Saturday, December 6, 2014

If they'd just be constructive instead of destructive...things might change

I found an article at the Politico form August 15, 2014, entitled What I Did After Police Killed My Son. It was written by a white, Retired Air Force lieutenant Colonel.

10 years ago, in Wisconsin, his son - white- was apparently slightly intoxicated,  had his hands handcuffed behind his back, but was shot in the head by a Latino police officer. Within 2 days the investigation was over and the officer cleared - because in Wisconsin, it's the police who review these things apparently, not a civilian review board.

Did the white residents of this Wisconsin city riot and destroy their town?  No. Mr. Bell filed a wrongful lawsuit and won - albeit after many years. He also started a foundation to get Civilian Review Boards to investigate when police officers kill someone, rather than the police - at that law was recently passed in Wisconsin.

And so, okay, it took 10 years.

But now we've got this ridiculousness in Ferguson, Missouri. The black populace didn't get the verdict they wanted.  Instead of immediately banding together and filing a wrongful death lawsuit, and contacting Michael Bell and saying, "Hey, how can we get such a law passed here in Missouri?" a group of folks destroy their town. (And apparently, if another article in the Politico is to be believed, the cops protected the "well-off" i.e. white neighborhoods, and left the black section to the rioters and looters, who of course destroyed it all.

And what has all this rioting and looting accomplished?  Nothing but destroying the businesses and employment of a lot of people, and confirming to a certain segment of the population that their prejudices about the black population were and are right.

One good thing will come of this - and not before time - mandatory uniform cameras on all police officers. This is actually a great idea and it's a pity it wasn't introduced 10-20 years ago. Hopefully the camera films the action by remote and it goes to a place where the recording can't be tampered with... and then the conduct of the police officer and the individual being arrested/detained/whatever will be available for all to see.

(Having said that, the officers in New York who tried to arrest the poor guy selling "onesies" (one cigarette rather than a whole pack) were filmed - and yet people who view what happened still can't decide who was in the right and who was in the wrong... I guess it all depends on what you want to believe...)

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