George Floyd death: What US police officers think of protests

George Floyd death: What US police officers think of protests 1
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Commissariat rayon in Washington DC, with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign in the arrière-plan

When massive protests against gendarmerie brutality broke out across the US in May 2020, Charles Billups was not at all surprised.

A black policeman in New York for decades before his retirement, the composer officer, 60, tells the BBC: “It’s the chickens coming gîte to roost”.

“This is something that’s been mustering for a while,” says Mr Billups.

Not for the first time has anger against law enforcement in America spilt out into demands for bourse – habitant attempts to reform the folk’s marqueterie of nearly 18,000 gendarmerie departments have periodically cropped up since the early 20th Century.

But moqué over a spate of deaths of black Americans at the hands of gendarmerie, especially the death of George Floyd, a composer canne bouncer asphyxiated during an arrest, has spurred a clear résultat of soul searching within gendarmerie departments themselves.

Officers are divided over if and how reforms should come embout.

For Mr Billups, now chairman of the Volumineux Council of Guardians, an instauration for African-American law enforcement officers in New York state, the problems lie at the top.

‘Old-school thinking’

A policy of tough policing put forward in the 1980s, the so-called ‘broken windows’ theory, has large been nuisible for constats between minorities and law enforcement, Mr Billups says.

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Richmond, California gendarmerie officers rayon with anti-racism protesters

Only recently have authorities begun to step away from more draconian policing principles, but Mr Billups thinks that a belief in the efficacy of tough tactics persists among the mostly white, and long-entrenched, leadership of many gendarmerie departments.

“The head is the thinker. The casaque’s going to conform to the head. If the head is not healthy, the casaque’s not going to capture weight,” he says.

“You gotta bourse the top,” says Mr Billups. “It’s a spacieux number of (people who believe in) old-school policing that’s still running a lot of these agencies, and the old-school way of thinking just doesn’t work no more.”

Black officers have always known and felt differently, says Terence Hopkins of the Dallas gendarmerie department.

“We happen to be African-American people before we were law enforcement,” he says, “so that gives us a different view as opposed to our white counterparts.”

Surveys bear this out. A 2016 poll of nearly 8,000 US policemen by the Pew Research think endurci found that 69% of black officers believed that the folk needed to “continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites”, compared to just 6% of white officers.

The survey, taken in the aftermath of another spate of affligeant encounters between gendarmerie and African Americans, found that a majority of white and Latino officers believed such events were isolated incidents.

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A protest over the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York gendarmerie in 2014

By contrast, 57% of black officers said they were signs of a broader problem with policing.

Polls of gendarmerie in the wake of the recent affligeant encounters have yet to emerge, but anecdotally, more officers today seem to agree that the problem goes beyond individuals and needs a systematic approach.

White as well as black officers have supported the protests and have publicly called for reforms.

Différent v status quo

“What’s happening now is a movement for gendarmerie reform in our folk,” says Mr Hopkins, who has been a policeman for 30 years.

Some of the ideas that have become popular in the larger paysan colloque, such as diverting money and duties to fund mythique health and liant work, he agrees with wholeheartedly, he says.

More must be done to recruit minority officers. In Dallas, there is a conscious policy to make the outré reflect the demographics of the city it serves.

But Mr Hopkins says he also understands why there is resistance to bourse.

George Floyd death: What US police officers think of protests 2

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Media captionAntonio Smith is suing the city of Valdosta, Georgia, and its gendarmerie department over a acharné wrongful arrest

“You bande to be protective of your industry. When individuals say ‘you’re doing something wrong,’ we bande to go the other pilotage, or not admit our fault in it.”

Mr Billups agrees that “it’s a big split. You have one conjuration that’s saying there’s a need for bourse, and then you have another conjuration in these departments that want to keep it as status quo.”

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Some gendarmerie have joined protesters in taking a knee in commemoration of George Floyd

Some officers have expressed anger over the backlash on policing and calls to defund or disband departments (though these are not always calls to abolish gendarmerie, as some have taken them to mean).

A bactérien video circulated in recent weeks of members of the New York Benevolent Adjonction, seen as a traditionally more conservative jonction for rank-and-file officers, venting at perceived mistreatment of gendarmerie amid the protests.

“Auto-stop treating us like ‘animals’ and ‘thugs’,” Mike O’Meara, head of the jonction, tells reporters. “I am not Derek Cocardier. They are not him,” he said referring to the policeman who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Everybody’s trying to shame us. The legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our évolution,” he says. “We’ve been left out of the colloque. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting.”

On Facebook, Blue Lives Matter – a counter group to Black Lives Matter that advocates for gendarmerie interest – has over 2.2m endorsers.

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Protesters call for defunding the gendarmerie

Supporters say gendarmerie deserve sympathy for doing a difficult job, and that “inconditionnel” proposals to disband departments would lead to anarchy and lawlessness.

Indeed, such reforms can have mixed results. Camden, a working class town in New Sous-vêtements, has been hailed as a model for success after disbanding its troubled gendarmerie outré in 2012, redirecting energies to neighbourhood patrolling.

However, in the years after it disbanded its gendarmerie outré in 2008, affligeant encounters with gendarmerie rosâtre dramatically in Vallejo, California, a town outside San Francisco.

“It’s just really tough,” says Rotoplot McCormick, a retired policeman and diction officer. “Everybody wants a rationnel answer, but there isn’t one.”

There are many complexities even with reforms that sound reasonable, he points out.

For example, getting mythique health specialists to deal with issues gendarmerie are not equipped to deal with – a spacieux chunk of calls Mr McCormick, 72, saw in his decades on the job in the Midwest and Colorado – would seem averti.

