First of all I take exception to the term ‘Union’ when applying it to the police.
At best it is an association……to imply it is a union means that it is part of the larger labor force…they are NOT!
That is my short bitch…..what this post is about is the coming storm of reform that is hitting the police forces around the country.
But why are these “associations” so strong?
Police unions are at the center of questions about what will happen to Chauvin and the three officers who watched as Floyd was suffocated. And they are also key to understanding why officers across the country escape discipline time and again after beating or killing people. As other labor unions have shrunk in recent years, membership in police unions has remained high. While the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged people to document police brutality on camera and demand accountability, police unions, which now have hundreds of thousands of members, have pushed back in almost every way imaginable—by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, and lobbying to keep their members’ disciplinary histories sealed.
All of which can make officers feel invincible when they commit acts of violence. A forthcoming research paper from the University of Victoria in Canada found that after police officers formed unions—generally between the 1950s and the 1980s—there was a “substantial” increase in police killings of Black and Brown people in the United States. Within a decade of gaining collective bargaining rights, officers killed an additional 60 to 70 civilians of all races per year collectively, compared with previous years, an increase that researchers say may be linked to officers’ belief that their unions would protect them from prosecution. A working paper from the University of Chicago found that complaints of violent misconduct by Florida sheriffs’ offices jumped 40 percent after deputies there won collective bargaining rights in 2003.
Reform is sadly needed but it will be a hard row to hoe…..because these so-called unions will fight any reform that is sadly needed.
In May, just days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the bellicose leader of the city’s police union, described Floyd as a violent criminal, said that the protesters who had gathered to lament his death were terrorists, and complained that they weren’t being treated more roughly by police. Kroll, who has spoken unsentimentally about being involved in three shootings himself, said that he was fighting to get the accused officers reinstated. In the following days, the Kentucky police union rallied around officers who had fatally shot an E.M.T. worker named Breonna Taylor in her home. Atlanta police staged an organized sick-out after the officers who killed Rayshard Brooks were charged. Philadelphia police sold T-shirts celebrating a fellow-cop who was caught on video clubbing a student protester with a steel baton. The list goes on.
Along with everything else about American society that was thrown into appalling relief by Floyd’s killing, there has been the peculiar militancy of many police unions. Law enforcement kills more than a thousand Americans a year. Many are unarmed, and a disproportionate number are African-American. Very few of the officers involved face serious, if any, consequences, and much of that impunity is owed to the power of police unions.
Until those much needed reforms hit in your police department….there are a few things we all can do to try and keep the cops in-line with the rest of society…..
As a reporter covering law enforcement for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and now in partnership with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, I use investigative reporting techniques to strengthen police accountability. Other journalists do the same. But, in truth, any citizen can apply the same methods to ensure the law enforcement system they’re funding is serving them well.
Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate. But I’ve been surprised by how often it’s possible, though time consuming, to expose important issues by requesting and examining records and data from police departments and other government agencies and engaging citizens and key leaders. So here are five techniques concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers can use to examine police conduct in their communities.
Read the list and try to help keep the PD on a thin line…..it is time for them to return to their prized motto…”To protect and serve”….instead of the one they live by these days…”to punish and enslave”…..
Do yourself a favor….READ THE DAMN POST!
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”