Weighing the Congressional Black Caucus’ “Police Act” in scale

Let me start this blog by expressing my sincerest appreciation to the Congressional Black Caucus for proposing their “Justice in Policing Act 2020” bill. That’s because many complainers have declared that former President Obama should have signed an Executive Order of this nature following the 2014 murder of Michael Brown. Who knows? Maybe Hilary Clinton would be the president to do that. Only if her party drove the long-overdue “police reform.” What else could a detractor imply? Kneeling, while wearing a Kente scarf, was in poor taste? I don’t think so. Let’s give praise, where praise is due. I liked it.

All over the news, the media is raving about how it would make it easier to prosecute police officers…”

It was a wonderful and historic sight to behold. As a black man, to some extent, that gesture was reassuring. Better days are coming. Although, when it comes to kneeling in protest of the importance of black lives, one could also wonder. Did the Democrats drop the ball with Colin Kaepernick? Imagine how phenomenal it would have been if they had encompassed his NFL protest at its inception. I guess what I’m saying is that a bill for police reform is long overdue. However, in as much as it is long delayed. It’s also desperately needed. The majority of people in the United States and around the world can agree. 

The question now becomes if the Congressional Black Caucus rushed this “Justice in Policing Act?” It looks great as they have produced something. At least, before the Republicans had the chance to complete one. Nevertheless, if the goal is to score points for the upcoming general elections? Well, the GOP is a step ahead. The Grand Old Party can simply write a tremendous Executive Order on police reform. They can enforce it right away as the two main political parties race to solve police murders. In a democratic nation, we would have the rare opportunity to choose the best of two options and solve the problem.

Concerning this subject, we don’t yet know what’s in the promised Executive Order that President Trump is about to sign. So far, we like what we’ve heard about the Democrat’s “Justice in Policing Act.” All over the news, the media is raving about how it would make it easier to prosecute police officers, reduce police brutality, track police misconduct with a unique national registry, set new standards for training and support, and of course, ban the chokehold. The media makes it sound like a gift from heaven. I want to honor this new policing act, and yet I fret that it may fall short of reaching the mark.

Although I’d love to sugarcoat this, I’d have to be direct. The United States police officers can be very arrogant and violent. For what it’s worth, that the GOP’s policing amelioration may fall even shorter. The never-ending outpour of protests is a clear indication of the police’s brutality and savagery. We’re talking stone-cold killings of unarmed civilians. The argument, as many see it, is the police’s legal immunity. How do we secure the life of a nonviolent civilian without making the cop defenseless to violence from organized criminals? We don’t want the police to be unpopular and we don’t want them to kill.

It does not spell out the rules of engagement as when the officer should draw their weapon…”

That is probably the main reason this “Justice in Policing Act” enunciates so loudly. But, we are still unsure if it is real or a political stunt. Does it incorporate all of our principal concerns when it comes to policing in the neighborhood? If I were to point to some of those concerns, I’d list the following: 1—the use of weapons against unarmed civilians. If you didn’t already know, then it’s time to become aware. The police can lie to you as a suspect and to the court. An officer can accuse you of doing something you did not do. He can then use that false accusation as an excuse to apply his weapons against you.

What are the most common abuses the police engage in? a) He may apply the handcuff too tight. b) She may taze you. c) He might shoot you down like a motherless extraterrestrial. There is a level of mutual respect that is lacking in the tone of American police officers. Does the “Justice in Policing Act” mandate respectful mannerism and professionalism in this regard? Other than kissing the cop’s ass, does it spell out the rules of engagement? Like, when the officer should draw their weapon? Or who gives the order to shoot before that officer tazes or kills? Even the military has rules of engagement.

How many black men have lost their driver’s license?”

It’s agreeable that the army faces more significant threats than the police. Therefore, our police officers cannot suggest that their line of work is so dangerous that they cannot wait for their superior to give the order to open fire. Should the law allow police officers to open fire when they are spooked? 2—None violent actions have a long term effect on the citizen. Long after an encounter with the officer has ended the civilian continues to be traumatized. Let’s look at a situation where the police approached a suspect who wasn’t committing a felony. Maybe that officer has accused the law-abiding suspect of speeding.

