What else does it take to prevent more of these deaths?
J. Scott Thomson, who served as the police chief in Camden, N.J., from 2008 to 2019 and was the president of the Police Executive Research Forum from 2015 to 2019: Within a Police Department, culture eats policy for breakfast. You can have a perfectly worded policy, but it’s meaningless if it just exists on paper.
At the Police Executive Research Forum, we released a survey in 2016 that found that agencies spend a median of 58 hours on training for recruits on how to use a gun and 49 hours on defensive tactics, but they spend about only eight hours on de-escalation and crisis intervention.
To change the culture around the use of force, you have to have continuous training, systems of accountability and consequences.
What do you want to see happen next?
Alicia Garza, the principal of Black Futures Lab who helped coin the phrase #BlackLivesMatter and helped found the Black Lives Matter Global Network: Most immediate, we need accountability for the death of George Floyd.
Increasing the charges to second-degree murder for Derek Chauvin, and also charging the other three officers involved, was really important. Most of the time, there is unrest, and then there is a quick move to convene a grand jury, and people think there is no way that they couldn’t hold these officers accountable.
Time and time again, as in the cases of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, grand juries have decided not to indict. So the elemental first step is to show that law and order applies equally to the police.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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