POLICE ABUSE- A NATIONAL PROBLEM
"Injustice any where is a threat to justice every where. The next person brutalized or killed by police may be your son ,your daughter , your father, your brother ,sister , mother or YOU
POLICE ABUSE- A NATIONAL PROBLEM
With the current focus on the shooting of Trayvon Martin let’s not forget the people of color are being killed frequently by police and that police frequently look the other way
during such incidents as the Trayvon Martin case
Although there seems to be a current national focus on the economy , terrorism and congressional infighting , many of these pale in comparison ,if we are not safe from those who are supposed to protect us.
It has become clear to me that police corruption and police brutality has become a national problem.
There have recent public reports in New York City that police routinely plant drugs on citizens in order to meet arrest quotas. In New York City there have been numerous
questionable shootings of unarmed citizens by police over a number of years. These include Eleanor Bumpers, Amadou Ahmed Diallo, and Sean Bell. Recently New York City police barged into a young man’s home where he lived with his grandmother and then fatally shot the UNARMED young man, Ramarley Graham
in his bath room. They then hauled his grandmother to the local station house and questioned her for five hours. The officers involved were simply placed on modified desk duty.
In Miami during the past year there have been more than 7 questionable shootings by police . The Miami assistant chief of police stated on television , that under certain circumstances, it is justifiable to shoot a suspect in the back . The list of unarmed suspects being shot by police around the country goes on and on (see)
In Georgia police use forfeiture laws to prey on citizens and enhance police department coffers. (see)
In New York women were pepper sprayed by upper ranking police officers while peacefully protesting.
A recent ruling of the Supreme Court stated officers have the right to arrest and imprison citizens who would ordinarily receive a summons or a fine and that such imprisonment is at the discretion of the officer
Even though cities such as New York have a Civilian Complaint Review Board, a review of their published case files shows that police rarely receive more than a “slap on the wrist” such as loss of vacation. Even though officer Johannes Mehserle
was sentenced to five years for shooting unarmed Oscar Grant in California in 2009, five years is hardly amble punishment for taking some one’s life.
Ironically there seem to be no statistics kept by police departments which chronicle police shootings. Thus there is no oversight
Municipalities give ordinary citizens minimal training , then give them a badge and a gun and suddenly elevate them to perceived levels of extraordinary, forgetting that they have prejudices and weaknesses and other psychological issues before and after being appointed. Further, the culture of most police departments further creates an “us and them mentality” further fostered by arrest quotas. This is especially true when the police bare no ethnic resemblance to communities they are supposed to serve.
It appears that as a country the U. S, can deploy troops and millions of dollars to countries around the world to foster human rights but we are unwilling to do so at home.
Given this increasingly abusive climate . I urge you to introduce or support a national bill which would do the following:
1. Independent statistic must kept on any shooting and these statistics must be annually reviewed by a civilian committee which is elected. Those statistics must include the race of the victim and the race of the officer. They must also be sent to the U.S. Justice Department for review
2 If an officer is found to have engaged in an shooting of an unarmed victim, or shooting a victim in the back, the shooting CAN NOT be considered justifiable and that officer can be charged with murder.
3 That any officer found to have engaged in false arrest , false imprisonment or excessive use of force be subject to the same laws and punishment
as any ordinary citizen who had done so while that citizen was armed.
4 Repeal of any law that states the officer can imprison citizens for what would normally be a summons unless they have physical evidence that another crime has been committed.
5 Any supervisor or precinct commanders found to have instituted arrest quotas will be immediately be dismissed.
6 Any officer or precinct commander engaging in any of the above activity should also be subject to legal as well as civil penalties.
I realize that some of you have already attempted some of the solutions proposed here ,but I urge your support.
United States Department of Justice -Civil Rights Division