After witnessing the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols by police, attention has again returned to police reform, and as a Black man, I am disappointed. We seem stuck in a cycle of outrage, and failed negotiations, then we move on. I have seen this play out time and time again between Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott, and Congresswoman Karen Bass, along with the Congressional Black Caucus leaders returned to the same framework previous bills had.
*Provide more resources to police departments
*Grant more federal power regarding misconduct cases in areas of excessive force, sexual misconduct, theft, and obstruction of justice
Unfortunately, the previous attempt broke down over the issue of qualified immunity, which works as a shield for government officials, protecting them while performing their duties from civil suits. Although I think this is possibly the most needed reform, I know there is no chance of it making it into the bill because of Congress’s composition. If Congress can not get that reform, using the previous framework and focusing on standards for use of force, duty to intervene, and de-escalation should be the focus. We should also look for ways to decrease interactions with cops. Automating more traffic tickets, and having more social workers on the budget for calls relating to mental health crises, as cops are not currently equipped with the skills needed. We need a government responsive to the needs and demands of citizens not one focused on keeping an issue alive to score political points. I grow tired of seeing communities where police are not seen as public servants but as an occupying and oppressive force more focused on quotas than protecting their community now is the time to change that we are all watching and waiting.
If you are as outraged as I am, call your representatives and make your voice heard at the local, state, or federal levels, you have a voice, and you ought to use it. We have seen local and state governments make many of the reforms we have asked for, that is what caused the killers of Tyre to be fired, charged, and jailed continued effort can accomplish more if we keep the pressure up.