Feature News

Systemic Problems in Policing Lead to Reforms

By Malachi Diaz – Talon Correspondent

The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Rayshard Brooks and countless others are linked to systemic problems within police forces all across America. Many are saying that reforms are long overdue.

In 2017, 914 men were shot dead by police in the United States, and 45 women were shot dead. In 2018-19, 1004 men were killed by police and 96 women were killed. In 2020, 415 men have been shot dead and 13 women have been killed.

The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, — 30 fatal shootings per million of the population as of June 2020.

On May 25, 2020 police murdered an unarmed black man named George Floyd. Following his death, people started to realize how law enforcement are treating people of color horribly and stirred up some controversy.

New York University African Diaspora professor Michael Gomez says the cause of police brutality centers around the negative views people have about people of color. “Certainly not all, but far too many Americans have a negative view of communities of color,” said Gomez.

Professor Gomez says that these negative stereotypes of communities of color lead to increases in the use of force and police brutality.

Phillip Alston Professor at New York University School of Law says that in all his time dealing with cases with police brutality there are very few officers who are reprimanded or face actual charges for their crime. He adds that most of them aren’t even touched financially.

“Even when found liable for punitive damages as a result of deliberate or reckless misbehavior — and left on the N.Y.P.D., or even promoted, to continue their misconduct,” said Alston.

Professor Alston adds that instead of districts firing or charging the police officer, they argue that the officer was just doing their job. “Furthermore, most municipalities indemnify the officers for civil damages, treating the judgments as simply the cost of doing business,” says Alston.

The Governor of New York Governor Cuomo is taking action in New York. “First, police use of a chokehold is now a criminal offense in the New York Police Department and other departments,” said Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo added that the police department’s rules usually did not allow the use of chokeholds by police officers, but now a police officer who decides to use the chokehold will be charged with committing a crime.

“Also, police disciplinary records can now be accessed upon request. So, if an officer is involved in a shooting or some other questionable action, the public will be able to see whether that officer has been the subject of any past complaints,” said Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo says that people can record encounters with the police as part of the law. so they have every right to record the encounter they have or the encounter they see other people having so they can feel safer and have proof of what happened.

Boston police have now said that officers must give an introduction statement that explains and highlights the importance of de-escalation in all interactions that officers have.

Boston police also stated that their officers have the right to intervene if they see the use of excessive force by another officer that is not necessary. They must also report anything that they view as misconduct by another officer

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