Here we go again.
Yes, the demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, showed millions of people hitting the streets around the world. Unfortunately, it only takes a few elements of a peaceful walk, engaging in violence, to turn a demonstration into a riot.
Looting, burning neighborhoods, overturning police vehicles in their paths, then leads to more violence as police counter-attack. Once again a tit-for-tat human response by exploding emotions rules the day and the news.
As expected, politicians take sides and a rush to explain, understand the circumstances, leads to a rash of hastily presented laws to deal with the reasons. This occurs on both the local and national levels.
This is just another case of knee jerk reactions by rioters and politicians, all again leading to human stupidity.
The Congress on both sides of the aisle have put together packages on how police should act. Locally, many cntities are running with the “defund/ dismantle police”, either entirely, or through budgets.
Slow down politicians, public- relax - take your time before attempting to define a situation. Cooler, calmer heads will better dissect a situation from a distance.
This is not to say we should forget any lessons from either police brutality, or resulting demonstrations leading to riots. It is like throwing the baby out with the bath water if we lay down laws on police and the subsequent situations without time and clear thinking being present.
First, the call for “defund/dismantle police” does not mean completely junking police agencies, rather reallocating some funds currently in police budgets to perhaps other social programs.
A police officer responding to a domestic situation currently has the responsibility to adhere to the law, but is also acting as a quasi-social worker in his actions and dealings. The same can be said with myriad encounters with the public.
Newark, New Jersey, was a city that came under the spotlight of the federal government four years ago. Its police department was questioned about policies, techniques with dealing with the public and overall nastiness.
Jump ahead to the current George Floyd killing and response. One would think the predominately Black populated city would be on the forefront of riots.
Last week, thousands spilled into the streets of Newark to protest after George Floyd’s death. The big difference was there was absolutely no rioting, no burning and NO arrests.
Newark Police, underwent training on restraint and de-escalation. Its police department reflects the community they serve. The results in the past four years shows complaints against police went down 70%. Demonstrator leaders actually worked closely with the Black Mayor to ensure demonstrations did not turn into riots. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka credits police “restraint” for no arrests during protests
Police reallocation of budget monies in Newark continues and was being used in such programs as anti-violence directions.
In a speech given to the community, Mayor Baraka, along with his staff, police chief and community members took a knee in support of protestors and the movement sparked by George Floyd’s death and national reckoning.
People, politicians, take notice.