Everything You Need to Know: about police violence in the US
Now we have one of our occasional features called Everything You Need to Know, where you can learn a great deal about something in a very short time.
In this case, it's Everything You Need to Know about police violence in the US in just one sentence:
The police force of Pasco, Washington, population 59,000, has shot and killed more people in the past six months than the combined police forces of all of Great Britain have killed over the past three years.
And that is Everything You Need to Know.
But even though that's Everything You Need to Know, I'm going to add a comment: I've said several times in discussing cop violence that most cops are good cops, most cops are trying to do the best, the most professional, job they can for their communities. But for that very reason, it is vital that those good cops stop shielding the bad ones.
For example, a recent study of the New York City police - in fact, I cited it here last week - revealed that just 5% of cops in the NYPD accounted for 40% of the complaints of excessive force, that is, of police brutality. And over half of the NYPD cops had no such complaints against them at all. Those 95% have to stop protecting that 5%.
Those cops who want to do the right thing, who want to have good relations with the community, those cops who are not going to reach for the club or the taser or the gun at the first provocation, those cops who do not want to divide the world into cops and suspects, they have got to stop shielding those who do. They have got to step up and speak up.
Is that professionally risky? It is. Is it even personally risky? Frank Serpico, who said that after he became a whistle-blower his calls for back-up would be answered slowly if at all, would surely say yes.
Then again, we are always being told how dangerous police work is - so maybe they should just think of this as another part of the job.
Sources cited in links: