By Horacio Jones
Since the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, Americans have had to face the issues of race and police brutality once again. Many have taken to protesting as a way to have their voices heard. On December 13, 2014 there were numerous nationwide protests and I caught up with some of the protestors in Balboa Park to get their opinions on race relations with the police and what can be done to improve them.
No matter which side you are on, freedom of speech is paramount to the successful resolution of this obvious problem regarding police killing unarmed citizens. It doesn’t matter what race the victims belonged to. They are citizens of our country and deserved more judicious treatment. Those involved in law enforcement are civil servants which means they are compelled to protect us. Yes, they have a very difficult and dangerous job, but the officers involved in the Brown and Garner cases are products of a system that is unquestionably flawed and not providing adequate training to law enforcement officials who were sworn to serve and protect us.
Like a wide range of Americans, I felt disappointed with the outcomes of the Brown and Garner grand jury decisions. In both cases, unarmed black men were killed by police officers and the grand jury failed to indict either of the officers. I decided to go film the protest so I could get reactions and answers about why this is such a contentious national issue and what can be done to avoid future tragedies. During the protest, I was able to film some of the speakers and get some insightful interviews from a couple of demonstrators. I hope that by reporting on events like these I can contribute to the local and national conversation about this volatile topic.
No dispute with this article but we need to remember that not all cops are bad. Also bad things happen to them too. http://nypost.com/2014/12/20/2-nypd-cops-shot-execution-style-in-brooklyn/
I believe most of those who are trying to call attention to the abuse of power by the police would indeed agree that it’s a relatively small percentage of the force that are responsible for incidents of abuse. Much of the frustration, though, is getting the rest of the force to own up to the issue and make the offenders culpable for their actions. There are some encouraging signs, though. According to a Daily Kos article, in Richmond, the police chief (holding a sign reading #BlackLivesMatter) and other officers participated in one of the protests.
That’s should not downplay the also very real issue of systemic racism evidenced by situations such as one mentioned in that same article where a belligerent 63 year old white guy with a rifle in Kalamazoo was talked down in a 40 minute encounter with no arrest. The systemic racism issue is a much more difficult situation to resolve, but getting accountability for wrong-doing is an obvious necessity.