Hi guys! Thank you for following us for the past few months! This is our last post and we would like to leave you all with some closing thoughts. We hope that after following this blog and reading our posts, you understand why we need police reform.
In the past few years, there has been an intense focus on our current police system. There have been a number of high profile police shootings where the public has been outraged by the force used by the officer. This has sparked conversations about police reform and how we can prevent the unjust shooting of citizens from happening again.
The first solution to this problem that our blog has argued for is the implementation of body cameras for all on duty police officers. We believe that by passing federal legislation that requires all officers to wear cameras, there will be less brutality against citizens and officers will have more accountability for their actions. If they are wearing cameras, then it will be clear to see when an officer has engaged in misconduct and can be punished. It will also deter officers from using excessive force because they know they are being recorded.
Our second solution to police brutality is the demilitarization of our police force. When police officers are trained like military members and given the same weapons, they will be more likely to use force. If they are equipped to use force, then they will think it’s okay to use it. Our blog found this to be a direct threat to democracy because no police force should have this much power over the people. If we can change the mindset of the police and avoid militarization, then there will be less instances where officers use unjust force.
Our third solution to police brutality is the elimination of stop and frisk. Through our research, we found that stop and frisk laws are biased towards minority men. This shows there is an obvious flaw in the system and the practice should not be used. Therefore, stop and frisk should be outlawed by federal law to ensure equality under the law for all of our citizens, regardless of race.
Police reform is not something that can happen overnight. We need federal laws passed and people in our government to support the cause. We hope that this blog has inspired you to get out there and fight to protect our community!!!
Thank you all!
-Emily, Harrison, Jared, & Steve
In this article by a local Fox outlet in Memphis, there are conflicting statements between the police and an alleged victim of police brutality. Montana Ceasar claims to have been beaten by police after running. He had stitches as well as several bruises on his face. While the police department claims that one officer was involved in the incident, Ceasar claims that four officers beat him after he was apprehended. Caesar was arrested with Daniel Reyes who was tased in the face and was hit in the ribs during this incident. He claimed he ran because he was targeted by a specific officer in the Memphis Police department. As this story unfolds, it has become quite suspicious on the end of the Memphis Police department as the suspects claim that the department is lying in their report of the incident. Both parties are sticking with their stories as investigations by attorneys on both ends continue to look into the case.
In this article, a New Jersey police officer used his connections within the department to avoid jail time. The officer in question, Sgt. William Billingham, claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel while on duty, resulting in a major collision with an SUV. The incident was handled internally at first, and the detective used his undercover pseudonym in the filings. Additionally, the officers at the scene never tested him for alcohol. A later investigation found that Officer Billingham was three times over the legal blood alcohol limit. Despite all of this, the officer struck a plea deal and was able to avoid jail time. He then proceeded to file for pension with the department and retired. He has not received the money yet, but he was never reprimanded internally for the incident and pending meetings can release some of his pension in the near future. I think that this misuse of the system is just another example of corruption within police departments that needs to be addressed.
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Sessions’ Impact on Chicago Police Reform
In this article by the Chicago Tribune, Sessions’ latest move to backtrack on the Obama administration’s steps for police reform is discussed. Sessions’ plan is to “retreat” on consent decrees initiated by the Department of Justice under Obama. Those decrees were intended to review and reform police policy and structure to improve their civil interactions. With this setback, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago has pledged to keep moving forward despite no longer being mandated to do so. Emmanuel said recently that reform is “in our self- interest, and it’s important both for trust and public safety reasons”. One of the bigger steps Emmanuel has taken is the creation of a police reform task force which investigates police violence and makes recommendations on how to improve. Sessions’ decision to pull back nationally on reform doesn’t seem to be stopping the cities that need it the most like Chicago and Baltimore.
NFL Players Demand Reform
In this article, three NFL players took to congress to testify about police violence and the need for reform. One player in particular, Anquan Boldin, discussed his personal connection as he recently lost a cousin to police violence. As the divide between minority populations and police continues to grow, these NFL players used their powerful voices to address the issue. One of the biggest problems they chose to address was the cycle of repeat offenders and the need to change the federal prison system to focus on rehabilitation and education. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who helped organize this NFL congressional panel, emphasized how the “relationship between African- American communities and their police departments across the nation have hovered in a state of volatility, awaiting a single incident to combust”. In the wake of many public shootings followed by mass protests (and in some cases rioting), this assessment by Rep. Conyers conveys a strong message about the delicate social atmosphere.