For decades, in America, local law enforcement has successfully alienated minority groups. They have done so both passively and aggressively in the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect and serve. It is clear now, on today, to me that there must be reform within the policing community. The police we have in this country are terrified of young, black males and there is nothing more dangerous than a coward with a gun (and badge). The nature of the job itself puts these officers lives in danger every minute, of every incident, of every day. The excuse that “I feared for my life” is invalid. When police execute America citizens, these are acts of domestic terror and should be prosecuted as such.
Terrorism is defined by the FBI as an act that meets the following:
Appears intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping.
When I read that definition, the first thing I thought of was not ISIS, but law enforcement in America. Shooting a black man who is resisting arrest, is CLEARLY an act intended to coerce not only the suspect into submission, but other black men who would think of resisting an unlawful arrest. How do you stop suspects in the future from resisting? Murder the ones that do. That is terrorism.
The expectation of police is to use reasonable force early, to avoid using excessive force. But what exactly is reasonable force? Is it a taser? Pepper spray? Or 4 shots into the chest? The major problem I see is that too many police tactics are open to interpretation of the officer in question. If the military has rules of engagement, then the police in civilian communities should as well.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military is not cleared to engage even if an individual has been identified as a member of the Taliban. Yet on U.S. soil, an officer of the law can commit homicide, claim that he feared for his life and procure the support of mainstream white America.
Police should never draw their weapons without clear indication that the suspect is armed and posing an immediate threat to their lives. Obviously, there are certain scenarios in which a split second decision must be made by law enforcement. All too often though, the police use lethal force when confronted with resistance or sometimes simply through misjudging the victim. If everyday citizens began shooting police officers because they feared for their lives in split second decisions, would they be acquitted in the court of law? Highly unlikely. Yet, we see this occur year after year with law enforcement. The police nationwide must be held accountable for the actions of their fellow officers, as our entire community is held for the criminals in ours.
Above all though, I just want to see this stop.
“Brother, Brother, Brother… There’s far too many of you dying”