The arguments over Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, the guy who was gunned down in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, and many others, continues. It seems there’s a new incident every day or so and, to make it even worse, it seems as if this has been going on forever, it’s just the recent proliferation of camera phones and rapid communication systems like Twitter have suddenly made it visible.
There is one question we should be asking, though, and it doesn’t even seem like most of us are at that stage yet. The question is “What can be done about it?”
For tonight’s blog I’m just going to cut and paste because my facebook friend Bill Allyn has compiled a list of actions that could be taken to correct this situation, and done a better job of it than I could. I think numbers 12 and 13 should be numbers 1 and 2, and there are a few others where we might quibble over details, but overall I think he’s done a magnificent job.
Here’s the list:
1. Create citizen oversight committees with powers of subpoena and prosecutorial discretion for every law enforcement agency in the country.
2. Require law enforcement officers to be personally insured to protect taxpayers from lawsuits. Too risky for insurance? No insurance, no badge.
3. Require every law enforcement officer to wear a camera. No camera, no gun. No exceptions.
4. Require yearly psyche tests and lie detector tests to screen out bad apples.
5. Require monthly drug and steroid tests.
6. All police agencies must keep a database of every officer-caused civilian injury, shooting or killing, and that data must be periodically transmitted to a third-party, non-biased national database.
7. Any officer involved in a shooting must be alcohol and drug tested immediately.
8. Officers should be made aware of studies on abuse of power, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures.
9. Create a special number to report police brutality.
10. Create national database of bad cops, so they don’t just get hired elsewhere.
11. Reverse militarization of police forces. Take away military “toys”, weapons, APC’s, uniforms, etc. Keep SWAT/military weapons and equipment under lock and key only to be used in genuine emergencies.
12. End drug prohibition/war on drugs. Use harm reduction strategies.
13. End private prison industry.
14. Create a national organization dedicated to these ideals.
That’s it. Share if you agree.