of searches by SWAT teams yield nothing except a ransacked home that is damaged (with no compensation to the residents). Per officer, there is only 1 felony charge per year. He also pointed out that 10% of home raids go to the wrong address. That’s a whole lot of policing (and budget) for little result.
Here in AZ, mere miles from my tony Scottsdale neighborhood, Dion Johnson, a 28 year old black man was killed during a traffic stop, the same day George Floyd was killed. He had a criminal record , and it’s possible he had pulled off the road due to intoxication. None of these things is a capital offense, but many will point to the fact that he’s not a “perfect” victim. The officer, who didn’t have a dash cam or body cam, gave a version of events that didn’t exactly line up with what ADOT cameras showed, including the officer kicking Dion who was laying on the ground after being shot. No action has been taken, and the police department has refused to share the identity of the officer who killed Dion over two weeks ago.
Traffic stops are stressful at the best of times and mostly unnecessary. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop and thought That was a totally necessary thing. I was a danger to myself and others? Sure, drunk drivers are a concern (although most cops don’t just happen to proactively see them when they happen), but most traffic stops are not for imminent danger; they are a source of revenue to police departments. If you’re in love with traffic stops, why not just switch to photo enforcement? Problem solved. Or, hey, you don’t even need to do that. Use a scarecrow! The nearby Catholic school just parks an empty police car near the school zone which reminds people to be vigilant. That’s cheaper than putting live cops in the neighborhood. Move them around to keep people guessing. Rig some of them out with photo enforcement, so people aren’t sure if they will be caught speeding.
Police departments are BY FAR the highest funded services in our government budgets. Did you know that the NYPD has a larger budget than the entire FBI? Here’s an example of how budgets shake out in Columbus, Ohio:
The police are often incredibly unhelpful in reality. As a small business owner myself, the cops have been worthless both times we called. Insurance was the only thing that helped us out. And yet, as a taxpayer, I pay for both. Fortunately, I’ve never been the victim of a crime more serious than robbery. Author and Twitter goddess Gabrielle Blair shares some additional salient points:
The main argument I have heard against defunding the police is “Who are you going to call at 2AM when you need someone??” If you are a person of color, you don’t want the police coming to your house at 2AM. That is the point! Police departments often attract violent people and radicalize non-violent ones by amping up perceived threats and arming them for battle. Often police and prisoners are two sides of the same coin, and police fraternities instill the value of “the blue wall,” a protect-your-own mentality that results in obstruction of justice and stonewalling when a fellow officer is suspected of a misdeed. One of the most damning examples of police department misbehavior was when two officers decked out in full riot gear in Buffalo pushed down a 75 year old man who cracked his head open and was bleeding from his ear. The police rolled right past him with their supervisor barking orders to leave him. When the two cops were held accountable, 57 of their fellow officers lined up to applaud them as they left the hearing and refused to participate in the ERT (Emergency Response Team). They were still paid. There were no adverse consequences to them. They just objected to having to do their jobs (which were probably overkill anyway) without being able to assault citizens as they pleased. That’s not a story about 2 bad cops. That’s a story about 59 bad cops.
Using cops as “peacekeepers” is often ill-fated when people prone to violence self-select into these roles. That police are needlessly violent toward people protesting police brutality is not a coincidence.
Police officers’ individual identity is replaced by a uniform deliberately, in the same way a soldier’s is. We don’t dress police officers like therapists, social workers, or priests. We outfit them like warriors, regardless the task at hand, and we send them into routine tasks with the public decked out like an invasion force.
I don’t expect many Mormons to agree that we should abolish the police or do more than mere reforms, for several reasons, chiefly:
- Most American Mormons are white and middle class and don’t see the police as a threat, but rather heroes who preserve the order in communities keeping their property safe. Many are digesting an unhealthy dose of Fox News which erroneously referred to peaceful protesters as “rioters” six times more often than they used accurate terminology.
- Mormons accept a whole lot of policing and authoritarian behavior in our religion. Consider the BYU Honor Code Office or the annual worthiness interviews or the Temple Recommend interviews required to be able to hold a calling or the annual tithing settlement interview. Consider bishops who call you in without disclosing the reasons for the meeting request. Consider how welcoming so many Church leaders are toward tattling, taking people’s personal opinions as fact and acting on them without regard to common sense or realizing that every story has two sides. Consider that the Church keeps a secret file on so-called dissidents (who are often just scholars and authors).
So what can we do? Here are a few thoughts.
- Overhaul or eliminate police unions and no longer grant police officers qualified immunity.
- In cities where the police departments need the most overhaul (consider total budget vs. preventive measures), require police officers to re-apply for their jobs and reduce positions or redirect to non-policing roles.
- The police can’t oversee themselves. They are really bad at it, and the incentives aren’t pushing them toward good behaviors and judgments. We need community involvement to oversee so-called “internal affairs” investigations.
- Disarm most officers most of the time. A friend of mine who was a bobby in England used a night stick (baton) to patrol, and that was it. While we’re at it, this riot gear is nuts when we can’t even get medical personnel PPE.
- Decriminalize most drug offenses (possession and all its accompanying misdemeanors). Provide more social workers and other types of life coaches to assist those living in poverty.
- Given the inequities in incarceration, we need to remove the stigma of prior incarceration. Felons should be able to vote. Non-violent criminals should not have such a high recidivism rate. Isn’t it likely they are replacing good work experience with a network of criminal contacts? Then, we release them into a workforce that shuns them because of their criminal record!
- Train the police in de-escalation (one of the union leaders spoke out against the de-escalation training that was required under Obama stating that if police attempt to de-escalate, more of them will die. Well, sorry, but the alternative is citizens are dying–a lot!)
