Black Lives Matter offers 10-point plan to curb police killing
The Black Lives Matter movement has finally announced what many have been waiting for — a specific national platform aiming to curb police violence and reform the criminal justice system.
The complete policy outline is detailed at a new website called Campaign Zero. Here are some of the specifics from the site:
- More than 1,000 people are killed each year by police in the U.S. Of those, nearly 60 percent were unarmed.
- There have been only nine days this year when police did not kill anyone.
- The numbers of people killed by police in the U.S. aren’t even comparable to statistics in other countries — 1,100 killed in the U.S., and fewer than 10 people killed by police in other Western countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Japan.
The site offers a 10-point plan to integrate recommendations from communities, research organizations, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which issued a final report in May. The points are:
End broken windows policing. This calls for an end to the decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities, especially in neighborhoods with people of color. Also addressed are the need for different approaches to those with mental health issues and an end to racial profiling.
Community oversight. This calls for an all-civilian oversight structure with discipline power that includes a Police Commission and Civilian Complaints Office. Both offices would have specific responsibilities and across-the-board power.
Limit use of force. This solution seeks to establish standards monitor how force is used.
Independently investigate and prosecute. Among other recommendations, this point seeks a permanent Special Prosecutor’s Office at the state level to investigate any police shooting.
Community representation. This calls for officers to be a more accurate representation of the communities they serve.
Body cams/film the police. This would require and fund body cameras as well as dashboard cameras. All citizens would have the right to record police interactions on a cell phone, and police would not have the right to confiscate that phone, as is the case in some states.
Training. This calls for rigorous and sustained training, especially about racial bias.
End for-profit policing. This calls for an end to quota systems and limits fines for low-income people.
Demilitarization. This seeks the end of the sale of military weapons to the nation’s police forces.
Fair police union contracts. This seeks to rewrite police union contracts that create a different set of rules for police, and asks that disciplinary records be open and accessible
It’s an ambitious list but one with a lot of common sense. No doubt it will face a backlash from some police groups, but many police also are seeking solutions.
Many have been waiting for these kinds of specifics from the Black Lives Matter movement amid complaints of disruptive behavior at Democratic campaign events, especially those by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Well, now we’ve got those specifics. And I think the movement will be stronger for it.
The Black Lives Matter campaign is asking for action at the federal, state, and local level. It also offers charts on which presidential candidates are backing the proposed solutions. We can only hope that more proposals will gain support, at least on the Democratic side. After all, many Republican candidates, such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and real estate mogul Donald Trump, are dismissing the movement out of hand. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is on board with one idea — ending for-profit policing.
“We can end police violence in America,” the website says. “Together, we will win.”
UPDATE: A related group tied to Black Lives Matter called the Movement for Black Lives has now issued a further list of six demands. Those include:
- End the war on black people. The groups demands “an end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing” of African-Americans.
- Reparations. “The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done.”
- Invest-divest. “We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.”
- Economic justice. “We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.”
- Community control. “We demand a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us.”
- Political power. “We demand independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society.”