The Black Lives Matter policy agenda is practical, thoughtful — and urgent

janklow Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
longer piece from Balko, so you get the highlights, but here you go:

The Black Lives Matter policy agenda is practical, thoughtful — and urgent
Last week, the leaders of Black Lives Matter* released a series of policy solutions to address police killings, excessive force, profiling and racial discrimination, and other problems in law enforcement, called “Campaign Zero.” Critics and police organizations have portrayed Black Lives Matter as radical, anti-police, and anti-white. But the policies Campaign Zero is pushing are none of those things. Instead, they’re practical, well-thought out, and in most cases, achievable. Most will also directly benefit everyone — not just black people.

In most cases, the policies Campaign Zero is suggesting are already in place in one or more police departments across the country, and Campaign Zero points this out. That’s smart, and I suspect that it will prove to be effective. It makes it more difficult for police groups to portray those proposals as “anti-cop.” But it also makes it easier to pitch those ideas to policymakers and the public. They’ve already been field-tested. As a set, these policies are more a list of “best practices” than revolutionary reform. A few of the proposals will be a tougher sell, but even those are far short of world-shaking. There are no calls to disarm the police. No calls to abolish law enforcement agencies. No demands that police unions be prohibited. This isn’t a fervid manifesto. It’s a serious effort to solve a problem. (Its practicality is undoubtedly born of urgency. There’s no time for wild-eyed ideology when people are dying.)

This isn’t criticism, but praise. These are proposals that will almost certainly have an impact, even if only some of them are implemented. The ideas here are well-researched, supported with real-world evidence and ought to be seriously considered by policymakers at all levels of government.

Here’s a quick rundown:

End Broken-Windows Policing
This is a call to retire the philosophy of policing that leads to mass arrests for low-level offenses such as loitering, drinking in public or transience. Broken Windows still has proponents, who credit it for reducing crime in places such as New York. But there’s also plenty of academic literature suggesting that it doesn’t work as well as its supporters claim.

End Policing for Profit
Given the response among conservatives and libertarians to the death of Eric Garner, the revelations about the predatory municipal courts in St. Louis County (but not only there) and both groups’ opposition to civil asset forfeiture, this section probably has the best chance at winning a broad political consensus. It calls for banning quotas for tickets and citations, limits on the amount of revenue cities can get from municipal courts, and giving judges the discretion to waive fines imposed on low-income people. It also calls for a ban on the forfeiture of property without a criminal conviction and a ban on police agencies keeping the proceeds of such forfeitures.

Limit Use of Force
The basic philosophy of this section is that police officers should use the minimum amount of force necessary to resolve a situation. That means lethal force should be used only when a life is in imminent danger, a policy consistent with international law enforcement standards. This section promotes bans on practices such as chokeholds and hogties and emphasizes deescalation. It calls for prohibitions on firing at moving vehicles and engaging in high-speed chases for low-level crimes. ... This section also recommends much more transparency, including collecting data on all use-of-force incidents, keeping track of which officers use force more often and making all that information available to the public. It also recommends an intriguing “early intervention” system to find problem officers (discussed in more detail here).

Much of this section has been covered in depth here at The Watch. The suggestions including ending the Pentagon’s 1033 program (which gives surplus military gear to local police departments) and some general limits and restrictions on the use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids. This section could actually go quite a bit further. I’d like to see a policy that prohibits police from forcibly entering a private home unless they suspect someone’s life is in danger. At the very least, they should be required to first try alternate methods, such as apprehending a suspect as he leaves or surrounding a building and calling a suspect out.

Body Cams/Film the Police
This section calls for mandatory body cameras for police officers, a “missing video presumption” for video that should be available but for some reason isn’t, allows anyone to obtain footage of themselves or a relative, and calls for privacy restrictions to protect the identities of people in footage that isn’t of public relevance. It also prohibits police from seeing footage before they write up their report.

This section calls for a wide variety of new training for cops, including in subjects such as community policing, deescalation, engagement with minority and gender-nonconforming communities, bias and other areas. ... More controversial still is a policy recommending testing to determine implicit racial bias, and that the results be used in hiring, performance evaluations and assigning beats.

Community Oversight
I suspect this section will generate the most opposition, particularly from law enforcement groups. For a long time, cops answered only to other cops. Even in cities that have had civilian review boards, those boards usually like subpoena power, and their recommendations are just that — they can be ignored or overruled by an arbitrator. Here, Campaign Zero is calling for citizen police commissions to set policies for police agencies.

Community Representation
This short section proposes that police agencies put forth a plan and timeline to make minority representation within the department reflect representation in the larger community.

Fair Police Contracts
This section takes aim at union-negotiated contracts that inhibit, limit or impede investigations of police misconduct. It also recommends policies to make those investigations more transparent and calls for an end to paying police officers while they’re being investigated for possible felonies. It will be interesting to see the political reaction to this section, given that these are some of the same critiques made by critics of other public service unions.

Independent Investigations and Prosecutions
This section is similar to the proposals on police commissions and civilian review boards in that it emphasizes the need for police to be held accountable by entities outside the local, immediate law enforcement community. In particular, Campaign Zero is worried about local prosecutors who work closely with police handling investigations of police shootings, brutality and other misconduct. You needn’t be an ardent critic of either police or prosecutors to understand how this could be a problem.

i don't think anything in these proposals will be outrageous to the average poster, but hey.


  • Stiff
    Stiff Members Posts: 7,723 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Okay, first semblance of coherence I've seen from the BLM organization and I ? with it heavy.
  • janklow
    janklow Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
    Stiff wrote: »
    Okay, first semblance of coherence I've seen from the BLM organization and I ? with it heavy.
    yeah, i think the best part about the above-stated stuff is that a lot of it should seem like good ideas even if you look askance at BLM
  • Seansauce
    Seansauce Members Posts: 38 ✭✭
    These aren't at all bad ideas but everyone needs to play their part for these to be effective. The cops needs to follow and enforce these types of ideals but they only go as far as the suspect in question handles the situation. Regardless of all these rules in place all it takes is for one person to resist for cops to have their way with him. Those little chest cameras won't mean ? because they will still get off even after all this. Ive been arrested twice, the first time I was an ? I lied, did as much as I could not to cooperate and it was a mistake I didn't make again.
  • john581
    john581 Members Posts: 75
    Nothing but the truth