For Those Still Not Seeing The Need For Police Reform
Many people have said there is no need for any major police reform, even accusing Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors of being nothing more than mere looters. To them, one must ask if they still feel the same way after bodycam footage of two officers threatening to and then pepper-spraying a handcuffed nine-year-old has leaked and gone viral. After all, it wasn’t until the footage was leaked and began going viral that the officers faced any disciplinary action.
We are not talking about some burly teenage boy that even handcuffed could be a threat to police. We are talking about a 9-year-old little girl. The only thing she did when they threatened her in the first place was to scream for her father. Now, granted, he is probably already upset since his daughter is handcuffed. Not the best idea for a child who was, by all the descriptions this writer has heard, having a mental health episode.
This is just coming at it from a what this writer views as a common sense view with three points to make beyond she is just a child. First off, at 9 this writer was probably 5’5” and close to 200 pounds, and yet when I would go off in an episode of a temper tantrum that was over the top my grandmother by herself could subdue me to the floor and sit on me until I was able to communicate the problem rationally. (My grandmother being only 5’0” and much lighter than me mind you.) Yet these two fully grown adults were unable to keep control of a 9-year-old girl who is visibly smaller than I was without handcuffing her.
Second, had they not done this, even if she needed to be transported to a hospital for treatment, it would have been much easier to deescalate the situation by having the dad ride with her, or if he were at work calling him and having him meet them there with him reassuring his daughter everything would be ok.
On top of that, the main reason they had been called was to deescalate the situation, not make it worse and even more traumatizing as they obviously did. I’ve had to talk to burly S.W.A.T.-looking cops who did a better job than these two officers did.
The problem is even more compounded by the fact that the department these officers work for took no disciplinary action until after the footage was leaked. I am sure a doctor was curious as to why a little girl of 9 had pepper spray on her when she was admitted, and even if being admitted to a juvenile detention center someone with common sense should have called a superior officer to have this immediately investigated with some sort of action taken to remove the officers from the community.
Does this mean all cops are bad? No. But, it is an increasing alarm bell that the current police model is not designed for dealing with the multiple functions society has asked it to fill in recent years. Something that is not beyond being able to fix. This must start with police willing to be open to constructive criticism, along with doing some deep self-reflection of the job itself.
It means that yes, the police need to have their funding restructured, aka defunding the police and how they get funded, while at the same time implementing the changes needed to keep officers safe while with the community feels protected. And no, that is not going to be an easy task. Nor will one model fit every place uniformly, since each place will be unique. However, once basic principles of what is needed can be identified then the training can improve, which makes the changes begin to happen smoother until they seem like they are just routine.
I’m not saying we will ever get back to seeming like Mayberry, but we can still work towards getting to that ideal. Right now, we are heading towards a future of anarchy when it comes to policing, but with some dialogue leading to major reforms aimed at the demands of society as it currently stands that future becomes more orderly overall. Not that there won’t be some chaos in it, but hopefully in more of the fun fashion. The first step would be the old saying/lesson my grandmother instilled in me, which is walking a mile in the other’s shoes.
*Tips his hat and walks out the door spinning a familiar looking call box key on his finger*
Picture courtesy of geralt.