- Eliminate most traffic policing through use of photo cop cameras. Or just quit policing dumb stuff altogether. Let social pressures apply.
- Evaluate police killing of citizens on the totality of the case, not on a “reasonableness” standard that favors the perceptions of cops (including unfounded fears). If you are killing someone over a non-violent crime, you are in the wrong. Why are we applying deadly force for non-violent crimes? (Also, we need to quit buying these BS excuses like “he had an underlying condition.” We ALL have an underlying condition called mortality, but we don’t just spontaneously die without the violent act committed on us).
What do you think?
- What else would you suggest to reduce the problems with our current police system?
- Do you think defunding the police is warranted? Abolishing the police?
- Have you learned more about this issue as a result of protests?
 Or according to Fox News, avoiding the question. Fox News is adorable.
 As do one in three black men which should tell you why having a record is not a clear cut reason to dismiss a victim. Black men are disproportionately targeted by police.
Who gets to say “what it really means”?
• Prevent from continuing to receive funds.
‘the California Legislature has defunded the Industrial Welfare Commission’
Perhaps part of the problem is using slogans that mean something in English other than what the more sensible users mean.
“[D]ismantling their entire budget” is what the slogan communicates to many. It does not communicate dismantling their “way of thinking” or “rebuilding” anything. I wonder if such a slogan might whip up opposition more than contribute to accomplishing what you say “it really means.” Maybe words like “retrain” or “rebuild” or “rethink” could be worked into appropriate and communicative slogans, if slogans are needed more than thought.
Thanks for the posting. I tend to agree that we are moving towards a police state. I agree that for almost all police officers, defending each other is more important than telling the honest truth. I agree that police are inefficient in preventing or solving crimes. I agree that police work seems to attract anti-social applicants. I agree that police chiefs dictate to town councils and mayors, rather than loyally and thriftfully serving under them. Still, I see a need for a local constabulary. I hope for police like Andy Taylor rather than Barney Fife, but the pendulum is swinging toward Barney Fife — well, no, not the comic but an amped-up almost psychotic version of Barney.
I hope we can have meaningful discussion on this topic.
Insightful post. Like everyone else, I have been watching the events unfold and even went on one peaceful protest with my wife. I am in agreement with. the defund movement and community based policing. So many calls the police go on are not even criminal in nature and funds can be diverted to social programs. I read where one cite in new jersey did this a few years ago and crime has gone down drastically. I do not know if this would happen with every community, but it would beat the current system of systemic racism and bully police tactics.
Personally, I think this grand Socialist experiment is going to lead to some remarkably awful consequences; likely most apparent in Democratically lead cities. While there may be good intent in it’s attempt – it doesn’t account for the fact that there is true evil in the world; and bad people are going to take advantage of the situation. Really, can you see the west side of Chicago as a “community policed” utopia? I’m all for more training and increasing attention to the proper investment of public funds…..but, I fear the willful ignorance….of some of what is being proposed….more than I do many other things. I think lawlessness…..could bring down the Republic.
I think it’s premature to be making declarations like “defund police”. New priorities for our entire society are in order as part of the solution and when those priorities are determined the goals and methods should follow. But, above all, an equal stake in our share culture and equal protection should be paramount so that we had an equal investment in enforcement of shared goals.
“Wondering” is absolutely right. I suspect that most reasonable citizens are open to the idea that city / state budgets need to be reassessed in the context of out-of-control police. And that’s what we should be communicating. But the slogan “defund” kills the rational argument for that.
I’m with Biden. I don’t support defunding the police. However, I support about everything that the defund the police movement say it’s supposed to mean. But can we choose a different word?
I suppose we can let a dozen cities try defunding the police, then see what happens. I can see a few problems.
First, if there is a move toward “community self-policing,” well that sounds good on paper but in practice you may end up with vigilante actions. Police have training and procedures to follow. Those taken into custody get the benefit of due process, at least most of the time. I don’t see how these protections are provided for in alternative systems. Taking a good look at the bad outcomes that often result from vigilante actions (another name for self-policing) makes police training and procedures look pretty good.
Second, we tend to form bad impressions of police behavior and tactics based on the very worst cases. Now that’s not necessarily an excuse for bad incidents — it’s not like any police chief is likely to issue a statement saying they’re okay with only 1 in 100 suspects dying in police custody. But we also ought to look at the majority of police actions that are done well and ask how to extend that and make all actions turn out well. I think the reforms ought to stress better selection of candidates and hires, more supervision by superiors, more accountability reviews, and continued use of Internal Affairs departments and citizen review boards and input. The system ought to be better at weeding out problem cops sooner rather than later.
You cite Camden as a positive example. I won’t dispute the results on the ground. But there is an aspect that has been overlooked so far. The City of Camden disbanded its police department on the grounds that it was hopelessly incompetent and/or corrupt. It was replaced by a brand new Camden County police department. Reviews of the new department are much better than those of the old. But there are two facts that one must keep in mind before citing this as a positive example of “defunding”:
1. The County Police Department is twice the size of the old city department. This is not what most people have in mind when they call for “defunding.”
2. The county department is responsible to the Camden County Board of Freeholders, which has seven members who are elected at large. None of the current board members are from the City of Camden. The department serves only the city–the rest of the county is served by municipal departments (there is no unincorporated territory in the county). So, in effect, you have a majority black city with a police department that answers to the government of a majority white county. That gives the new department the advantage of a much broader tax base with which to fund it, but it deprives the citizens being policed of any voice in how the department is run. This is not a politically stable long-term solution.
lastlemming: “The County Police Department is twice the size of the old city department.” Yes, but that’s because so many of the “old guard” cops, the most corrupt ones, were highly tenured, overpaid and closed-minded. They could replace two crusty, self-justifying ones with two younger, trainable cops on bikes.
