The New Police Tax: Defunding Police Misconduct
Because money is the issue, maybe money should be the demand? Accountability within our nation’s Department of Justice has really come into the forefront of the race relations discussion regarding police brutality. Many activists including myself believe that training alone will not change the systematic failures of police departments and their encounters with communities of color. While ideas like implementing “Undoing Racism” workshops and trainings aimed at negating implicit racial biases and exercises in de-escalation are of the utmost importance, accountability is a must in order to ensure that police actions are in accordance with their training. It’s been proven that this accountability has been a difficult thing to accomplish. Countless officers such as those involved in the murder of Freddie Gray resulted in zero convictions. The officer in the shooting of Akai Gurley discharged his firearm in apparent fear of an innocent unarmed black male. Gurley, died in the stairwell of his own home building. Again, there was no penalty for the officer’s fear-based murder. Even the countless video recording of the heinous acts does not result in a conviction. As such, the DOJ has lost my faith. Asking the Department of Justice to fix itself is attune to asking children to supervise themselves, THERE IS NO OVERSIGHT. Wrong doing isn’t punished it is overlooked, dismissed and even worse, covered up.
What if misconduct within the police force effected one’s salary? What if a blatant misuse of power forced an officer to have a reduced pay check? While likely effective, this idea only targets the fruits of the problem but not the roots, systematic racism and the unequal targeting of people of color. Perhaps congress and the political administration can cut funding to police departments that fail to make sweeping reforms for Black lives? The ColorOfChange.org makes this argument. It notes that the Obama administration has stepped up by suspending the acquisition of some military equipment for all local law enforcement agencies. Obama was pressured to act after the outrage over the armored police forces set upon protesters across the nation. He said military equipment can "alienate and intimidate local residents and may send the wrong message." But now as of August 2016, Obama is reviewing this year old executive order and considering the reauthorization for use of grenade launchers, weaponized vehicles and army-style camouflage. Instead of backtracking, can’t we demand more? Can we ask to renew this executive order and still take things a step further? What we need is to demand that racist police agencies get taxed and defunded for the systematic mistreatment of the communities of color they have sworn to protect. What are your thoughts?
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By: Peyton Craig
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