Monday Morning Thoughts II: #BlackLivesMatter Moves to the Policy Realm

Share:

blacklivesmatter

It was a movement born of anger and frustration, but if #BlackLivesMatter is to be anything more than a momentary blip in history, it has to be able to forge a cohesive policy reform agenda. As their ten-point plan bears out, they lay out a very credible and very reasonable policy ground to build upon.

First, they say to end Broken Windows policing. They write, “A decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities – a practice called Broken Windows policing – has led to the criminalization and over-policing of communities of color and excessive force in otherwise harmless situations. Police killed at least 287 people last year who were involved in minor offenses and harmless activities like sleeping in parks, possessing drugs, looking ‘suspicious’ or having a mental health crisis.”

They call for ending policing of minor offenses. They write, “The following activities do not threaten public safety and are often used to police black bodies. Decriminalize these activities or de-prioritize their enforcement: Consumption of Alcohol on Streets, Marijuana Possession, Disorderly Conduct, Trespassing, Loitering, Disturbing the Peace (including Loud Music), and Spitting.”

They also call for the end of profiling and “stop and frisk,” by establishing “enforceable protections against profiling to prevent police from intervening in civilian lives for no reason other than the ‘suspicion’ of their blackness or other aspects of their identity.”

They also call for establishing alternative approaches to the mental health crisis: “Mental health crises should not be excuses for heavy-handed police interventions and are best handled by mental health professionals. Establish and fund Mental Health Response Teams to respond to crisis situations. These approaches have been proven to reduce police use of force in these situations by nearly 40 percent…”

Second, they call for community oversight. They write, “Police usually investigate and decide what, if any, consequences their fellow officers should face in cases of police misconduct. Under this system, less than 1 in every 12 complaints of police misconduct nationwide results in some kind of disciplinary action against the officer(s) responsible. Communities need an urgent way to ensure police officers are held accountable for police violence.”

Their plan calls for effective civilian oversight structures and removing barriers to reporting police misconduct.

Third, they call for limiting the use of force. They write, “Police should have the skills and cultural competence to protect and serve our communities without killing people – just as police do in England, Germany, Japan and other developed countries. Last year alone, police killed at least 268 unarmed people and 91 people who were stopped for mere traffic violations. The following policy solutions can restrict the police from using excessive force in everyday interactions with civilians.”

Their solutions call for establishing standards and reporting of police use of deadly force. They suggest, “Authorize deadly force only when there is an imminent threat to an officer’s life or the life of another person and such force is strictly unavoidable to protect life. (Ex: International Deadly Force Standard),” and “require reporting of police killings or serious injuries of civilians (presumably to a central location where they can be tracked).”

They also call for local police to revise and strengthen department use of force policies.

Fourth, they call for independent investigations and prosecutions. They write, “Local prosecutors rely on local police departments to gather the evidence and testimony they need to successfully prosecute criminals. This makes it hard for them to investigate and prosecute the same police officers in cases of police violence. These cases should not rely on the police to investigate themselves and should not be prosecuted by someone who has an incentive to protect the police officers involved.”

They lay out the following recommendations here: First, Lower the standard of proof for Department of Justice civil rights investigations of police officers. Second, Use federal funds to encourage independent investigations and prosecutions. Third, establish a permanent Special Prosecutor’s Office at the State level for cases of police violence. Fourth, require independent investigations of all cases where police kill or seriously injure civilians.

Fifth, they want community representation. They write, “While white men represent less than one third of the U.S. population, they comprise about two thirds of U.S. police officers. The police should reflect and be responsive to the cultural, racial and gender diversity of the communities they are supposed to serve.”

They call for increasing the number of police officers of color and the use of community feedback to inform police department policies and practices.

Sixth, They call on body cameras and the ability to film the police. They write, “While they are not a cure-all, body cameras and cell phone video have illuminated cases of police violence and have shown to be important tools for holding officers accountable. Every case where a police officer has been charged with a crime for killing a civilian this year has relied on video evidence showing the officer’s actions.”