Part of the problem is “defund” means different things to different people. On the extreme end, it means to completely dissolve police departments. I’m not in favor of that, but I might feel differently if I were a racial minority living in an underserved neighborhood, where police responses to 911 calls are weak to non-existent, and where the only interactions citizens have with cops are negative ones. In that case, getting rid of the cops completely might be seen as an improvement.
One interpretation of “defund” involves dissolving municipal departments, and turning over all policing to the county sheriff’s departments. This may be relatively easy to implement in rural areas where this is already the norm, but impractical in the big cities with extensive suburban sprawl and complex overlapping police jurisdictions. Yes, there is redundancy that needs to be removed, but it will put enormous strain on the sheriff’s departments, who will need to expand quickly to fill the void. Another possibility is to federalize all police, as is done in other countries (this comes with it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages).
Another interpretation of “defund” is to slash police budgets, and let the local departments decide on their own how to do more with less. Public schools have been “defunded” for years, but they still exist. Perhaps we could shift more funding to the schools and prevent future crime.
As a veteran, I’m against the militarization of police. Suburban and small town police departments do not need armored personnel carriers, high-powered weaponry or expanded SWAT capability. Ironically, a lot of the militarization of American police forces came as a reaction to the race riots of the 1960s. Also, I’ve been seeing many police departments who wear military style camouflage uniforms as part of their riot gear, which I disapprove of. Police need to be visible and distinguishable from military forces.
Departments also need to rethink how they recruit and hire. Stop hiring hyper-macho (but deeply insecure) alpha males, sociopaths, gun nuts and former school bullies. Many departments are plagued with cultures of toxic masculinity. Hire and promote more women, minorities, etc. Screen for empathy (or lack thereof).
The Camden NJ example provides a good model to work from. In that case, they essentially pushed the reset button on the whole police department by firing everyone and making them re-compete for their old jobs (fewer than half were hired back into the new department). Sometimes it takes a drastic action such as that to purge a toxic culture from an organization.
Ultimately, I don’t think defunding is the answer because it’s going to cost a lot of money make the improvements our society needs. If we want to transform our police departments from paramilitaries into roving uniformed social workers and conflict resolution experts, its not going to be cheap or easy.
For a uniquely LDS perspective on the issue of defunding/disbanding police, consider the matter of the BYU Police Department facing its own decertification. BYU (and by extension, the Church) have been fighting tooth and nail to keep their department certified, even though they were shown to mishandle privileged law enforcement records and bungle rape investigations, and continue to insist on having full police authority (to make arrests, traffic stops, access public law enforcement databases, etc.) despite being a privately funded entity with no public oversight. The arrogance of the administration of BYU (and the Church) to believe that they deserve to be above the law is infuriating.
“Defund” is not a helpful term for describing what people are proposing. Too often democrats/liberals are poor communicators and, as a result, undermine their own objectives.
My only experience with police (LAPD)is when someone broke into our home while we were at work. They came out and, basically did nothing. The perp had left visible fingerprints and blood behind(must’ve cut themselves when they broke the window.). They only took samples of the fingerprints because I asked them to.
We Americans are very ignorant about our racial history. I listened to a very interesting podcast in 2017 on FreshAir with author Richard Rothstein. We have friends whose house (in central coastal California) was built in the 1940’s for military officers. They saw an early deed that said no one of color can occupy that house unless they are a servant.
Cops have a hard job. And, though I think “the good ole boys club” is a problem in many parts of society, we need to find ways to make it easier to fire/discipline/punish the bad apples.
I can see why a cop might be reluctant to report abuses of power on his partner because that partner might be needed to protect his own life. Cameras should be required and certain footage regularly reviewed by a panel which includes people from the community.
Does the hiring process for cops involve psychological exams? If not, then that should be implemented as well.
For-profit prisons are another perpetrator of justice system dysfunction, requiring a steady stream of dangerous marijuana smokers to pay shareholders.
I agree that “Defund” is an inadequate word for the situation – but we are probably stuck with it. So we better get good at succinctly explaining what it means to us.
The other side 0f the policing coin is the prison system. In many jurisdictions, prisons are for-profit enterprises hungry for more customers. Even government jails and prisons are bureaucracies with an appetite for funding and career-building. It’s time to look at other systems throughout the world that experience better penalization outcomes at far less cost per offender.
The current police/prison system is a huge budget suck. It seems to be better at punishing than reforming and doesn’t do enough to reduce recidivism.
Thanks, everyone, for many thoughtful recommendations.
BTW – I have a relative in the BYU police department (25+ years there). They have a stash of riot gear and fully automatic rifles.
The first thing that needs to go are police unions. A lot of police departments would love to clean themselves up, but they just can’t do it. Union contracts make it impossible. Public service unions in general are a bad idea. Police unions, prison guard unions, teachers unions… they’ve all got to go. As for Minneapolis’ police department, they’ve pretty much proven they need to start over entirely there.
Don’t promote fake news about tear gas being used in Lafayette Park. This was debunked over a week ago. Smoke and pepper balls were used, per the Park Police.
To answer your bottom set of questions, many LDS do not see near the problems that many others in the country do. Your top 3 are:
1) Overhaul or eliminate police unions and no longer grant police officers qualified immunity.
