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We have seen excesses at play from members and factions within the police authorities, kneeling on the neck of a subdued black man, hitting a 70 year-old white man in the face with a baton, shooting a twenty-something indigenous woman based on the police claim that she became aggressive with a knife. These stories of police brutality arrive in the context of a pandemic that has hit poor, crowded communities hardest, many with large racialized populations. In communities that struggled to begin with, hit hard recently by Covid-19, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that police brutality against such peoples can only ignite a powder keg of pent-up anger and frustration. Obviously no one in a protest should destroy private property or hurt innocent people. Meeting a misuse of power with a misuse of protest is an unreasonable solution to oppression. The questions must now be asked. What systemic policies continue to exist that enable oppression? What must change in policing and public policy to prevent the misuse of power? I’ll put forward a few policies that I think should immediately change: -end all use of force against peaceful protesters -end the criminalization and use of law enforcement against drug use (not including large scale drug dealing), prostitution (both in the provision and use of such services), drinking in public, and assembling in any sized group (including groups not practicing social distancing) -end the harassment of people suffering from mental health problems or who are inebriated (and not harassing or hurting anyone) -redirect funding used to enforce laws against the above mentioned behaviour towards inner city economic development and mental health programs -end carding of people who are not committing a crime -ensure that all police are equipped with mini cams that must be active during all forms of law enforcement -refocus law enforcement on protecting people from violence, theft, and other clear crimes intended to hurt people What do you think must change?
When it comes to budget cuts, police seem to always be sacrosanct. I've seen cuts to teachers, social workers, scientists, all kinds of admin staff and almost every other type of government employee. But not police. Nor, come to think of it, fireman. This editorial claims that policing costs have risen faster than the rate of inflation in Canada (at all 3 levels of government) despite a falling crime rate. It also claims that police resources are used inefficiently with $100k a year policeman doing all kinds of work that could be done by lesser trained staff. Perhaps when marijuana is legalized, that would be a good opportunity to examine policing needs. Maybe there is an opportunity to redirect resources towards supporting people, not prosecuting them.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/former-edmonton-cop-derek-huff-blows-whistle-on-brutality-corruption-1.1871353 So there is a notion by some that things can be corrected if you go through the right channels. Went through channels, got nowhere.