A Way Forward? RIP, George Floyd

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(“A mural of George Floyd has been painted at the Cup Foods site where Floyd was arrested by Minneapolis police and later died in custody.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News”)

 

I’ll go on record as being one of millions around the world appalled, disgusted, and horrified by the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers.

All four should be charged with murder, and all should go to prison.

Across the country, peaceful, meaningful demonstrations in many cases have become riots, resulting in the criminal burning and looting of businesses, black-owned and otherwise.

To quell the national unrest, easily the worst since the events of ’68, POTUS should man up, stop tweeting and come out of his bunker.

He should go to “Minneanapolis,” as he called it in his first official response to the murder. He should sit down with the Floyd family. He should meet with protesters. He should make a human, sympathetic speech that is heartfelt — not just droning on and on with the kind of speech that resembles one given in captivity.

It should be completely absent of electioneering, nonsensical improvising, and any of his usual narcissistic bragging about himself. It should be devoid of attacks on the press, the Left, Joe Biden, the governors, China, or any of his other typical scapegoating targets.

Don’t hold your breath. That’s what we need, but that’s not how this president rolls, unfortunately.

Is there a way forward, a way to reduce or end police brutality? Is there a way to disrupt, as they say, the historic pattern, dyed-in-the-wool among too many in law enforcement, of treating all minorities as criminals or suspects?

I’m not sure, and I’m probably not qualified to offer much that’s useful. I have zero background in law enforcement, or criminal justice, or the law. Because of the obvious, I can never feel what it’s like to be a minority, or to, practically by default, be wanted by the police for just being me.

How can we turn anti-black policing conventions upside down and address the injustice? A week of sensitivity training won’t fix it. It requires a radical approach, I believe, one that of course will be firmly opposed by law enforcement unions and the usual suspects.

Some steps that might be taken:

  1. Gradually, over the period of a year or longer, fire all employees of police agencies.
  2. Require all to reapply for their jobs. No exceptions.
  3. Rehire only those who: a)pass extensive psychological testing b)undergo month-long sensitivity training and are subject to thorough background investigations.
  4. Conduct quarterly psychological testing.
  5. Institute diverse civilian boards to oversee police misconduct cases.
  6. Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to brutality — one strike, and you’re out.
  7. Require cops to live in the cities they serve, so that they will have a vested interest in keeping those communities safe, and so that they will personally KNOW some of the people they’re sworn to serve and protect.
  8. Establish term limits for police chiefs, the better to reduce consolidation of power.

And, no, I don’t know how to make all this work, logistically.

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