I can’t encourage violence, but back in the day, if a sheriff or officer killed people in unjustifiable ways, the towns people would literally bind them to a heavy pole called a rail, and then literally run them out of town on a rail. Sometimes it seems like the community rising up and the mob getting its justice seems worthwhile. When due process is obviously rigged, then what are we supposed to do? Wait for the mayor to award the murderous pigs another medal?
What if we could build a database (in a mobile app with a friendly front-end, of course) of cops who’ve been convicted/penalized for doing nasty things, but are still on the job? Maybe people would make an effort to recognize, and “police” the ill-doers in their own communities?
Find out how your local police use of force policy is made, enforced and audited. Monitor and question auditors independence and the activity of any civilian review board. If there is no mechanism for independent civilian review of use of force, with meaningful input into policy, be very disappointed that you live in a police state.
This is, of course, an emphatically radical project – which is why it’s phrased that way, as a progression. It would have to be connected to a broader social transformation.
The real challenge, I think, is in overcoming the widespread belief that we need police to begin with. Police are astonishingly ineffective at actually preventing crime, at least the sorts of crime that any of us really care about.
Maybe for this audience, a good next step would be looking at just how much of a propaganda machine the police operate. How many television shows have you seen about police? How many television series have there been about the NYPD alone?
My stepson suggested that maybe we should start boycotting television shows about cops, and that seems like an excellent idea.
Catalog all police dept’s in the nation. Abstract and categorize all use of force policies and state and local laws. Correlate with actual statistics scraped from public data sources. Include court cases and settlements. Crowdsource new reports of inappropriate use of force. Present the data.
I don’t think police are out of control, certainly 30 or 50 years ago it had to be a lot worse for minorities, statistically speaking. Can anyone rationally dispute this? Anyone wanna go back in time to the utopian 1950s and see how cops treated minorities? Show of hands? Anyone?
What did change is that we see a lot more of the abuse because everyone has a camcorder in their pocket and a global network of instant video sharing.
Long term that is absolutely a good thing. Imagine the horrors that went on 30, 50, 100 years ago that nobody heard about or saw. And seeing it is the first step to changing it, without question. All cops should have mandatory body cams, in addition to citizens filming all the time on their smartphones. The data is all there; video works to mitigate bad behavior.
Problem is, “seeing it” may lead you to believe abuse is super common all around you when it probably isn’t. There is a word or term for this kind of bias, I can’t remember what it is, but same principle Fox News runs on – show the most horrifying outliers over and over and people start to think the outliers are the norm.
So there is a balance to strike here, fix the outliers, use video to do it, but realize that these outliers are not the complete story, either.
What bugs me is how often these shows advocate breaking those inconvenient laws and proceedures to catch bad guys, and how when people are called on these oversteps it’s seen as obstruction with maybe the cast’s resident crazy paying lipservice opposition, but they’re the tinfoil hat person weirdo so you can safely disregard.