Seventh, they call on new training programs. They write, “The current training regime for police officers fails to effectively teach them how to interact with our communities in a way that protects and preserves life. For example, police recruits spend 58 hours learning how to shoot firearms and only 8 hours learning how to de-escalate situations. An intensive training regime is needed to help police officers learn the behaviors and skills to interact appropriately with communities.”

Here they suggest the investment in rigorous and sustained training. This includes, “Require officers to undergo training – including scenario-based training – on the following topics on at least a quarterly basis and involve the community – including youth of color – in their design and implementation” for things like implicit bias and community interaction.”

They add, “Intentionally consider ‘unconscious’ or ‘implicit’ racial bias.”

Eighth calls for an end for profit policing. They argue, “Police should be working to keep people safe, not contributing to a system that profits from stopping, searching, ticketing, arresting and incarcerating people.” Here the Policy Solutions include: End police department quotas for tickets and arrests; Ban police departments from using ticket or arrest quotas to evaluate the performance of police officers; Limit fines and fees for low-income people; and prevent police from taking the money or property of innocent people.

Ninth, they call for demilitarization. They write, “The events in Ferguson have introduced the nation to the ways that local police departments can misuse military weaponry to intimidate and repress communities. Last year alone, militarized SWAT teams killed at least 38 people. The following policies limit police departments from obtaining or using these weapons on our streets.”

They call for an end to the federal 1033 Program that provides military weapons to local police departments, and for establishing restrictions to prevent local police agencies from purchasing and/or using military weaponry.

Finally, they call on fair police contracts. They write, “Police unions have used their influence to establish unfair protections for police officers in their contracts with local, state and federal government and in statewide Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights. These provisions create one set of rules for police and another for civilians, and make it difficult for Police Chiefs or civilian oversight structures to punish police officers who are unfit to serve.”

This includes removing barriers to effective misconduct investigations and civilian oversight, and they wish to “keep officers’ disciplinary history accessible to police departments and the public, and ensure officers do not get paid after they kill or seriously injure a civilian.”

It is interesting to evaluate these against local police practices – Davis has implemented some of these reforms already, and they have other practices that should be considered nationally.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

50 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts II: #BlackLivesMatter Moves to the Policy Realm”

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I saw a recent poll where something like 85% of Americans prefer #AllLivesMatter, 10% prefer #BlackLivesMatter, and 5% are looking for BigFoot (no opinion).

        1. Davis Progressive

          the point has been made that the statement #blacklivesmatter does not mean only blacklivesmatter.  it means that in the past, black lives have been undervalued and this is a problem.  by responding all lives matter, while true, you dismissing the problem overall

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          If black lives have been “undervalued”, then the Left should probably go lecture black men who murder over 90% of black victims (Rudy Guiliani in a famous quote put the figure at 93%).

        3. Frankly

          it means that in the past, black lives have been undervalued and this is a problem.  by responding all lives matter, while true, you dismissing the problem overall

          In the past.

          In the past.

          In the past.

          In the past.

          In the past.

          In the past.

          Get the point?

          I am beginning to think that what we really need is more psychologists to help people stuck in the past and unable to move forward with their lives.

          1. Don Shor

            I think that those who see unarmed young black men being shot down by police consider that it is not, in fact, entirely in the past.

      1. Dave Hart

        It makes sense since about 15% of the population is black.  Black Lives Matter (BLM) never said “all lives don’t matter”, “police lives don’t matter”, “white lives don’t matter” or even that there is anything intrinsically wrong with “all lives matter” except that it becomes an excuse for not focusing on “black lives”.  Institutional racism is the problem and it manifests itself when unarmed black persons are more harshly treated, brutalized or looked at as suspicious because of their appearance a.k.a. race.  People who don’t grasp this, are probably still struggling with their own racist training and inculcation.  It’s all pretty simple once you are free of the propaganda.

  1. Barack Palin

     “Police should have the skills and cultural competence to protect and serve our communities without killing people – just as police do in England, Germany, Japan and other developed countries.

