Monday, March 2, 2015

Say No to Police Brutality

Recall the story of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black male that died in the hands of a white officer. He was placed in a choke-hold that resulted in his death. This entire ordeal was recorded on video and yet a NY grand jury decided not to indict the officer. Charles Krauthammer, a Fox News contributor and leading conservative columnist, called the grand jury decision "totally incomprehensible." That is exactly what it is. It is incomprehensible that one can so easily get away with killing another human being. Granted he was a police officer performing his duties, but can we not agree that he did so by excessive force?

The issue here is not only of race but more so police brutality. Police brutality does not discriminate. Unfortunately, it affects those most impacted by the criminal justice system and it should be no surprise that it is people of color. As law professor David Troutt remarked, it is evident that “We probably don’t need another national conversation about race as much as we need one about law reform.” We can undertake reform in a variety of ways such as taking prosecution out of the hands of local DA’s and allowing prosecutors from different states to intervene or have a commission set up within the state to handle such cases. Police departments can be required to maintain reliable records on their use of excessive force. Additionally, they should focus on community-based policing instead on the militarization of police.

To bring about an end to police brutality we must want it bad enough.  There are a number of organizations that people can join or support such as the National Association Against Police Brutality (NAAPB), Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB), and Communities United Against Police Brutality. The National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) is doing a tremendous job on fighting for justice in police misconduct cases.  They are a non-profit membership organization of plaintiff's lawyers, law students and legal workers dedicated to ending police abuse of authority through coordinated legal action, public education, and support for grassroots and victims' organizations combating police misconduct.

Currently, there is a petition circulating online requesting the U.S Attorney General to embark on a national investigation against police brutality. They are just over 700 signatures needed to reach the goal of 35,000. It can be done! Simply click on this link  

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