There is a campaign for police reform called 8CantWait. They list eight reforms to police policy that could reduce police violence if fully put into place.
- Bans Chokeholds and Strangleholds
- Requires De-escalation
- Requires Warning Before Shooting
- Requires Exhausting Other Means Before Shooting
- Duty to Intervene
- Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles
- Has Use of Force Continuum
- Requires Comprehensive Reporting
Those in bold are in place in Houston. Meaning, a police officer may intercede to prevent unnecessary use of force by a co-worker and be free to report it to a supervisor; a department has guidelines as to how much force can be used on a resisting subject; and reporting of gun use, whether it is pointing a gun at a person, intentional discharge not resulting in bodily injury, and accidental discharge resulting in injury of a person.
A report written on the subject of police use of force is quite compelling. First of all, African Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than white counterparts. It’s a fact. Ultimately, police violence would not only be reduced with these policies in place, but the threat of violence to police officers would also be decreased. But, what is most disturbing is the lack of advancement on this by police departments as on average, they only accept three of the eight proposed reforms.
If these reforms are not being pushed at the federal and state levels, it is up to cities and their politicians to step up. Here in Houston, At Large 4 Council Member Letitia Plummer offered up amendments to the City of Houston Budget that is currently being debated. (click image to enlarge)
Now, this is leadership. And she’s on her first term. We have a term-limited mayor and council members who have yet to step up with solutions. But the people must let their own city council members know that they must support this amendment by calling them or e-mailing them. And telling them that these reforms are needed for the purpose of saving lives and improving community – police (and council) relations.
These are changes that have been promised for a long time in one form or another. When things are at their calmest is when they should be put in place. Our government should be proactive, but it is not. It is only after a murder-by-cop and direct action by the people that these changes are proposed. Hopefully, that will change.
If this is truly a lesson learned, then the changes that need to be made will be made. And soon.