    Compare how armed our populace is to those three countries.  While more criminals are killed by police in America we also have many more cops killed here too as evidenced by the assassination of the Texas cop by a black man last Friday.  Does England, Japan or Germany have highly armed black gangs roaming their streets?  A bad comparison.

      1. Barack Palin

        Do you really think stronger gun control laws will keep the guns out of the bad guy’s hands?

        Or will stronger gun control laws make it more dangerous for law abiding citizens because they’ll be less likely to be able to defend themselves from the thugs and criminals who will still have their guns?

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      True dat. Europe and elsewhere are a completely different scenario. Many countries have little diversity, few guns, and I don’t think they have the size or breath of our gang problems, not to mention 30-40 million illegal immigrants. I once traveled to Vancouver and the “bad” area seemed to be about 3 blocks by 4 blocks. That’s it.

      A movement based on a lie, funded by by George Soros. What is he after?

  2. Anon

    I agree with some of the suggestions and not others:

    1. I am NOT in favor of “ending the policing of minor offenses“.  For instance, arresting someone who is drunk and disorderly may save his/her life or that of the public, keeping the impaired person out of oncoming traffic or from driving a car.  I certainly would want someone trespassing on my property arrested BEFORE they break into my home or physically harm me.  Because of the latest backlash against cops, fewer arrests have led to an uptick in crime.  (The Baltimore Sun announced:  “Baltimore records 211th homicide, equalling total for 2014.) Is that what we really want?  I think not.

    2. I have mixed feelings about community oversight.  The average civilian may not understand proper police procedure, so I don’t think I am necessarily in favor of “citizen” oversight.  However, for the police to provide oversight of themselves seems ridiculous, and reminds me of “the fox guarding the henhouse”.    So I am more in favor of knowledgeable community oversight, such as our city’s Police Ombudsman.  Also, I think the community needs to make clear through its local City Council it wants a culture of “community policing”, much as our Police Chief Landy Black has instituted here in Davis.

    3. I am all for setting clear standards for the use of force.  For me, that’s a no-brainer.

    4. Definitely in favor of independent investigations of police shootings.

    5. Personally I think it just makes common sense to have the ethnicity of the community be reflected in the hiring of police officers. It takes accusations of racism out of the equation.  As in the situation of “rough rides” in Baltimore, it was not an issue of racism, since both black and white officers were involved.  It was a case of police brutality.

    6. Body cameras sound like a good idea to me!

    7. A better training programs requirement seems self-evident.  Why wouldn’t we improve training?  Improvement is always desirable.

    8. Profit policing is inexcusable.

    9. IMO “demilitarization” is silly.  Much of the equipment used by the police are also used by the military, for good reason.  Just because the military use flak jackets, we should prevent the police from accepting and using flak jackets donated by the military?  That would be just plain silly.  However, I am in favor of determining whether certain military equipment is appropriate for police use.  For instance, using an RPG or huge infantry tank (and I am not talking about the MRAP) for police work would seem ridiculous.

    1. Davis Progressive

      anon:

       

      thanks for your post.  i think these are the kinds of discussion that need to happen (as opposed to some above).

       

      toward you point number 1, what would you think if we adopted a system nationally like neighborhood court where disorderly conduct could be dealt with through restorative rather than punative processes?

       

      second, i agree with you that davis did a good job of finding a middle ground which is better than civilian oversight.

       

      we’ll have to agree to disagree on militarization.

       

      1. Anon

        Neighborhood court for minor crimes is fine, but it doesn’t resolve the issue of the initial arrest made by the police officer for the crime of drunk and disorderly. The BlackLivesMatter seem to be advocating that we end policing of minor offenses – which is a recipe for disaster IMO.  I think the better approach is knowledgeable community oversight and a change in the police culture.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “but it doesn’t resolve the issue of the initial arrest made by the police officer for the crime of drunk and disorderly. ”

          well it might because the changes the consequence of that initial arrest.  and it might also change the perception that the laws are being used to harass minorities.