An amature driver might not have used their turn signal corectly. Or they were talking on their phone while driving. This officer pulls the citizen over, did not draw his gun, handcuff, or tazer. He accuses them of a nonviolent offense. During that interaction, the officer issues a citation. The person takes that ticket to court, and in doing so, they lose time at work, are fined an excessive amount of money, or have their license suspended or revoked. There is still some damage done. This may sound like a minor problem. It is not. In America, your job and your driver’s license are more important than your passport.

Most employers never ask for a job applicant’s passport. They want to see your driver’s license and your social security card. Those two documents are your economic calling cards. For many people, the difference between financial stability and commercial ruin lies on their criminal and driving record. Guess what? A police officer has the power to bankrupt someone’s life without killing them. Just three traffic tickets are enough to tumble you into an economic holocaust. Take away the driver’s license, and never find gainful employment. You may never have access to university education if the tuition was free.

You may never be able to rent a decent apartment. A racist officer can banish an abled-body individual to the passenger seat. Or cut off their access to the industrial pipeline. A lack of a driver’s license can even prevent one from getting laid. By a show of hands, how many black men have lost their driver’s license? How many black men face this despised problem? Their driving record has been destroyed in the system. One may laugh at this concern and blame the driver who lost their license. The flip side to this headache is also the fine or surcharge that comes along with a revoked driver’s license. 

Many people barely make it from paycheck to paycheck. They are not criminals. They work hard every day, but the ends don’t ever meet. Do you know how devastating it is for someone who the court has fined? A policeman accused them of an offense and that fine is beyond their means? Such a fine can spark a chain effect that impacts that person’s credit. They have to either pay off that warrant/suspension or increase in insurance premium in addition to their food, rent, car payment, health insurance, or credit card bill. Everything was going fine until that racist cop pulled them over and gave them those tickets.

Now they can’t afford their bills anymore. Their accounts are delinquent and oh, oh, there goes their credit. The “Justice in Policing Act 2020” is a step in the right direction, but it also shows how much our Caucasian politicians do not understand racism. Although it was a beautiful sight them address the problem. The fact that the Congressional Democrats even believed that kneeling on Capital Hill while wearing Kente scarfs around their necks is a sign of solidarity, shows that they may not get the point of racism. As if every black person came from Ghana or the friendly gesture was spontaneous.

The “Justice in Policing Act 2020″ does not address any reforms to the way an officer should conduct…”

Are we to assume that the Congressional Black Caucus are more understanding? What do the Republicans plan to do? How do we ensure that a police officer’s action does not lead to someone’s financial ruin? How do we legislate their rules of engagement so we are confident that police officers will not open fire in someone’s home? Will he or she received a green light from their commander who assumes responsibility for the civilian’s life? I’ve seen better policing in Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Czech Republic, and France. Are policewomen opening fire on civilians in Australia and New Zealand?

3—Mutual respect and dignity of the citizen. How many times have you heard an officer utter the words, “Sir, can you step out of the car?” What’s the psychology behind an order to sit or lay on the ground? Let’s be clear. I’m not speaking of a situation where the suspect was committing a felony. I’m speaking of a situation where the cop may have suspected a respectable person to have a toxin in their body. They may have a suspended license, an arrest warrant for a nonviolent offense, traffic violation, or any of the minor crimes that do not pose any direct physical threat to the officer or the safety of the public.

A respected husband/father is embarrassed in his car with his wife and children watching. What message does that send to the wife and kids if an officer can simply walk up, ask a few questions and then order their papa bear to sit on the ground? If he refuses, they then force him to the ground violently, taze, or kill him right there in front of his family. And there is a grand jury and a judge that exonerates such an officer? Not only that but why should we have to protest and lobby for this to stop? What is wrong with the mentality of the American people? Why is the American public so easy to distract?

Why aren’t we demanding that the “Justice in Policing Act 2020” addresses the manner an officer should conduct himself or herself professionally and show mutual respectful in every encounter with the citizen they have targeted. These officers should not be able to just walk up to anybody, accuse them of whatever, and then command, beat, force, or kill them on the spot. Most times you see the officer maltreating a cooperating suspect while saying, “stop resisting,” when everyone can see that the person was not resisting.*

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