Last week was full of tragedy and death and protests. It was an emotional rollercoaster for those of us observing so I can’t imagine the horror of those intimately affected. (More)
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I call myself an observer because I am in the North Woods of Minnesota far from freeways and streets blocked by protests and the immediacy of the Black Lives Matter actions. I fully support changes in policing and changes in how this country could deliberately dismantle systemic and institutional racism. I suspect that I am not the only supporter cheering at a distance.
I am also a woman with a 35 year work history of being an “inside change agent.” The power structure when I started in corporate America was mostly white men. If I wanted to make changes I needed to find the men who wanted to give women a chance and give them a chance to do the right thing. I got to be very adept at finding allies and advancing the cause. I started, with my friend Gloria, an after hours classes for “Women in Business” at Honeywell. We made one hell of a quiet impact. Some of my feminist friends were marching and burning their bras. Great if that is your avenue to make changes. Me, I wanted to change the system of selection, promotion and training to broaden the pool of applicants.
Part of me cries at the BLM cries for “No Justice, No Peace.” I am not an attorney. I did Google “SCOTUS + Police Officers + benefit of the doubt.: The Supreme Court gives police the benefit of the doubt. The Washington Post has a clear explanation of the history:
The law that determines when police can use deadly force generally gives officers considerable leeway in making that split-second decision about whether they need to kill to save themselves or others. Law enforcement experts say the legal standard, established by two Supreme Court rulings from the 1980s, has made it hard for prosecutors to obtain convictions in cases of alleged use of excessive force.
“The reality is that the police often use excessive force, including sometimes deadly, and are rarely held criminally or civilly liable – and most police departments have no meaningful internal or external accountability mechanisms,” said Anthony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation.
Justice Department statistics show that fewer than 8 percent of complaints of excessive force are upheld against police by their departments. In 2002, the period most recently analyzed, the department noted 26,000 complaints but only 2,000 in which police departments agreed the officer used excessive force.
Clearly the police are held to a different standard of appropriate action than those marching in protest in the streets think is justice. The protestors call out to us to change this system and I agree with them. I do think it will take a few carefully selected cases appealed to the Supreme Court (with a 9th justice nominated by a Democratic president) to change the standard in a way that delivers accountability and protects “reasonable” actions by police officers who have a sometimes dangerous job.
Elections matter! Another reason to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.
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