Sunday, June 4, 2023

Investigation calls for US police reforms

Changes are underway at some local US law enforcement agencies trying to tackle long-standing policing problems such as excessive force and racial bias.

The reforms come as minority communities demand a change in the way police officers do their jobs, including greater accountability for their actions.

The US Department of Justice is investigating the patterns and practices of police departments in several cities, including Louisville, Kentucky and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last month, a report by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights said there was a pattern of racial discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department. It found that the law enforcement agency illegally engaged in race-based policing, resulting in different treatment for people of color.

The report was based on a nearly two-year investigation that began days after the killing of African American George Floyd by white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. The incident captured on video showed Officer Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck and back for more. over nine minutes. The incident sparked months of US demonstrations and worldwide protests calling for an end to police brutality.

FILE – People sign with an image of George Floyd, outside the courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Floyd’s death.

Since the start of the investigation, the Minneapolis Police Department has made several improvements. These include stricter disciplinary action against officers involved in misconduct, new detailed requirements for reporting incidents of use of force, and enhanced training for implicit bias.

“Former and current Minneapolis Police Department leaders acknowledged there was a problem with the MPD’s organizational culture and that they knew it was the result of racial disparities,” said Minnesota Human Rights Department Commissioner Rebecca Lucero.

The report found that Minneapolis officials were nearly two times more likely to find and arrest black members of the community than whites. The authorities also exposed officers who consistently used racist, anti-feminist and abusive language.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights blamed discriminatory policing practices in Minneapolis on “inadequate and ineffective” accountability systems as well as inadequate training.

Investigators came to the conclusion after reviewing hundreds of hours of police body camera footage and interviewing thousands of people. Minneapolis officials will now draft a court-enforceable agreement to prevent future discrimination.

“There is no room for bias or discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department,” said the city’s interim police chief Amelia Huffman. “I believe there are men and women in the Minneapolis Police Department who aspire to meet the challenge of today and tomorrow.”

Some analysts believe the city’s focus should be on recruiting quality executives and developing greater community outreach.

“When you focus on building solid relationships in communities of color, things like excessive aggression and implicit bias start to subside,” said Richard Eborne, chairman of the New York Civil Crimes Commission.

“We don’t discriminate against people we know well,” Aiborne told VOA. “We need to encourage more and more genuine dialogue between the police agency and minority communities.”

File - breonna taylor's mother tamika palmer and others lead a memorial march for breonna taylor near jefferson square park on march 13, 2021 in louisville, kentucky.

FILE – Breonna Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer and others lead a memorial march for Breonna Taylor near Jefferson Square Park on March 13, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.

police accountability

Problematic policing is in the headlines in other US cities. The Justice Department is investigating whether police in Louisville, Kentucky engage in unconstitutional practices, including unreasonable force and illegal searches.

The investigation followed the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. An unarmed African American medical worker was shot by police during an illegal drug raid inside his home. His death also fueled nationwide demonstrations.

Since Taylor’s death, Louisville police have banned the use of so-called “no-knock” warrants, such as those used to enter her apartment. The department also discovered other officer misconduct by reviewing dozens of incidents of use of force, including officer-involved shootings, from 2017 to 2021.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the city’s police department amended its policies to prohibit discrimination by targeting, withholding, or detaining people because of their race or ethnicity. Other departments have created new officer training programs such as the one adopted in Baltimore, Maryland, which emphasize the use of fair practices when making traffic stops and arrests.

As part of an ongoing effort to address police reforms, the Justice Department has provided more support to law enforcement agencies to improve fair policing. Launched in March, the program will focus on officer training and building positive relationships with the community.

Attorney general merrick garland testifies at the capitol in washington on april 26, 2022.

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies at the Capitol in Washington on April 26, 2022.

“This program is a voluntary opportunity for a law enforcement agency that knows it needs to make a change, and wants to make a change,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland. “We will provide technical support so that police departments can complete the improvements they identify.”

The program comes after bipartisan talks to crack down on federal police reform legislation in Congress last year.

“Clearly Congress hasn’t done what they should have done to provide support around this very challenging social issue of policing in this country,” law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander told VOA.

Some social justice groups want lawmakers to reintroduce the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 2020”. It sought to increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct and eliminate policing practices such as racial profiling. The legislation was approved in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but stalled in the Senate, where Republicans can block most legislation with a filibuster.

In an effort to work around the congressional impasse, US President Joe Biden’s administration is on executive orders to address police misconduct while providing more federal resources to help city police departments fight against a rise in violent crimes. is considering.

The administration’s 2023 federal spending plan requests more than $8 billion in grants for states and localities to build trust with those communities by implementing community-based strategies to prevent gun crime and gun violence. to fund the efforts.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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