Do you believe that there is a serious police brutality problem in the United States? If so, what legislative actions can be taken to not just achieve individual justice, but create meaningful change?
Response Received Jan 1
There is most certainly a serious police brutality problem in the United States as a whole, as well as in Texas. I have been very fortunate to get to discuss this issue with many community leaders and law enforcement officers alike, and we touched on this topic in my interview with Desmond from The People’s Perspective and News. This is a non-partisan online news source, and the video of our entire interview can be found on my Facebook page.
Our communities of color have been telling us for decades that even after the Civil Rights Movement, minorities have continued to suffer unfair and unjust treatment by some of our law enforcement members. In the era of social media, cell phones, and Facebook Live, the world has started to witness this first hand. A spotlight has been shone on the discrimination some of our communities face. And to follow this up, the DOJ itself has investigated this problem and made its report public: in fact, yes, there is systemic discrimination in cities like Ferguson which are leading to dangerous and truly unfair treatment of citizens of color.
This must end.
The fix for this systemic discrimination must come from within each community and police department, and from each police chief. Our departments must be willing to train officers well, and to fire officers which do not uphold the quality of justice we expect.
But the state can help in several ways. First, Texas can assist with funding. A well-funded police department will be able to properly train and retain high quality officers who will serve their communities with distinction. Second, Texas can start to set guidelines and examples – it should be explicitly clear that Texas expects a certain level of fairness and honor of justice in its cities. Finally, Texas can stop trying to pass bad bills like SB4, which by all accounts will degrade community-officer relations and make it measurably more difficult for officers to do their jobs well.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of our potential steps towards improving the fairness in our communities, but it would be a start. Most importantly, we absolutely must continue to hear our neighbors when they tell us there is a problem, and also listen to them when they give us suggestions on how to fix the errors. We do not all experience life the same way, and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye when our brothers and sisters ask for help in finding equality.
This is a complex and multifactorial problem which will take buy-in at many levels and the help of many folks all across the state in order to set it right. But it’s worth every effort.