2) In cities where the police departments need the most overhaul (consider total budget vs. preventive measures), require police officers to re-apply for their jobs and reduce positions or redirect to non-policing roles.
3) The police can’t oversee themselves. They are really bad at it, and the incentives aren’t pushing them toward good behaviors and judgments. We need community involvement to oversee so-called “internal affairs” investigations.
1) Most LDS are Republicans and do not favor public sector unions of any kind. We (LDS) agree on the union portion. I think that qualified immunity is generally good. Many good officers will leave if it is removed.
2) See #1. Most of the worst cities for policing are run by Democrats (see Minneapolis, DC, LA, Chicago, etc) Mormon areas have fewer problems.
3) Some jurisdictions have the ridiculous rules that a Mayor cannot fire the police chief, and there is no other outside check on the police. An elected sheriff is much better, or have the elected Mayor be the fully authorized boss of all police functions. Have internal affairs report directly to an elected official or board, like the city council.
Some other observations: De-escalation training is pointed at by national law enforcement commentators as one of the reasons death by police has been consistently falling. Another is that the police are hesitant to fire weapons at dangerous suspects and they rightly say that while deaths of suspects are dropping, police killed in the line of duty are rising.
Also, while many protests now are peaceful, some cities are more dangerous than ever. The police are focused on mass protests, but violent crime is at an all time high in Chicago, for example. Police inattention is noticed by the criminal element. Food for thought for any going to mass protests, are you contributing to a crime wave?
An alternate explanation for the reduction in violence as the protests have gone on. Police and the National Guard are doing their jobs combating rioters, after some initial poor work. The bad actors like Antifa and other thugs have been identified and some have been arrested after the fact. The tactic of leaving projectiles on the streets where protests are scheduled has been taken away. When the thugs are cleared out, the peaceful protests stay peaceful.
One appealing idea I’ve heard tossed around: bring back mounted police units. A cop patrolling a neighborhood on horseback is highly visible in the community, and commands respect. A mounted officer can see potential threats from further away, move faster than on foot, and can go places cars cannot. Most importantly, a cop on a horse can more easily make face-to-face connections with members of the community–much more than the officers cocooned inside a patrol car with a loaded shotgun in reach. As a bonus, requiring police officers to become skilled equestrians will weed out many of the lowlife dirtbags and bullies that eventually become bad cops–the ones that have no business being cops in the first place.
Martin, I don’t care for police unions either, but the problem government employee unions won’t budge an inch if it impacts them too.
For the record:
“U. S. Park Police says officers used “pepper balls,” not “tear gas.” It’s true pepper balls, which contain a pepper spray-like irritant, have a different makeup than another chemical typical referred to as “tear gas” (and which USPP specifically says it didn’t use). But some sources consider pepper spray a type of tear gas, while others say both chemicals have the same effect on people.
According to the Scientific American and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pepper spray is a type of “tear gas” or “riot control agent.”
Dr. Ranit Mishori, senior medical adviser for Physicians for Human Rights and a Georgetown University professor of family medicine, told us in an email: “Tear gas and pepper spray both belong to a class of crowd-control weapons known as chemical irritants.” The chemical makeup is different, but the impact on people is similar. “
el oso: You mention that Utah is generally safer / has better police relations. Perhaps, but just during the recent protests there were two things in SLC that were incredibly disturbing: 1) a decked out in riot gear cop went out of his way to cross the street and used his shield to knock down an old man with a cane who was just watching the protest. He wasn’t even a protester. He probably lived nearby. He was knocked onto the ground by this cop. His fellow officers did quickly come over and help the man up, so it was perhaps one lone idiot, but still, and 2) some nut job pulled up, got out of his truck, and shouting All Lives Matter pointed a loaded hunting bow at a protester, prepared to shoot. He was jumped by the protesters who also trashed his car. The police did not detain him for attempted murder, and in fact protected him and released him and he spent the afternoon doing interviews. He also came back with a hunting knife to threaten protesters. He has still never been arrested.
As to “most of the worst cities” being run by Democrats, let’s not mix up cause & effect. Correlation is not causation.
The fact that many cops would quit if they didn’t have qualified immunity is something that should give us all pause. Think about what that means. If they may be held accountable for killing citizens or for excessive use of force / bad judgment, they don’t want to do the job. Right. People who don’t want to do the job under those circumstances probably should not be in the job.
I was in a neighborhood yesterday that I had never been to before here in Phoenix, talking to someone I know who lives there. She pointed out that a cop was killed at the house kitty-corner from hers when he went in to evict a mentally ill tenant who had a gun. It’s terrible that this happened, obviously, but there are so many more questions: 1) why did this mentally ill person have a gun?, 2) why do we send cops in to deal with this type of problem? If we are making someone homeless for non-payment, do we have other ways to solve this type of problem? What about relocating to some type of government housing with mental support?
Just like everyone else, I don’t want cops to be killed in the line of duty, but we use cops for things that they aren’t really trained for, we apply severe consequences to the poor, and we create crimes when we treat financial and mental issues like crimes.
Also consider that it’s not exceptional that we should ask someone to be able to deal with crazy people, bad actors, those who make unreasonable demands or use insults and threats against them. Every minimum wage barista is required to deal with the public and to do it with a smile while de-escalating bad situations.
