Who Has Real Answers For Ferguson?
Here are the facts: there are violent people in this world, sometimes in our community; crime occurs more often than we care to be informed of it; and above everything, we expect violence to occur, but hold closely the idea that there exists a force to protect our communities from these violent crimes. But what happens when those meant to safeguard such invaluable life become the aggressor? We begin to feel vulnerable, as though the world is a “dangerous place,” we hesitate to let our children leave our side, and we question the institutions in which we may have previously trusted without question. This feeling of vulnerability and unrest has only increased across the US in light of the recent events involving police brutality.
We all want to see this issue come to a peaceable end, but at what cost? At Sustainable Law Group, we see the efforts of the public, and we want to know who has a plan for our people. More importantly, what are the demands that we are making with these efforts? Protests are sprouting everywhere, and there are many whispered ideals but no distinct shout among the crowds.
In our search, we found two distinct commonalities in the public outcry: the necessity for police reform, and a decrease in racial profiling. These desires have been backed by well-known groups such as the National Bar Association, the ACLU, NAACP, and the Urban League.
Early in the cause in August, Amnesty International sent a delegation of staff to Ferguson from to work with the community and protesters on non-direct action and de-escalation tactics that may occur during protests. In addition, other staff was present to strictly observe and monitor the police response to protests. The National Bar Association of Washington DC, the largest African American Bar in America, held a panel titled, “Know Your Rights” on Aug 23, advocating awareness, and action for justice. The National Bar continues to advocate for legislation that will protect the public from police brutality, including body cameras on officers, alongside “Use of Force” training, which would demonstrate a situation in which a reasonable amount of force is to be used. Additionally, the National Bar Association is encouraging police departments to conduct annual training in the practice of de-escalation and force transition, and hoped that policies will be implemented to require observing officers to report when another officer uses excessive force. The ACLU put out a police-recording application for residents of Missouri, which sends video directly to a database owned by the ACLU of Missouri.
Last week, the Los Angeles Police Department was the first large city to begin requiring officers to wear body cameras. The LAPD will initially purchase 7,000 cameras in total, starting with 800 in January, and increasing as the year passes. This movement will be made financially possibly by President Obama’s $363 million initiative to provide funding for police cameras. According to Huffington Post, smaller cities that have used this method saw a drastic decrease in complaints against police violence, as well as a decrease in use of police aggression.
The movement continues to grow and gain momentum, hopefully with enough growth to spur real change. The unfortunate facet of the American system is that even positive change takes time; sometimes more time than we have. In order to reduce racial profiling, it may take a social movement grander than what we have outlined here, but this is a definite beginning to an incredible transformation.