September 2, 2015 Leave a comment
For a while there was a lot of complaint that #Blacklivesmatter did not have any clear solutions. When it comes to policing they have laid-out a clear, smart, evidence-based agenda to improve policing. An agenda which would very much benefit all Americans (though, disproportionately Blacks as they disproportionately face the consequences of bad policing). Radley Balko summarizes:
Last week, the leaders of Black Lives Matter* released a series of policy solutions to address police killings, excessive force, profiling and racial discrimination, and other problems in law enforcement, called “Campaign Zero.” Critics and police organizations have portrayed Black Lives Matter as radical, anti-police, and anti-white. But the policies Campaign Zero is pushing are none of those things. Instead, they’re practical, well-thought out, and in most cases, achievable. Most will also directly benefit everyone — not just black people.
In most cases, the policies Campaign Zero is suggesting are already in place in one or more police departments across the country, and Campaign Zero points this out. That’s smart, and I suspect that it will prove to be effective. It makes it more difficult for police groups to portray those proposals as “anti-cop.” But it also makes it easier to pitch those ideas to policymakers and the public. They’ve already been field-tested. As a set, these policies are more a list of “best practices” than revolutionary reform. A few of the proposals will be a tougher sell, but even those are far short of world-shaking. There are no calls to disarm the police. No calls to abolish law enforcement agencies. No demands that police unions be prohibited. This isn’t a fervid manifesto. It’s a serious effort to solve a problem. (Its practicality is undoubtedly born of urgency. There’s no time for wild-eyed ideology when people are dying.)
This isn’t criticism, but praise. These are proposals that will almost certainly have an impact, even if only some of them are implemented. The ideas here are well-researched, supported with real-world evidence and ought to be seriously considered by policymakers at all levels of government.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Full rundown from Balko. Shorter version from me: end broken windows policing, end policing for profit, limit use of force, demilitarization, body cameras, better training, independent investigations and prosecutions of police misconduct, and even more. If you’ve been following criminal justice issues at all, you know that’s a damn good list. Here’s to #blacklivesmatter helping to make these much needed policy changes happen.