I think all the observations and context in the OP are so important. After such a long list, it’s sad that I can add more: police in Seattle and New York illegally taping over their badges and name plates to dodge accountability; video footage of police in many locations planting bins of bricks, breaking their own car windows, etc.; police cooperating with terrorist groups like proud boys at protests; self-proclaimed law enforcement in San Diego and DC who will however not identify their unit or their badge number and therefore for all we know could be violent impersonators; unlawful arrests that withhold phone call, medical care, and Miranda rights and fail to return personal property upon release. I have also learned of multiple cases where the sole cop who *did* try to deescalate or intervene in excessive force was the only cop fired, on the grounds that they endangered their colleagues. This week has moved me from a position of ‘Policing needs substantial reform’ to ‘Many (most?) police units are violent gangs who routinely break the law, kill, assault, and obstruct justice, and should be eliminated.’
I like the word ‘defund’ very well. It very efficiently moves us to the main point: police units must justify the $ amount that we taxpayers invest in them. Given that they do not succeed at protecting and serving black taxpayers, and given that they lack the capacity for situationally appropriate responses, they are failing their whole job description and thus can not justify their ballooning expenditures. The problem with ‘reform’, ‘retrain’, etc is that it leaves too much room for wimpy placating responses that won’t solve the problem–for example, city councils could claim to be responding by forming a committee, firing one officer, spending *more* money on implicit bias trainings that evidence shows don’t work, or simply making more records public. Several of those would actually increase police budgets and total personnel, and all of them perpetuate the idea that the status quo is almost ok. Many here are saying they dislike the term ‘defund’, but are also going on to talk in detail about ways to change the flow of money, including shifting responsibilities to other social service departments and eliminating military style equipment purchases. That’s clear evidence that ‘defund’ was exactly the right choice and is thoroughly succeeding. The point is well taken that everybody knows ‘defund’ can mean reduce $ some as well as reduce to $0… consider how it’s used in relation to planned parenthood, public universities, Obamacare, and federal science agencies. And for those who feel that ‘defund’ is too extreme sounding, I will remind you that many activists who have been thinking about all of this for the longest would say ‘defund’ is too gentle–they are using ‘abolish.’
Also I very much agree with p about for profit prisons.
To Jack Hughes, I don’t like the equestrian cops idea because it would increase police spending and would not in any way help the main problem that police cultivate ill will toward civilians and then enact those impulses with impunity. I think the last thing cops need is even more symbols of power. Consider this video of a mounted cop using the horse to trample a protestor this week. https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=549227162428843&_rdr
If he can’t control the horse, he’s got no business having one. If he can, it was deliberate.
Without freedom of movement, personal liberty (in speech and in action) and application of our Bill of Rights to everyone equally – and I do mean everyone – even those who happen to have been born white (and who are currently being shamed – across the board -for their heritage, whatever it may actually be) we’re all headed for anarchy; and the destruction that will come along with it. People of all races are terrified of what’s currently happening in our country; and not all of the outcomes of this terror and fear are positive. I stopped by a local store today (which happens to sell firearms and ammunition – along with everything else) and the line of people (black, white, Asian, Latino etc) purchasing firearms for personal protection, snaked out of the door; into the parking lot. In other words, they’re preparing for the worst. Any idea, program or action which promotes lawlessness……………..is in my opinion suicidal insanity; on a massive scale.
With respect to tear gas: very well, we can be more specific and say ‘CS gas’ which is unequivocally a banned form of chemical warfare under the Geneva convention. DC law enforcement disputed that they used it after blowback, but there were empty CS cannisters found on the street and they are being disingenuous on many counts, so I don’t believe them. Regardless, it’s undisputed that CS gas has been used against protestors in quite a number of other US cities in the past couple weeks. This includes such heavy use that it seeps into surrounding homes with children and elderly, where it is inescapable for hours and can poison unsealed food and require professional cleaning to remove.
^^ sorry, in the Chemical Weapons Convention, not Geneva.
Some figures to quantify the problem. US police kill 46.6 / 10million citizens Australian police 1.7 Germany 1.3, UK 0.5, Denmark, and Switzerland 0.
So it is not as if they are 20% worse, they are worse by factors of between 20, to 40 times.
Part of the problem is that there are 17,985 judicial systems in America each with its own police force, judges etc, and prison system. As there are just under 1 million police, and there are some very large police forces, there must also be a lot of very small forces.
In Australia there is a federal police force, and each state has a police force., which makes them large enough that they have a recruitment dept, that can vet applicants carefully, a training department, and an ethical standards division. With larger systems you can also have a statistics division, to compare individual officers, and geographic areas, to find outliers.
I have a daughter who has been an Australian federal police officer for 18 years, she carries a hand gun while on duty, but it does not come home, and she can not even wear uniform home. She has never fired her gun except during regular training. If she draws her gun it causes an enquiry. She wears a body cam while on duty. She is a bomb appraisal specialist, and has done an exchange with Boston PD.
Why BYU would need its own private police force I can not comprehend?
It is not just the police that need review, the whole justice, and prison system does. There are 2.3 million people in prison in America, but 10.6 million are sent to prison each year.
Imagine you are very poor, get a speeding ticket, can’t afford to pay, court persuades you to plead guilty then sends you to prison for 3 months. You lost your job, you have a prison record, your family is in deeper poverty, and minus a patent. One in 3 black americans has been to prison, usually because of poverty.
For years conservative politicians have run on law and order. That is code for put more poor / black people in prison.
In November you have a party offering reform to reduce killing and imprisoning citizens, versus a party offering more law and order in a country whose police kill more citizens than anyone, and a judicial system that imprisons more of its citizens than anyone else in the world . This might be the year to say this is the biggest moral issue facing America, we need to vote enough democrats in to have the power to get this fixed.
“And we, from the whole of our life experience there, have concluded that there is only one way to withstand violence: with firmness.”
― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West
“You have to understand the nature of Communism. The very ideology of Communism, all of Lenin’s teachings, are that anyone who doesn’t take what’s lying in front of him is a fool If you can take it, do so. If you can attack, strike. But if there’s a wall, retreat. The Communist leaders respect only firmness and have contempt for persons who continually give in to them.”
― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West
“I am not a critic of the West; I am a critic of the weakness of the West. I am a critic of a fact we can’t comprehend: how one can lose one’s spiritual strength, one’s will power and possessing freedom, not value it, not be willing to make sacrifices for it.”
― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West
It appears that history is beginning to repeat itself once again…….
Insert quote by Jesus in in response to quote by Solzhenitsyn.
Insert quote by Ghandi in response to other quote.
Insert quote by Dahli Lama in response to other quote.
Continue in this manner, citing other religious, political, and philosophical thinkers and leaders.
I asked my friend whose son is a police officer what he thinks about what is going on. One thing he said is that the police are being asked to do too much—like taking care of people who are mentally ill, policing schools etc.
Once again, wheat and tares shows its fake news liberal media bias. The 75 year old man pushed down in slc was an agent of antifa, a radical organization of anarchists, placed there to make the police look bad, per Trumps tweet. Here is a fake news media story about it.
(I hope y’all can sense my sarcasm here; I’m trying to lay it on as thick as I can)
Rockwell: Ugh, it’s appalling that we have a president suggesting such a ridiculous conspiracy theory. Truly.
To go back to the example I shared upthread about a police officer killed in the line of duty because he was sent to evict a man who wasn’t paying his rent and who said he had a gun. Why was a shootout / stand off the best solution we could come up with in this situation? Imagine being the person with the gun. I was told he was mentally ill, which may be the case. He was certainly desperate. By killing the officer, he no longer has to face homelessness, not that being in prison is great either, but due to his poverty (lost job due to Covid I believe), those were his two options: jail or the street. That’s why a cop is dead now, and this person’s life is also ruined.
I know for sure that most of my conservative friends would say “That cop was a hero, and this is why we can’t defund the police, and the people who owned that house shouldn’t have to house him for free!” I don’t believe the home owners should have to keep housing him for free, but we need a better solution. Why are the cops, with guns blazing, in charge of this problem? Couldn’t we do better? What about low income housing options or a mental evaluation? What about a social worker?
Geoff – Aus – I am not arguing why BYU needs a police force, but it is normal for larger universities to have their own law enforcement agancy. I live in California and each UC Campus has their own police force as does Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, etc… Whether universities need their own PD is another question, but BYU is in good company when it comes to having its own police force.
Gillamesh, No university in Australia has a police force. Perhaps they are hotbeds of crime? They call the state police when needed. If you have a small force, they have to justify their existence by finding problems.
I think your review should remove all but the federal departments FBI, etc, and one police force/ state. I gather there is someone at state level registring BYU police. Is there already a Utah police force?
Hmmm, I’m a little bit skeptical about campus police in general. My first job was on a college campus, and from what I saw, the role of campus police was to prevent everyone from being busted every single weekend for underage drinking and to convince rape victims not to go to the police, and at BYU, we demonstrated very clearly through the SLTrib investigation that a primary role of the BYU police dept was to terrorize rape victims with honor code investigations.
Side note. The US spends more on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) than it does on Section 8 housing for the poor.
“In 2015, the MID [Mortgage Interest Deduction] cost the federal government $71 billion, more than double the $29.9 billion funding for Section 8.” https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/imbalance-housing-aid-mortgage-interest-deduction-vs-section-8/
We have the money to work towards eliminating poverty. I hope as these deep injustices are revealed, we will have the political will to work toward real solutions.
Another side note.
p and Marrissa have an important point about the necessity of restructuring our prison system. Along with police reforms we must reform our prison system.
Norway provides a model for how prisons might be run. Watch “Breaking the Cycle” to see how the Halden Prison in Norway works to humanize its prisoners. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OaXWT2tsFlA&feature=emb_title
For the record, the 2017 tax act reduced the tax expenditure for mortgage interest by more than half, so it’s now in the same ballpark as Section 8. Of course, that was more than offset by the reduction in corporate tax rates, so it’s not like everything is dandy. But the good guys need to stay away from obsolete comparisons.
Why would you quote tear gas being against the Geneva convention when it doesnt apply to law enforcement? Do some reading on geneva, law of war, and title 10 before you start spewing cnn talking points.
Have any of you actually inhaled CS gas before? You know you can look up the technical manuals for this stuff online right?
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare in the convention was meant to prevent the use of highly lethal gases which were used to terrible effect in WWI. Tear gas would only potentially be lethal maybe if you had a pre existing condition like tiny heart syndrome. I’ve breathed CS gas several times in my life, it’s not that bad.
And no, no it doesnt stick around in buildings for hours. If you’re worried about breathing something lethal, stay home and stop spreading covid-19.
When I first heard #defundpolice my gut instinct was “oh, heck no.” As many comments above have discussed, bad choice of wording. But after having looked into the premise behind the hashtag slogan, I believe it is a deliberate choice, in part as another avenue for folks who are clueless about racism to learn. Or not, if the instinct is to continue willfully ignoring this persists. Black folks are so angry at having to live with this insane level of injustice, and I don’t fault them for it.
Toni Morrison said of the LA riots in 1993, “What struck me most about those who rioted was how long they waited. the restraint they showed. not the spontaneity, the restraint. they waited and waited for justice. and it didn’t come. no one talks about that…”
That’s what amazes me the most, the level of maturity and human compassion found among Black activists, in spite of the daily battle they fight, so much that they haven’t burnt it down. Yet.
