Police in the United States kill Americans at a rate hundreds of times that of any other country on earth.
The comparison to other nations, and the daily inundation with new cases of police killings makes it clear, there is an epidemic problem in this country around police behavior; 1000+ more killings by police per year than any other nation, the next highest is around 14. This also speaks to the strong likely hood that many more, non fatal police brutalities happen.
Many people, seem to shrug off the killing of humans by police as unfortunate issues arising from “resisting arrest”, or dismiss the death as a real consequence of having disobeyed the law. As a person who proscribes to the lessons of Confucius, I believe it is the failure to understand not the whole law, legal process, but simply the role, the definition of what an officer- (I make the distinction of a “peace officer”) is supposed to do.
The role of a police officer aka an officer of the peace, is, to me, is to
1. de-escalate dangerous situations in order to preserve life
2. restore situations to alignment with the law
3. to observe assess, cite, and summon individuals guilty of violating local codes to see a judge empowered to make more critical decisions regarding the severity, up to and including long term limitations of basic rights as consequence to infractions upon others.
This seems to be a logical extension of the simple lightweight, yet powerful principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence, which I hold as law for the United States of America, which say essentially:
Governments are created to keep people from harming one another, and to assure that they may live, free to pursue that which can make them happy, and governments that harm their citizens or impede upon their freedom without sufficient cause, i.e. hurting another citizen, are illegitimate, and must be changed.
This to me is a great summation of a government’s role with regards to an individual, (there are many and more complex roles regarding resource management, money creation, infrastructure building, and defense, but it serves well to create basic understandings of what government should and should not be)
and I would ask that if you agree with those statements, you make your understanding of the law to be that, and there is actually, a very, strong argument for the Declarational principles being law, one that I I will make elsewhere.
For now, every member of law enforcement in this country should swear an oath to to the role, approximately as laid out.
Department of Justice, in accordance with the Constitution, and the Declaration, must set a floor for police behavior as representative of the government, and audit the overall behavior of police as it relates to core US codes.- this would seem to be within their Constitutional authority already.
Examination of what constitutes an arrestable offense; as this is certainly a punishment, for any length of time, it would seem to be a violation of one’s liberty, and innocence until proven guilty.
Possible additional steps include:
Establishing a 3 strike max on brutality cases depending on severity, and zero tolerance for police misconduct that leads to the deaths of citizens- immediate dismissal, with the possibility of criminal charges
Rapid settlement of police cases where wrongdoing is obvious, in whole or at least in part, where there are quantity disputes (Eric Garner)
Examination of the grand jury process, 97% indictment rate for federal cases and a seemingly 0% indictment rate for police, it seems like an expensive extension of prosecutorial discretion.
Length of trial as a whole, as it seems clear anecdotally that longer cases trend toward innocence results, nor is it clear that year long trials aid in justice, especially when there is little dispute as to essential facts.
Specifically in the case of McCullough, by his own words,he should be charged with obstruction of Justice, as he knowingly presented false testimony to the Grand Jury, and presented them with irrelevant and misleading case law, as well as changing a well established practice for obtaining the “ham sandwich”‘s indictment for another, producing a statistically unlikely result.
Missouri should be liable for any damages resulting from Ferguson riots. The governor took on the responsibility of stopping riots, had weeks to prepare, and was unable to stop the looting? Ferguson’s business districts cannot be so large that a hundred or so officers, with mobile units backing them up couldn’t have covered them.