Ending police violence

A plan to end violence by police officers.   Greg Gerritt June 2 2020

I think all of us are reeling from the violence committed by the police in Minneapolis, just like we are reeling from the time before, and the time before that, and the 1000 murders by police each year in the United States.  We are still reeling from 400 years of authorities brutalizing everyone in the Americas who is not rich white and male starting with the people who already lived here when Europeans arrived and progressing through all of the other communities who live here today.  It has never stopped.

I know this plan sounds absurd, and the politicians will run from it.  But it is simple, flexible, non-violent, will save the taxpayers money, and provides a unique incentive to break the blue line of silence and coverups that protects those who commit violence.

Like all official purveyors of violence the armaments and paychecks that keep police departments up and running come from the taxpayers.  Communities hold the power of the purse, and it is obvious that if we keep funding the violence it will continue.  

So a simple proposal.  Any time a police officer uses violence inappropriately, in other words when any course other than violence would protect the public safety (if bank robbers start shooting up the street, it is appropriate to shoot back, but these cases are very limited).  then the overall budget of the police force of the perpetrator shall be cut by 10% for the foreseeable future, with each infraction reducing the police budget by an additional 10%.  We might also reduce police budgets by the amount they have to pay in law suits they lose or settlements they negotiate with the families of their victims.   

The incentive to achieve police policing themselves so they no longer commit violence is that with expanded whistleblower protections, the percentage of the budget lost can be reduced if the other police officers present at the time an officer commits a violent act actively try to prevent harm and immediately report and later testify at hearings and trials honestly about the violence.

Consider what a 10% cut to a budget does to a police force.  It means the potential for loss of employment for many other officers or reduced armaments, older cars or other serious effects. Therefore every police officer will now have the incentive to prevent violence or stop it in the act in order to protect their own jobs.

Our “Law and Order“ politicians will hate this idea, but as police departments are already paying millions in settlements for wrongful deaths and injuries to civilians, this proposal will save cities, counties, states, and the federal government millions as well as restore community relations.  The federal government should like this proposal as it would apply to federal grants to local law enforcement agencies, which would be reduced by the same percentage as community policing budgets are cut for acts of violence.  It will also save our governments money at all levels because we have way too much policing in this country, primarily driven by the desire to keep the poor and the people of color in line.  In a democracy such an idea as keeping the people in line is absurd, and the adoption of this proposal or something like it is a clear statement that we have to walk away from our crazy history of violence by the police.  

Discuss amongst yourselves and your colleagues.  I look forward to the discussion but even more I look forward to the ending of violence by the police.