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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Obama: Reform the Police Now

Former President Obama issued a statement today on the Daunte Wright killing by police in Minneapolis:
Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. It’s important to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but this is also a reminder of just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.

The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.

Michelle and I grieve alongside the Wright family for their loss. We empathize with the pain that Black mothers, fathers, and children are feeling after yet another senseless tragedy. And we will continue to work with all fair-minded Americans to confront historical inequities and bring about nationwide changes that are so long overdue.

If you want to help, you can learn about the issues, connect with local and national organizations, find resources on trauma and mental health, and take action here:  www.obama.org/anguish-and-action
ABC News reported last night with newly released bodycam footage of the shooting:


What I Say: Much as I deplore yet another killing, the situation is not as simple as the headlines make it sound. It was not merely a traffic stop - Daunte had an outstanding warrant for a gun violation and had failed to appear in court. The police have a right and a duty to make an arrest in that situation. His second mistake was jumping back behind the wheel of his car while being handcuffed - at that point he is a danger to the public. So it seems clear to me that he bears some of the responsibility for what happened. This does not, of course, justify his killing. 

I have no background in law enforcement but it seems to me there must be a better way to take someone into custody. And firing a gun instead of a taser is a rookie mistake, not what is expected of a 26-year police veteran. So the police also were at fault for failing to handle the arrest peacefully - that's their job, and they are supposed to be professionals. 

After 9/11, the federal government under George W. Bush effectively militarized the police all over this country.  Today, if we are not to live under a police state, law enforcement must be re-imagined and effectively reformed immediately. No more senseless killings! 

There's also this report from ABC News last night on the case of U.S. Army Lt. Caron Nazario that in my view is an even more egregious example of outrageously, horrifically bad policing over a mere traffic stop, though it did not result in a killing:


There are good people in law enforcement, a very necessary function of government - but these killer cops have got to be stopped. Along with a lot of other unconscionable things going on in this country. How, I don't know, but there must be a way.



Davis said...

The sickness of racism is so ingrained in our culture that the police get the strongest dose that goes hand in hand with gun culture. Reform is absolutely necessary - and yes - not everything is black and white. But wrong is wrong.

Russ Manley said...

Yes, wrong is wrong. What Biden is doing about it, I haven't heard so far. Didn't he say it would be #1 on his list when he was President?

And frankly, I'm getting tired of seeing Kamala's pointy little shoes on the carpet at these press conferences. What is *she* doing about it? Of course, the Prez calls all the shots, she's merely a subordinate - but why have her there if not to be a useful helper?

I have no answers but these killings have got to STOP. And the answer starts at the top.

Davis said...

I hear you.

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