It seems the least we White folks can do is believe them and take the overwhelming evidence of police excesses seriously. And if the terminology makes us uncomfortable, well that’s a normal consequence of facing uncomfortable facts. Trust me, it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as dying from a police mistake.
Let’s call it AssayROI on law enforcement taxpayer funding, and get on with the work of reforming corruption. Starting now, and continuing next November.
I know that my friends who generally embrace Liberalism – if not Democratic Socialism – have been celebrating and applauding what they see as a major advance in obtaining Social Justice and moving the country forward to a better place. Ironically, I (and I think most of the country) agreed with them….that is before the rioting, burning, looting, racial shaming and destruction of property started. Personally, I think what has happened since…has sadly “hurt the cause” in a major way.
Obviously, no one can know what all of the American people are thinking and feeling right now….but what I sense from people around me, in my community…and online…is right now millions of Americans (of all colors) are furious with what’s happening in the country and with those who are embracing anarchy. For me at least . ..I’m confident that if this spills over into neighborhoods all hell is going to break loose: and no one will be able to control it.
Sure the cops who killed George Floyd need to be punished, absolutely everyone must work on driving racism out of out lives and behaviors and Amen to striving to treat everyone with dignity and respect…..
However, if one group continues in their efforts to destroy the country, re-write or destroy the history which is ours (both good and ill) …and decides that the United States is no longer worthy to it’s sovereignty….something truly awful is going to be ignited. For me….over the next few weeks, I’m hopeful that everyone can take a step back…take a deep breath….and not willingly throw ourselves into the abyss.
Lefthandloafer, Here’s the thing. Your final paragraph can easily be applied to the current right wing of America. Actually, more so to it than the small, small minority of people looting and ’embracing anarchy.’
Lefty, I’m not sure I follow your meaning in every part of your comment, but no matter. I too have a healthy fear of demonstrations & etc. happening in my neighborhood, and I recognize the evil that plagues Black people as something that could turn on me and mine.
But I don’t fear the abyss anytime real soon. The demonstrations after the assassination of Martin Luther King were worse and the country survived. Ive been impressed by the remarkable restraint shown by many of the demonstrators, who are rightfully angry and intend to be heard, but stop short of calls to burn it all down.
My perspective is that no one seeks to “destroy the country” by defunding the police, least of all black folks. They are amazingly articulate about what is happening to them with police brutality, and insist that it is a systemic problem (correct) that we should examine and reform, and in some cases abolish and start anew. We can dismantle some redundant police agencies entirely (looking at you ICE)and make many other changes that free up the funding needed to train police to handle all the problems we ask of them to resolve. The for-profit incarceration systems in this country should be abolished, and replaced by something with no profit motive. We should fund the programs that build communities.
These are reasonable reforms that Black folks are insisting that we actually work for. But if we continue to gaslight them about their own lived experience, and stonewall them when they protest peacefully (didja see the NFL apologize to players who took a knee?) or not so peacefully, they have no stake in the game and it’s possible to have the scenario you fear.
I think it’s prudent to work to build anti-racism among us White folks, and run White supremacy out of government as permanently as possible.
Loved your response Mdearest. Very articulate, well reasoned and mature. Thanks.
-I’m aware that CS gas is banned in military use but is currently not prohibited domestically. I’m saying that whereas it is considered too harsh for war settings, it’s bizarre to use in the middle of a residential neighborhood, where limits on possible harms should be *more* stringent, not less.
-I’m aware that it’s considered sublethal. But the exceptions–people with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma, people at risk for epilepsy or heart conditions, recurring exposure, and exposure in a confined space–are all relevant to riot control use. Even limited exposure of groups of young and healthy adults for army training was shown to increase their risk of acute respiratory disease. It can also cause blindness and burns, and more severe effects on children. Moreover, there are some indications that it could cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and/or cancer which have not been well studied in people. I consider these harms and risks unacceptable for indiscriminate spraying on mixed crowds in public spaces, especially during a respiratory pandemic. Peer-reviewed summary of relevant studies: doi 10.1111/nyas.13141
-CS gas is a powder that eventually settles onto surfaces which are contaminated until cleaned. My statements about its effects in homes were based mainly on commentary by chemists and public health experts who I follow on Twitter. This article is in good agreement with their viewpoints: https://www.propublica.org/article/tear-gas-is-way-more-dangerous-than-police-let-on-especially-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic
I’m also looking at footage and first person accounts such as this: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/06/04/43840246/seattle-residents-got-tear-gassed-in-their-own-apartments
I don’t watch CNN.
Lastlemming– Apologies for failing to update my information about housing expenditures.
The fact I quoted, however, is still true. In 2015 we spent over twice as much on mortgage interest deductions than on Section 8 housing supports for the poor.
It’s relevant in that it supports Angela C’s point that we could be approaching problems differently. It validates that we are a nation with resources. With thoughtful policy decisions we could approach problems in a more successful manner. Other countries have managed to do so. Instead, over the last few years we have undermined the minimal safety nets that have been in place.
