Saturday, March 7, 2015

You Can't Fix the Police Until You Fix the Laws

I was wrong; training cops to more respectfully arrest poor and minority people for minor offenses won't solve the problem.

Only ending the War on (some people who use some categories of) Drugs (tm Lawyers, Guns and Money) and de-criminalizing being poor, minority or homeless will do that.

From The Nation:

What is not discussed in the report is dialing back in any meaningful way the war on drugs, police militarization or the widespread use of “broken windows” policing that has led to the unnecessary criminalization of millions of mostly black and brown people. Well-trained police, following proper procedure, are still going to be engaged in the process of arresting people for mostly low-level offenses, and the burden of that will continue to fall primarily on communities of color, because that is how the system is designed to operate—not because of the bias or misunderstandings of officers. A more respectful and legally justified arrest for marijuana possession is still an arrest that could result in unemployment, loss of federal benefits and the stigma of a drug arrest.


We cannot produce true justice by reforming police procedures. Instead, we need to call into question why we have come to rely so heavily on the police to manage social problems in a time of growing racial and economic inequality.

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