I do not wish to re-litigate Ferguson here; there is a tremendous amount of political and racial tribalism that colors who people view that situation, and it really is open to interpretation.
The situation in New York, where a New York cop brutally choked Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes, is another matter altogether.
If my friends on the right wonder why there is so much anger and suspicion on the part of the black community at the police, incidents like this are a big part.
One of the issues that came out about the Ferguson case is that the laws in Missouri are extremely favorable to police- meaning, it is extremely difficult to hold a cop accountable for misdeeds in a court of law. Apparently, the law in New York is similar.
What is to be done? I would recommend liberty as the answer.
This issue runs deep for Americans; remember, the Boston Massacre was an issue of law enforcement overreach that was artfully used by patriots agitating against the British.
I am not against the police. I salute their service. It’s a tough job. But any reasonable person knows there are good and bad cops, just as there are good and bad people. We have all met overzealous or unfair cops, and wondered what can be done to hold those individuals to account.
Part of the issue is, we have too many damn laws. In New Jersey, it is still against the law to slurp soup! When a cop can stop a citizen for doing almost anything, it creates a bad situation for all involved. So laws have to be looked at to maximize individual liberty.
The other part of it is to make sure that cops can be held to account for their actions. They are humans, like everyone else; they need to be held to account like everyone else. No agent of the government should be able to act with impunity to punish the citizenry without recourse. It’s unconstitutional.
Cop cameras are a good step. But the laws need to allow for normal accountability.
In case of a death, a special prosecutor should be named (to prevent collusion by normal DAs who must work with cops), and no abnormal deference should be shown to police in the course of their duties. Bernard Kerik added that community policing prevents these kind of situations; police should return to being the constables of the peace they started out as, not an internal army.
Shooting or killing a citizen should not be the default; it should be extraordinary.
Now, tell me if those things were followed, people would not feel a lot more faith in the system than they currently do. And that is ultimately the goal here- better safety for everyone.