        2. Anon

          Anon: “but it doesn’t resolve the issue of the initial arrest made by the police officer for the crime of drunk and disorderly. ”
          DP: “well it might because the changes the consequence of that initial arrest.  and it might also change the perception that the laws are being used to harass minorities.”
          Drunk and disorderly is a night in the pokey!  That might be considered by some to be less onerous than having to go through  neighborhood court, which could require community service of many hours!  Also, I very much doubt the police officer in question is assessing what the punishment might be when engaging in police brutality.  It is the oversight and culture in overly aggressive police departments that need to be changed, so the police are not their own judge, jury and executioner, not so much the legal punishment.

    2. Frankly

      Anon – Good list.  I agree with almost all of it.

      As in the situation of “rough rides” in Baltimore, it was not an issue of racism, since both black and white officers were involved.  It was a case of police brutality.

      I think there is evidence that Freddie Gray was known to pitch himself to cause himself injury that he could use to claim brutality.   Another passenger in the van said his ride was smooth but that he heard banging in the other side where Gray was held.  Then later he recounted this saying:  “I know they’re gonna try to harass me after this. But I’d rather for them to harass me than my own people to harass me for a lie they made up.”   Clearly indicating he changed his story for fear of being harassed by “his people”.
      I would add five more related things…
      1. To invest heavily in training that moves law enforcement more to experts at de-escalation and less of the warrior mentality.
      2. To reduce drug related crimes and punishment as long as it is only self-harm.
      3. To invest in more drug treatment services.
      4. To invest in more mental health treatment facilities.
      5. To put more cops in high crime urban areas.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “I think there is evidence that Freddie Gray was known to pitch himself to cause himself injury that he could use to claim brutality.”

        however, if the charge is that the police knew he was in bad condition and failed to give him prompt medical attention, even if he harmed himself they are liable.

         

        1. Frankly

          That is a completely different claim.  Maybe negligence.   Maybe just a mistake in judgement or a mistake in protocol.  I’m sure you have never made any professional mistakes in your life DP.  Most people are not as perfect.

        2. Anon

          “Rough ride” is a police tactic that goes on in cities other than Baltimore, and most definitely occurred in Baltimore, based on my quick research (see links above).

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Good points. Per number 2, President Obama just released a number of crack dealers from prison. I don’t consider being a major crack dealer to be a trivial matter.

        Per number 4, I have heard several people recently offer that we should re-open some large state mental-health facilities. This goes back to John Kennedy and the de-institutionalization movement that looks to have gone way too far. Closing Napa State Hospital is one example. There were court decisions, Ronald Reagan as governor also was given blame, but there were a number of legal decisions that dovetailed together. I bet the movie Cuckoo’s Nest didn’t help much. I don’t think it is humane to have someone with serious mental health issues living on the streets because they can act semi normal for a few minutes or days, long enough to gain their release.

        This puts a huge strain on police officers and police resources, thereby putting a strain on the system that cascades in numerous directions.

        1. Anon

          From: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/special/excerpt.html

          “Deinstitutionalization was based on the principle that severe mental illness should be treated in the least restrictive setting. As further defined by President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Mental Health, this ideology rested on “the objective of maintaining the greatest degree of freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, and integrity of body, mind, and spirit for the individual while he or she participates in treatment or receives services.”8 This is a laudable goal and for many, perhaps for the majority of those who are deinstitutionalized, it has been at least partially realized.
          For a substantial minority, however, deinstitutionalization has been a psychiatric Titanic. Their lives are virtually devoid of “dignity” or “integrity of body, mind, and spirit.” “Self-determination” often means merely that the person has a choice of soup kitchens. The “least restrictive setting” frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies.”

        2. Miwok

          I agree, making also the comment that local Sheriff and PD should have a team of local staff from Child Services, Mental Health and other support be standing by if called. Since the clock never stops for crime or crisis, they should be available more than 8 hours a day and only in their little cubicles. Lots of calls should be taken care of by staff from other departments, since they involve no crime.

          If elected I will make that happen! 🙂

  3. Barack Palin

    #AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter#AllLivesMatter 

  4. Miwok

    If ANY of these are implemented, the Black Lives give what in exchange?