I apologize in advance for the rambling, stream of consciousness nature of this comment. Hopefully it is somewhat coherent. I think it’s interesting you pointed out that “correlation is not causation” when that’s exactly what we’re assuming with “defunding” -used here in the more extreme sense, but in any case, some matter of downsizing or eliminating the police. The “statements of facts” being made that they are not just correlated with worse responses, more violence, etc. but that they (or their budgets) are actually the cause of most crime or escalation of crime. I am not entirely sure we aren’t conflating issues here. Reforming the police was supposed to be about one main issue- police brutality,systemic racism and deadly force, and particularly against Black men. At least that’s what I kept hearing when people would say “but what about black on black crime?” I heard “That’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about the police and their crimes against Black people.” Or broken homes, homes without fathers “ That issue is not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about police and their crimes against Black people”.. So going off into a world where we are thinking about rebuilding society without police seems to be a little too far removed from the original “That’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about the police and their crimes against Black people.”I don’t know if that made sense, but it seems the first step would just be to fix a system not dismantle it. It’s much easier to fix a broken system that to rebuilt from scratch. It can and has been done. I have lived in 10 states around the country, including during the incredibly corrupt administration in Detroit (google former Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, currently serving time in a federal prison for corruption and fraud charges that are perhaps the worst I’ve ever seen for a mayor) so we know that democrats/liberal policies don’t automatically translate into better policies. It also hasn’t shown that more money/resources automatically equals better results. But I don’t think funding more resources could hurt. I am completely on board with funding more social services and especially mental health services. A little bit of therapy, support and medication goes a long way for many people who are on the edges of society, and most of them can’t afford it. I am passionate about the good non profits and well funded community services can do . But they can’t do it alone, and a well run police force is integral to a high functioning society. My mother is white. In the 60’s she joined her college’s black student union in solidarity with the Civil Rights Movement in southeastern VA. She graduated with a degree in sociology and was a social worker in the inner city in the 70’. She worked for the juvenile detention center where her boss and most of her co workers were Black. Her boss suggested she conceal carry. She was a 5 ft, 100 lb woman in the inner city. I see the racist, sexist, all the “ist” overtones in that one sentence. And I didn’t make it. Her boss did, and after some nearly dangerous confrontations that she made it out of safely by the grace of God, she did. She was well trained (she was classified as a sharp shooter) in her firearm and in her field. Growing up she told me you absolutely never unholster a gun unless you’re prepared to kill someone. Not injure, not scare, but kill. She wanted us to know that was the burden you carry if you decide to carry. . That is, make sure the reason you’re using that weapon meets the criteria for deadly force. It was definitely a different era. But, if you now have cops acting as social workers, are you going to in the future have social workers turn into cops? Everyone is so cavalier about “just send in social workers to deal with these crises ! They know what they’re doing, they’re trained to de escalate!” It’s actually very dangerous and many of them aren’t entirely comfortable going into some of these high tension, high risk situations either. It’s just an interesting thought experiment to me. It is so disturbing to me to put a Barista with good
customer service on the level of a social worker or even a cop (no offense to Barista’s). A highly emotionally charged domestic situation involving abuse, substance addiction, child custody disputes,etc. are a lot different than an angry or disgruntled Starbucks customer. One of my friends who is a cop, and not LDS or even particularly religious, said if people didn’t drink alcohol, his calls would drop by about 50-60%.And he isn’t talking about just alcoholics, but party/club goers who become violent and belligerent , drunk drivers, Drunken domestic violence, etc. and yet no one would dare propose we try to get rid of alcohol (again) . I just wonder what our true priorities are. If we cared so much, would we be willing to see “recreational” alcohol as a problem?,We won’t touch the uncomfortable part of all this, morals, values, family structure, a church community (not my church, any church/Synagogue/ Mosque, etc). Apparently it’s much easier to completely deconstruct half of the criminal justice system and money will solve the problems of society. But I’m going off on a tangent. Communities who work together with police have the highest success rates. Communities with high drug use and gang problems aren’t scared of the police. They are afraid of retaliation, and they have an anti-snitch policy and mentality. Only when this breaks down and they cooperate with law enforcement are they successful at taking back their communities (because I’ve watched it happen). I also encourage you to listen to interviews with Marc Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans and current president of the National Urban League’s take on reforming police departments. I don’t agree with all
or it but he did an excellent job in New Orleans PD, which had a notoriously bad reputation. Quote from a recent interview –
“MORIAL: That you have to fix policing from top to bottom. You’ve got to fix the hiring system, the training system, how you deploy and what you emphasize. You’ve got to fix the disciplinary system so that you have a no-nonsense disciplinary system and that officers who don’t make it, officers who cause problems, officers who violate the rules are going to be terminated. You’ve got to, if you will, think about how you deploy your resources. You’ve got to build relationships with the community. It was an overhaul that took the New Orleans Police Department from worst to first. Took it from a very broken agency, the one that earned national accreditation, and the – it’s a systemic rebuilding of a police department or of an organization…“
Adding a comment here so that I can more easily search for and find it in 2 or 3 years’ time. By then, violent crime statistics for 2020 and 2021 will have been collected and we can evaluate one result from this social experiment. I’ll even stick my neck out and guess the outcome. I expect that cities in which outrage is highest and de-fund the police is strongest will sadly see a rise in violent crime. Moreover, the disproportionate victims will be black lives. And many will say it doesn’t matter.
Pagan: One thing to consider that this movement is highlighting is that our current crime statistics are pretty meaningless. We incarcerate more people per capita than any other nation. We incarcerate people of color disproportionately. We incarcerate for petty crimes at a much higher rate. Our “war on drugs” has led to all sorts of abuses of power. Those who live in “high crime” areas are saying they’d rather deal with the petty crimes themselves as business owners than having the police-on-citizen crimes that are being committed routinely (the owners of the store whose employees called 911 specifically said this, that the police were not to be trusted where their store is, and that $20 isn’t worth a man’s life which they could have predicted).
For white people, we’ve already effectively abolished the police. As a white woman, I haven’t seen a cop car with lights on or a cop interacting with people in my neighborhood in all the 14 years we’ve lived here. Not once.