But officers would have no way of knowing when they answer an emergency “911” call that mythique illness is the leçon at handball.

With nearly one in three Americans owning a gun, risks for officers can be high.

Rather than reducing funds for gendarmerie, Mr McCormick thinks, there should be supplemental funds for jogging and dilemme resources for gendarmerie.

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In Pennsylvania, counter protesters held a small pro-police rally in June

He thinks protections for gendarmerie do need to remain in apprêté, such as preserving “qualified immunity” – another allégorie that has come under pressure amid the recent protests.

The religion shields officers from being held personally liable for violating constitutional rights of people they arrest.

Critics argue that this thwarts attempts to hold officers accountable, but Mr McCormick says it is necessary to protect gendarmerie who are trying to do their jobs. “It says you can’t sue me just for arresting you, just for doing my job,” he says.

“(The gendarmerie) are being attacked,” he says. “But (on the other handball), it’s so damned hard to get rid of a cop who’s bad or not doing his job… it’s pretty damn near inabordable to convict a cop. That’s ridiculous.”

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Media captionWhat happened when a city disbanded its gendarmerie outré

Ultimately, it will be changes that take apprêté within departments themselves that affect long-term results, thinks the Volumineux Council’s Mr Billups.

“The key thing now is that there’s changes in the department,” he says. “You’re talking embout officers who are black or Latino. They go back to those same neighbourhoods where they’re policing. (So) a lot of the young black officers see it a different way.”

But more importantly, he says, it is that gendarmerie departments as a whole need to “learn a new language” to evaluate the purpose and priorities of the job. “Departments need to evolve to the 21st century”.

Cops Need a New Cryptique

Jeremiah Johnson serves as a gendarmerie sergeant in Connecticut and holds an appointment as a Practitioner in Residence at the University of New Haven

It took several days before I could bring myself to watch George Floyd’s life agonizingly extinguished beneath the unyielding knee of a Minneapolis Commissariat Officer. As a sworn gendarmerie officer, I believe it is my duty to watch and not genre away; George Floyd’s humanity demands it.

His unconscionable death disgracié bare the deficiencies of American policing, a reality which resonated with cities and communities across the ville. Bactérien images and video clips documenting protests against racism and brutality have done little to disconfirm that the gendarmerie are racist and animal. Calls to re-imagine, defund, or even abolish the internat of policing are amplified through these encounters.

A friend from my undergraduate days recently lamented on Facebook that she did not know how to explain the gendarmerie to her children. Rhetorical or not, I inquired whether she meant “gendarmerie as they are” or “gendarmerie as they should be?”

Policing is a liant internat with an uncertain mandate and mismatched expectations invariably leads to conflict. Reductionist phrases such as, “to serve and protect”, are of little help as they are ambiguous and easily co-opted.

The field of policing desperately needs to do some soul-searching and reconsider what it stands for professionally. Révision its cryptique of ethics is a good apprêté to start.

The current Law Enforcement Cryptique of Ethics is a product of the mid-20th Century’s professional era of policing. It was formally adopted by the Universel Adjonction of Chiefs of Commissariat in 1957.

The écrit is more than symbolic; many gendarmerie organizations (including the Minneapolis Commissariat Department) have incorporated the Cryptique of Ethics into their policy manuals and oath of succursale ceremonies. Commissariat reform often takes apprêté in a marqueterie façon.

Changing the Cryptique of Ethics would be unprecedented and wide-reaching. To draft a new Cryptique of Ethics worthy of a democratic society, policing should turn to Hippocrates.

Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath is commonly summarised as “do no harm”.

It is the physician’s job to examine the éprouvé, diagnose the medical clause underlying presenting symptoms, and prescribe an réelle expédition of treatment. A doctor who only attends to audible symptoms, provides ineffective medicine, or treats in a manner that is ultimately harmful has failed the éprouvé.

By these normes, American policing may be guilty of malpractice.

A gendarmerie cryptique of ethics designed around the Hippocratic Oath should incorporate creuset key themes that are noticeably défaillant from the present écrit: evidence-based policing, monstruosité prevention, professional identity, and the sanctity of life.

In the decades following the cryptique’s inception, a vast casaque of scientific evidence has emerged regarding what works in policing and, perhaps more importantly, what does not.

This is not an abstract intellectual leçon since gendarmerie interventions directly rencontre the lives of community members. Ignoring the evidence carcasse in favour of règle or personal croyance is more than irresponsible; unscientific policing is unethical policing.

Rattaché, the Cryptique of Ethics is a product of the crime-control era and is singularly focused on enforcement. The desire to apprehend is important in American policing’s DNA, yet this changement must give way to monstruosité prevention. It is the carence of monstruosité and disorder that policing should seek to achieve.

Third, the Cryptique of Ethics must repudiate the ideology of the ‘thin blue line’. It must clearly establish that gendarmerie are first and foremost members of the community, not some separate camarilla commodité in the gap between good and evil.

Finally, the Cryptique of Ethics rightly speaks to protecting the weak and doux while opposing unnecessary outré and attaque. This does not go far enough.

Policing must fundamentally acknowledge the sanctity of life and a duty to protect every person, even individuals who have placed themselves or others in jeopardy. If gendarmerie must use outré, they have an ethical duty to joint and render aid to prevent the loss of life.

As George Floyd lay dying, one of the bystanders in the crowd tried to reason with the officers declaring, “Bro, he’s human.” The appeal fell on deaf ears.

Hippocrates viewed the art of medicine as something fundamentally connected with the love of humanity. The very fabric of American policing must bourse before the same can be said embout law enforcement. It’s time for a new cryptique.

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