8 Steps to End Police Brutality in America: Stop the Epidemic, by Fianna McClain

A guest post, reproduced by kind permission of the author.

It is with great sadness in my heart that I write this blog post. There is an epidemic happening right in your backyard; police brutality. Police are continuing to shoot first and ask questions later, and it is tearing this country apart. Beyond taking lives, they are not being held responsible for their heinous crimes. Something must be done. Here are 8 steps that the United States can take to bring police brutality to an end.

First, here is a video of the last words of 11 people that were killed by police. It will shock you.

1) Investigations Led by Independent Prosecutors.

Incidences of accused police brutality, not only resulting in death or injury to suspects, should be investigated by an independent prosecutor, because district attorneys rely on the police department in their districts every day for information, evidence and testimony. The police department and the district attorney have to have trust and cooperation between each other. Some district attorneys may not prosecute to their full potential because they are afraid to alienate the police. If an independent prosecutor investigated crimes internal to the police department, then there would be an unbiased investigation that would result in more incidences of charges of police brutality being brought to trial.

2) Defunding of Police Departments by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government could defund police departments that are in violation of good practices. This would not completely take away the funding for the police department, as they receive funding from other places. This would not be a permanent solution; it would be temporary until they complied with fair practice. There needs to be a consequence for departments that do not follow the rules and incentives, other than just being humane, to be a fair police department.

3) End to the “Broken Window” Policy.

Localized only to New York City, there should be an end to the “Broken Window” policy. This is a policy that states that every small crime is treated as an entry level crime to bigger crime. This means that anyone doing something as petty as jumping the subway turnstile can then be arrested for a misdemeanor crime as if they were committing a more serious crime. Strictly enforcing minor violations does not deter more serious crime but simply harasses and antagonizes residents of high-crime neighborhoods.

4) End to the “Stop and Frisk” Policy.

End the “Stop and Frisk” policy in New York City. This policy allows the police to stop and frisk anybody in New York City that they feel should be stopped, not because they are breaking the law. The “Stop and Frisk” policy creates racial profiling, suspicion, resentment, a sense of unfairness and stereotyping.

5) End to the “Blue Wall of Silence.”

Put an end to the “Blue Wall of Silence.” This is the thin blue line. Cops do not inform or testify against fellow police officers because there is a culture of sticking together no matter what. Cops feel like they will be violating or turning against their “brothers” if they speak up against injustices. Also, a lot of cops do not speak up against their fellow officers when they see an instance of police brutality on the job. They do not question each other’s actions to put on a united front.

6) Cut off Supply of Surplus Military Gear to Police Departments.

End the supply of surplus military gear to police departments across the United States. If the government creates a war zone, it will be a war zone. It is using unnecessary force on society for police to advance on protestors as if they were a bunch of terrorists. The people are not the enemy; we are society and the goal of police should be to protect citizens, not suppress them into submission. This only increases the mentality of brutality. Continue reading 8 Steps to End Police Brutality in America: Stop the Epidemic, by Fianna McClain

Hitting Rock Bottom

My father was an alcoholic. For years, the members of my family pretended it wasn’t so. We pretended that dad was just dad. He had a lot of good points about him – generous to a fault, reaching out to others who had less than he did (a lesson he and my mother instilled in me that is still alive and active to this day, long after they have both passed away). My father finally admitted he was an alcoholic, and my mother and I finally admitted we were co-dependents, and we started attending AlAnon meetings. A number of years after that, after more pain and anger and confusion and downright craziness, I admitted I still had problems, and started attending ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings.

One of the common themes of AA, AlAnon, and ACOA (as well as NarcAnon and other similar groups) is that at some point, we all hit rock bottom. That we realize that, as much as we have denied our problem, lied about our problem, ignored our problem, and tried to imagine our problem(s) out of existence, they are still there. And we have a choice. We can continue on that path, and continue to watch our lives fall apart while pretending they aren’t, or we can choose to wake up and we can choose to change.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, many of us are asking why. We are asking how. We are asking why and how this could have happened. And, in chorus with this, some of us are asking why now? Why didn’t the Aurora shootings, the Virginia Tech shootings, the Sikh shootings, the Columbine shootings, the Thurston High School shootings matter? Well, I think they did. But, like the alcoholic or drug addict and his/her family, we hadn’t hit bottom yet. It didn’t hurt enough yet for enough of us that we said, “Enough!” Like the family of an alcoholic or drug addict, we could excuse Aurora or Virginia Tech or the other shootings as something awful, but as “not us.” We could say, “Oh my! How horrible, what happened to those people!” Because really, it didn’t hit home.

In my own experience, we excused many of the things my father did. “It was just this time.” “It was a fluke.” “It’s not going to happen again.” Someone on the outside could say, “Hey, folks, are you kidding me?” But unless we, those directly involved, could hear that, those on the outside could just as well be whistling in the wind. We could continue to ignore it.

But when my dad crashed the family car into a telephone pole, and then shortly after, got arrested for drunk driving and I got called to bail him out of jail, well, it woke me up. A bit. After that, my dad started attending AA meetings and my mom started attending AlAnon meetings. Then she brought me with her. Over the years, along with AlAnon, I attended ACOA meetings and also found a therapist who specialized in treating family members of alcoholics and drug addicts. It took some time, after I hit bottom (bottom being I tried to kill myself), but I have grown since then. I have shaken loose from that which I knew, that which blinded me, that which held me prisoner.

And I deeply believe that that process has everything to do with where we are with the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Was Virginia Tech awful? Yes, it was. Was the Aurora shooting horrible? Absolutely? Was Columbine? No doubt about it. Was Thurston High School? Yes, it was, and doubly so because my daughter’s step-sister was enrolled in that school at the time, so it was personal for us. So why wasn’t there the type of outcry that there has been since Sandy Hook Elementary School? Why have we allowed the stories to fade from view, from concern, when it seems like we are not so willing to do that after Sandy Hook? Continue reading Hitting Rock Bottom