US On policing, state leaders struggle to respond to demands for fundamental change

02:08  02 july  2020
02:08  02 july  2020 Source:   politico.com

Defunding police after George Floyd's killing doesn't have to mean more crime

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WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans, caught flat-footed by an election-year groundswell of public support for overhauling policing in America to address systemic racism, are struggling to coalesce around a legislative response. Having long fashioned themselves as the party of law and

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order introducing several police reforms while rejecting calls to defund or dismantle the police . It comes amid anger over the police killings of African Americans, though Mr Trump did not comment about the ongoing US racism debate.

Just a little over two weeks after George Floyd was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who pinned Floyd down with a knee on his neck, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that the state “will change the way we do policing.” It hasn’t.

a group of police officers riding on the back of a motorcycle: Police face off protesters in Seattle. © Elaine Thompson/AP Photo Police face off protesters in Seattle.

Neither have the vast majority of other states across the country. Legislators in two dozen states have introduced scores of police reform bills since Floyd’s death on May 25, but just five governors have signed any of those measures into law.

With federal legislation on policing stalled on Capitol Hill, the onus is on states and cities to pass laws to reform policing. But, like Congress, itself, most states have so far been unable to meet the moment. And even those that have taken action — New York, Utah, Colorado, Iowa and Oregon — have not gone nearly far enough, activists say. It’s yet another reminder that, despite the deluge of protests against police brutality and racism across the country and rising public support for police reform, the status quo still has the upper hand.

Rayshard Brooks struggled in system but didn't hide his past

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Effective police leaders become adept at respond -ing to challenge. Like other organizations, police agencies must balance constancy and predict-ability with adaptation and change . Even as they strive to standardize operations, most police leaders recognize the fluid context in which their agencies operate.

Police leaders told MPs how some local communities no longer feel safe after the decline of neighbourhood officers and high-visibility patrols. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are on the front foot in engaging with the police and recognise the changing demands they are facing.

In Minnesota, legislators introduced dozens of police-related bills last month, but thanks to partisan bickering, not one passed before lawmakers adjourned their legislative session.

All told, 30 state legislatures have already adjourned until 2021freezing reform efforts for at least six months. Eighteen of the states whose legislatures are still in session are considering dozens of bills, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures database, but all but a handful are stuck in committee.

New York was one of the first states to act, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed laws on June 15 and 16 instituting a series of reforms requiring state police officers to wear body cameras, creating a Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office and mandating that courts compile and publish racial and other demographic data of low-level offenses. New laws also require officers to verbally report instances in which they discharge their weapon in a situation where someone could be hit by a stray bullet and for police and peace officers and other law enforcement representatives to provide medical and mental health attention to anyone in custody.

Black CEO who does business with police talks BLM, protests and defunding

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Mandela responded by rejecting the offer for his conditional release in a letter that read by his Some of demands from PW Botha were that the ANC should end its alliance with the SACP. Speakers urged the members of PASO to take an active part in the struggle of APLA by assisting APLA

And these demands to defund the police , they’ve actually been brewing in Minneapolis for several years now. And those activist groups came together this past weekend in what was probably the biggest and most clearest demand for defunding the police .

In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert signed legislation barring peace officers’ use of chokeholds or restraints that could cause unconsciousness and prohibiting those officers from being trained in use of that technique.

Colorado and Iowa also both enacted new laws before their legislatures adjourned in June. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a comprehensive bill that requires body cameras by 2023 and public release of footage after receipt of a misconduct complaint. The new law also prohibits chokeholds, ends qualified immunity and requires peace officers to intervene when another officer is using unlawful force and an annual report on data involving use of force, contacts by peace officers, unannounced entries by peace officers and resignations from peace officers while under investigation for violating department policy.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that strengthens restrictions on law enforcement officers’ use of chokeholds and allows the state attorney general to prosecute officers whose actions result in someone’s death, among other things.

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“I want people across the world and the leaders in the United Nations to see the video of my brother George Floyd, to listen to his cry for help, and I want As communities in the United States call on their leaders to divest from policing and end structural racism, the United Nations must support these

The change in direction is monumental, but the size of the proposed cuts is not, activists have said. They also point out that the vast majority of police work has nothing to do with responding to or preventing violence, and that police have a How are police unions responding to defunding calls?

And on Tuesday, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon signed five police-reform bills, including measures barring chokeholds, prohibiting use of tear gas and sound cannons and establishing a statewide database of police officer discipline records.

The remaining bills awaiting signature in other states include a ban on law enforcement’s use of chokeholds in Delaware unless “the person reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to protect the life of a civilian or a law enforcement officer” and another that would create a referendum for voters to determine whether to abolish the Glynn County Police Department in Georgia and transfer its responsibilities to the county sheriff. The county police department handled the investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased down by white men and killed while jogging through a neighborhood.

New Mexico lawmakers passed a bill last month requiring peace officers “who routinely interact with the public to wear a body-worn camera while on duty,” but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hasn’t signed it yet.

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The current debate on policing in America has largely focused on whether inherent racial bias has led to police disproportionately using deadly force against But long simmering on the back burner is the struggle for police departments to deal with the eye-popping number of deadly incidents that involve

Both struggled to breathe in their final moments. And both have become rallying points in their countries for protests against police brutality. As demonstrations over police violence and systemic racism rage across the United States French police did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Several governors have also taken executive action in recent weeks, almost all in states that haven’t succeeded in passing reforms through legislation. Cuomo is the lone exception: He issued an order that tasks cities to develop new policies alongside police chiefs and stakeholders or risk losing state and federal funding.

Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut’s order bars state police from using chokeholds and other restraints that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck, requires marked cars to have a dashboard camera and uniformed officers to wear a body camera and demilitarizes the police force by preventing purchase or acquisition of military and military-style equipment from the federal government.

Other governors have used executive authority to create or expand task forces and commissions, including Arkansas' Asa Hutchinson, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer and New Hampshire's Chris Sununu.

While the new state-level policing rules “are critical for accountability, transparency and harm reduction,” American Civil Liberties Union’s policing policy adviser Paige Fernandez said, they “quite simply aren’t enough."

Such “procedural justice reforms,” Fernandez said, “attempt to mitigate harm after the fact,” such as abolishing qualified immunity, which shields officers from liability for constitutional violations that don’t break “clearly established” law. “We really need to focus on the front end of things, not the back end. This moment is an opportunity to implement transformational changes across the country.”

Republican voters support police reform. GOP elites are standing in the way.

  Republican voters support police reform. GOP elites are standing in the way. The average Republican voter in America supports significant policing reforms, not that you'd know it from watching Fox News. Monday night, primetime Fox host Tucker Carlson devoted nearly 10 minutes of his show to grilling Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, the one GOP senator who has introduced legislation to reform qualified immunity, the Supreme Court doctrine which makes it very difficult to sue police (or any elected official) for civil rights violations by demanding the allegations meet an extremely strict and circular standard of legal precedent.

Federal lawmakers, who will return to their districts this week for a two-week Fourth of July recess, have the power to make those kind of significant changes nationally. But with Democrats in control of the House and Republicans in power in the Senate, both sides would have to compromise on a bill President Donald Trump would support and sign into law — a seemingly quixotic endeavor as the 2020 election heats up and Trump tweets, “LAW AND ORDER,” from the White House.

Senate Democrats last week blocked a Republican-led bill they said didn’t go far enough, and House Democrats passed a bill — with the support of just three Republicans — that won’t see the light of day in the Senate.

The House bill would crack down on excessive police force, ban chokeholds, enforce national transparency standards and create accountability for officer misconduct with a national database to track offenses. But some activists believe even that’s not enough.

“If Congress really wanted to meet this moment, it should’ve moved to invest billions and billions of dollars in community-led alternatives to policing and in health care and housing and substance-abuse programs, not tinkering around the edges and giving more money to training police," said Kumar Rao, director of justice transformation at the Center for Popular Democracy, a liberal Brooklyn-based advocacy group.

That’s left activists to turn their focus to city officials, with local residents flooding city council meetings and protesters calling for defunding city police departments.

Sen. Tim Scott on race, police reform, and why ending qualified immunity is a nonstarter for the GOP

  Sen. Tim Scott on race, police reform, and why ending qualified immunity is a nonstarter for the GOP “I’m a believer in divine intervention. I was made Black on purpose and as a person of conservative construct.”“I, like many other Black Americans, have found myself choking on my own fears and disbelief when faced with the realities of an encounter with law enforcement,” he wrote in an op-ed in USA Today earlier this year, detailing experiences that began when he was 21 and have continued into his time in Congress.

For example, while Minnesota’s state government has failed to act, the Minneapolis City Council has advanced a proposed ballot measure that would abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and create a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

Voters of all ideologies support reforming police departments across the country in some form. More than 60 percent of registered voters told Morning Consult that police departments need minor or major reforms. Forty-eight percent of liberals said police departments need major reforms, as did 45 percent of moderates and even 26 percent of conservatives, nearly half of whom said police departments need only minor reforms. Across the political spectrum, only a small percentage of voters said police departments need no reforms at all.

Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson cautioned, however, that policies alone won’t solve Black Americans’ problems with policing. Speaking at a virtual POLITICO town hall on policing and racial justice Tuesday, he argued that power must also play a role.

At the same forum, Lisa Cylar Barrett, policy director at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc., agreed that power makes a difference.

“But I also believe that policy has to change,” she said. “The laws have to change, and that does make a difference.”

Video: Minneapolis officials announcing new police reform policies (MSNBC)

For black women mayors, rising national profiles come with political risk .
Black women lead four of America's most prominent cities at a historic time for race relations. Activists question whether they're meeting the moment.Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms, Muriel Bowser, Lori Lightfoot and London Breed steer four of America’s most prominent cities at a time when activists are looking to their local leaders to transform American policing. The four women have emerged as leading national voices, regularly appearing on cable news and headlining virtual forums on policing and protests.

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This is interesting!