Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gonna keep unlearning the lesson

Ferguson was what? Two years ago now?  In addition to just the plain ugliness of racist police violence, the two "lessons" we were supposed to have learned from the matter were these.

First, government services in cities and towns across the country are so reliant on municipal violations fees that they create perverse incentives for law enforcement to systematically shake people down. So far our learning this "lesson" has produces one hilarious John Oliver bit and zero actual progress.

Secondly, we were supposed to have learned that a militarized police force has no place in a functioning democracy.  How'd we do on that account?
Displays of military-style equipment like armored cars, assault-style weapons, gas masks, riot shields, and ear-splitting sirens called LRADs — all of which have been deployed in the past few days during protests about Sterling’s killing in Baton Rouge — are some of the very practices the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services criticized in its definitive report analyzing what went wrong in Ferguson.

You would think Baton Rouge would watch Ferguson and learn a lesson. Apparently they didn’t,” said Peter B. Kraska, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University who’s studied police militarization for the past 25 years. A former probation officer, Kraska has worked with over 70 police departments on training and reforms.
So we're pretty slow to learn. Maybe in the coming years, you know with fresh leadership after the presidential election, we'll move away from this kind of  thinking that.... oh wait. 

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