The time has come for a change in policing. About 1000 people are killed each year by police officers. It couldn’t be more obvious for the need to minimize police interactions with the general public.
The case of Duane Wright is an illustration of what over-enforcement of the laws can lead to. Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was killed after he was stopped on a highway for an expired driver’s license and for having an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror.
It was totally unnecessary to pull Wright over. In London, they use ubiquitous cameras to see who is driving and, with computers, to determine if they have a valid license. Those whose licenses have expired receive summonses in the mail and if necessary personal visits in their home. What is the reason, in this over-wrought racial situation, to send police to stop cars and confront unlicensed drivers?
And is it really worth endangering the lives of police officers and citizens to ensure that they do not have air fresheners dangling from the rearview mirrors? The rationale for this ridiculous rule is that air fresheners can be used to block the smell of marijuana. But we are on the verge of legalizing marijuana throughout the country. Is it worth the risk of confrontation that could and did escalate into a shooting to enforce a law like that?
Of course, sometimes it is necessary for police to interact directly with citizens. Street crimes, muggings, and crimes in progress come to mind. But the vast bulk of police- citizen interactions have nothing to do with violence and they should be minimized in the current climate
Protesters have a case when it comes to holding police accountable for shootings. Each year, approximately 1000 people are killed by police officers. Over the past 15 years only 121 have been indicted and only 44 convicted, many of lesser charges.
There can be no doubt that jurors in the Chauvin case were intimidated by the prospect of massive rioting if they voted to acquit. When the President of the United States says publicly, in the Oval Office, that he is, in effect, hoping for a conviction, there is scant hope for impartial justice.
The trial was as tainted as it could have been by the statements of Joe Biden and Maxine Waters. With tens thousands of troopers massed on the streets of Minneapolis what juror would have the courage to vote for acquittal knowing that it would set off rioting that might endanger his family, home, or business?
Reducing the number of interactions between citizens and police officers is no panacea, but it is a common sense, prudent step toward reducing violence and racial tensions.
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