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#BlackLivesMatter: Shifting Financial Responsibility from Taxpayers to Police Officers

mike brownWhen the Michael Brown killing initially happened, those of us in Los Angeles had no idea that in the following days, more men of color, would die at the hands of law enforcement officials.  The senseless deaths of Ezell Ford Jr. and Omar Abrego showed that killing of people of color, at the hands of police, is a regular occurrence.  Many are wondering how we keep this from happening.  What are our options?

Most, if not all, law enforcement officials have the same story.  Either they “feared for their life” or the victim tried to go for their gun.  It’s pretty standard to hear that at every crime scene where the police is the shooter.

I met with retired Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey and USC Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law Jody Armour, to discuss possible solutions to the killing of unarmed persons.  As we pondered back and forth, I came up with a solution.   Can we hold police officers personally responsible for their killing of unarmed persons?

Related article:  Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey: The Stress on Officers isn’t the Public, it’s the Department

Personally accountable means:  NO lawyers provided at taxpayers’ expense.  NO taxpayer moneybeing used to pay for settlements.    If financial responsibility shifts from the taxpayer to the police officer in question, will that force them to be more careful of pulling out their gun and shooting it?

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I posed this question to those in the law enforcement profession and all have said it won’t work because people won’t sign up to be police officers.

Then again, that may be exactly what needs to happen.  Keeping people off the force, who can’t tell their mace from a gun (Oscar Grant) or who are fearful of encountering people of color.

We don’t need punks on the people’s payroll who are scared of the people they are hired to protect.  Do we?

Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a BB gun

Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a BB gun

Now we turn our attention to Tamir Rice.  A 12 year old killed by police, in Ohio, for holding a toy gun, after 9-1-1 operators determined it was a toy.  In Ohio it is legal to openly carry a weapon.

 

 


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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