Stopping Police Killings of Black Men Starts at Local Level
Posted on July 8, 2016
We must focus first of all on changing police operating procedures.
Existing laws and Supreme Court decisions make it nearly impossible to convict a cop for senseless killing. Winning a law suit is somewhat easier, but has almost no incentive value because the monetary cost is born by central government, not by the police department, let alone by individual cops. Also, neither internal nor outside police review boards have ever had any effect in piercing the blue code of silence.
Serious change in the liability law or review procedures isn’t likely to happen until a lot of local departments adopt operating procedures that prevent cops from killing people. That is, we need to demonstrate that policing can work without killing people.
Therefore the focus for now has to be on forcing changes in operating procedures. Basically, cops have be trained not to use force, and penalized by their own department when they do. This can be accomplished city by city, and then written into state laws in the more liberal states. We can also create federal programs and incentives that assist local cops in developing and adopting new procedures.