    Manners? Better behavior? Quit calling each other derogatory names? More truthful when being questioned?

    I agree some Police are off the chain. Those and the people that manage them need to be pried loose from their desks. Some can be better at what they do, and others are psychopaths with a badge, and management knows it. They need to get these people out of the organizations they head, especially if they cover up these behaviors.

    Easier said than done, you say? Just like “peaceful” Black protesters in Ferguson beat up white people standing with them? Just like “non-violent” criminals being let out of prison, because selling drugs doesn’t affect anyone either?

    What I am hearing from this article (active listening) is, it argues for Blacks (not all of them take drugs) to be able to:

    “The following activities do not threaten public safety and are often used to police black bodies. Decriminalize these activities or de-prioritize their enforcement: Consumption of Alcohol on Streets, Marijuana Possession, Disorderly Conduct, Trespassing, Loitering, Disturbing the Peace (including Loud Music), and Spitting.”

    without penalty. I just want to know how far away I have to move so I can sleep. ‘Cause they ain’t all Black around here. the Blacks I know around here don’t do this stuff. People used to talk about “Black Pride” – Is this it?

  5. tribeUSA

    Re: They call for ending policing of minor offenses. They write, “The following activities do not threaten public safety and are often used to police black bodies. Decriminalize these activities or de-prioritize their enforcement: Consumption of Alcohol on Streets, Marijuana Possession, Disorderly Conduct, Trespassing, Loitering, Disturbing the Peace (including Loud Music), and Spitting.”

    They may not directly threaten public safety, but they definitely do threaten community peace and harmony. Uggh, who wants neighbors like that; and what further degenerations in civility might result by offically enabling this type of uncivil behavior?

  6. tribeUSA

    I agree with the recommendation for recruiting more minority officers in minority communities; and partially with some of the other recommendations (most go overboard in my view, and are already partially covered in most districts by current policies; such current policies perhaps do need to be enforced more in many communities).

    Another policy recommendation I agree with (endorsed on another thread by Frankly, I think), is more emphasis and training on de-escalation techniques to deal with irate, contentious, and belligerent suspects in detainment and arrest situations.

  7. Topcat

    If we think that black lives matter, then we should be looking at how black children are being raised.  Clearly, the first few years of life are very important in forming a person’s life.  Unfortunately, far too many black children are being born into broken families and very bad economic and educational circumstances.  We’ve all seen the statistics that a black boy has a 1/3 chance of being incarcerated during his lifetime.

    It seems to me that society should be looking at some of the following issues:

    * Too many young, single, poorly educated, impoverished girls having children that they are unable to raise properly.

    * Too many black boys being raised without good male role models to guide them.

    * Not enough early childhood education for black children including Head Start programs.

    * The glorification of violence and gang culture including disrespect for women in popular culture.

    * Not enough positive role models for black children, especially in disadvantaged areas.

    * Too much acceptance of criminality in disadvantaged black communities.  Where are the black leaders saying that it’s NOT OK to commit robbery, burglary, and other crimes?

     

    1. Topcat

      It’s interesting that there is so much chatter and outrage over the slogans and catchphrases that are being used, but there seems to be no interest in discussing things that society can do to improve the lives of the next generation of black kids.  Maybe the general attitude is that when it comes to the next generation, black lives really don’t matter to most people.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        The Left typically wants more $$, more social programs, more social engineering. When the Right wants to talk about family values, Fathers, traditional values, they get talked down to or called racist (or an Uncle Tom if they are black).

        Besides, are we talking about what should be done for Korean or Albanian kids? No, we aren’t. Isn’t this patronizing?

        Topcat, CSPAN had an excellent program on this topic a month or two back. Lots of meaty issues, lots of voices discussing taboo topics. Violence within the home was another issue, especially “non-custodial male violence” if I recall correctly/. There was also a rep from the White House there, and many other legit organizations.

      2. Topcat

        CSPAN had an excellent program on this topic a month or two back.

        Thanks.  I’ll see if I can find it online.  There do seem to be a lot of societal problems that afflict black youth to a greater degree than other ethnic groups.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for