Updated: Jun 4
HOW TO STOP POLICE BRUTALITY
By Jake Morphonios
May 29, 2020
This is My 15 Point Justice System Reform Plan to Help the Black Community and the General Population as a Whole
1. Decriminalize Personal Drug Use - Using drugs may be a bad decision, but so is getting drunk - and there's no law against that. Win the War on Drugs by Ending the War on Drugs. Prisons are brimming with people found guilty of petty drug crimes that have no other victims but themselves.
2. Stop Passing New Laws Criminalizing Everything - Hitchhiking, spitting in public, standing on the corner with a sign begging for money... We have thousands and thousands of laws that necessitate a huge police force to be stopping and questioning and possibly arresting people for victimless "crimes". Get these Big Brother laws off the books and stop making new ones.
3. Cops MUST obey the 4th Amendment that prohibits them from engaging in unreasonable searches of people's cars, property and bodies. If all you have is a feeling of suspicion that someone possesses something illegal, that isn't sufficient cause for a search or seizure. The Constitution requires a proper search warrant based on evidence. Punish cops who violate a person's privacy rights.
4. End NO-KNOCK Raids - They end up killing innocent people all the time, including some cops who are shot by alarmed home owners.
On March 13, 2020, police in Louisville, Kentucky, began breaking into a home to serve a no-knock drug search warrant on two men. Thinking that burglars were trying to break in, Kenneth Walker, a licensed firearm owner, fired at the door. The police responded with a hail of gunfire, killing 26 year old EMT, Breonna Taylor.
The police had gone to the wrong house.
5. Eliminate Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement - It doesn't work and it's just plain racist. End profiling policies & review statistics to watch for signs of intentional or unintentional systemic profiling.
6. Stop Arresting People Who Don't Pay Their Parking Tickets - When you give a poor person a big fine for parking in the wrong place, then you issue a bench warrant for his arrest (along with hefty court fines) because he didn't pay the ticket, you end up filling jails with people whose only real crime is being poor.
Replace the one-size-fits-all system with one that uses a sliding scale fine based on income or an option for community service instead of a fine. People who are poor or jobless shouldn't be turned into criminals because they can't afford the city's tickets. This should apply to other fines such as expired car registrations, etc.
7. Encourage police department policy makers to experiment with various alternatives to traditional policing methods and track the results carefully. Variety and innovation can lead to potential solutions that can be tailored to the needs of local communities.
8. Create external civilian oversight boards with sufficient legal authority to police the police, in addition to internal affairs, to ensure police accountability and to impose appropriate discipline. The oversight boards should have sufficient power to compel officer testimony or the release of police documents necessary to complete civilian oversight investigations.
9. Make all cops wear body cameras that actually work, that remain turned on during their entire shifts and that upload the camera data in real time to a cloud that they and their superiors can't immediately access to avoid panicked deletion of controversial material. Make this body camera footage accessible to the public by Freedom of Information Act requests.
10. Eliminate Federal Program 1033 that militarizes police departments by providing them with military-grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and armored vehicles. Ban police and counter-terrorism training by foreign entities, especially the Israeli Defense Forces.
Make police dress in less intimidating uniforms and insist that they act like community members rather than like a black-clad paramilitary gestapo that views the public with suspicion and as potential enemy combatants. No more Call of Duty Cosplay by cops.
11. Make police officers obey the same laws they are enforcing on others - from traffic laws to laws on social conduct regarding harassment and intimidation of other citizens.
12. Appoint Independent Prosecutors to handle court cases involving police. Cops work all the time with district attorneys and form relationships with them. DAs are not going to hold their associates in law enforcement to the same standards that they would other potential criminals. Favors are given all the time and DAs frequently look the other way, allowing cops to get away with crimes for which they should be punished.
13. Train, train and retrain police on how to interact with the community in a friendly, civil manner to foster better relationships and restore a degree of trust. Emphasize training on how to de-escalate situations and how to resolve conflicts as best as possible – using the least amount of necessary force as a last option.
Use a community-input review system that results in rewards for "good" cops and demotions for "bad" ones. Utilize this rating system as part of the cop's overall performance review that will determine his salary.
14. Overhaul the US justice system to address the problem of drug addiction and mental illness in a new way. Addicts and people with mental problems need help more than they need to be put in cages like animals. If there is not history of violence, place these individuals into treatment programs or mental health facilities rather than in prisons.
15. End the Prison Industrial Complex - building, staffing and supplying prisons has become very big business in America. This results in a need for an ever-growing supply of criminals to justify expansion. This incentivizes prison industry lobbyists to encourage politicians to create new laws to criminalize more and more people.
The prison industry should not be a for-profit business venture.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of what needs to be done to reform the system, but it is a start. The police murder of George Floyd was the last straw. It's time to make major changes - now.