With the recent notable incidents involving minority people resulting in death and/or serious injuries, one must indeed question what is going on?
Are the police poorly trained?
Are they making the decision to be judge, jury and executioner?
Are the victims of these incidents to blame?
Are the police operating under the AWB (arrested while black) premise that somehow fosters and/or excuses bad conduct on their part?
These incidents are not confined to one section of the country. In recent months, we have had incidents in California and other places too numerous to mention. Should the imposition of the use of deadly force be examined by all police departments? Once deadly force is used, you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. The victim or recipient of this force is dead. The use of chest cameras by the police may help the situation. This will show the conduct of the officers from their point of view and may eliminate the popular concept of “testilying” that has become popular among people who do not trust the police. Police car cameras will also aid the process of trying to establish trust between the police and populace. We all tend to judge people by the proverbial book cover. Although this should not be case, in the vast majority of times, it is. A black “gang banger” looking person appears to be far more threatening than a White financier. Although the financier can inflict far more damage (see Bernie Maddoff and Enron oil).
It takes years, perhaps decades, to undo bad experiences that some segments of our society have had with the police. The police may have had good cause to act the way they did in the past, but they need increased accountability now and going forward. If the police and courts don’t respect the Constitution, why should people respect the law? This is the issue squarely confronting the courts and the police. People aspire for safety in their homes and on the streets. How they achieve this is the key balance point for the courts and society. The vast majority of candidates running for judicial office are prosecutors. They bring with them a particular slant toward the criminal justice system and the people who are part of the system. They are dealing with the end product of the system, the effects of crime after it has occurred.
Society must decide how to deter crime. Is it worth stiffer prison terms? Should we provide meaningful jobs for minorities? Should we further promote the goal of affordable education for all? Is there something to break the cycle of gangs, drugs, crime in certain neighborhoods? The overwhelming number of people in prison are black and brown (Latino). The question that
society should be addressing is how can we avoid staying in the present situation in terms of the crime problem? The California courts have implemented various procedures to lessen the strain on prisons with the modifications of the previously enacted Three Strikes Law which had been previously approved by the electorate.