Com­mu­nity co­op­er­a­tion, not mil­i­tary equip­ment, is the best form of polic­ing

South Florida Times - - OPINION - M#O$H!A%M&'#E$D!H$A()M&A*+LU'DIN

mostly with im­punity. The Guardian news­pa­per, which tracks such statis­tics, re­ported that po­lice killed at least 258 black peo­ple in 2016, of whom 39 were un­armed.

The BBC re­ported in 2016 that the av­er­age num­ber of po­lice deaths from 2006 to 2015 was 49.6.

"There's a wide­spread per­cep­tion in the Amer­i­can public, and par­tic­u­larly within law en­force­ment, that of­fi­cers are more threat­ened, more en­dan­gered, more of­ten as­saulted, and more of­ten killed than they have been his­tor­i­cally. I think it's a very strong per­cep­tion. Peo­ple truly be­lieve it. But fac­tu­ally, look­ing at the numbers, it's not ac­cu­rate," the BBC quoted Seth Stoughton, a law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Carolina and for­mer po­lice­man, as say­ing.

Yet, both the Na­tional Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice and the Na­tional Sher­iffs’ As­so­ci­a­tion have been press­ing for re­sump­tion of the trans­fer of mil­i­tary sur­plus to the po­lice sup­pos­edly to en­sure po­lice safety.

On the other hand, the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice (IACP) has ac­cepted that law en­force­ment has his­tor­i­cally played a role in the per­se­cu­tion of blacks and other mi­nori­ties.

The Guardian re­ported in Oc­to­ber 2016 that the As­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent, Ter­ence Cun­ning­ham, called on the po­lice to un­der­stand the mis­trust caused by of­fi­cers be­ing the “face of op­pres­sion” dur­ing a “dark side” of Amer­i­can his­tory.

‘For our part,” Cun­ning­ham said, “the first step in the process is for law en­force­ment and the IACP to ac­knowl­edge and apol­o­gize for the ac­tions of the past and the role that our pro­fes­sion has played in so­ci­ety’s his­tor­i­cal mis­treat­ment of com­mu­ni­ties of color.”

The 124-year-old As­so­ci­a­tion has about 18,000 mem­bers in sev­eral coun­tries.

“Over­com­ing this his­toric mis­trust re­quires that we must move for­ward to­gether in an at­mos­phere of mu­tual re­spect,” Cun­ning­ham said. He ermpha­sized also that law en­force­ment is a “noble pro­fes­sion” and that over the years thou­sands of of­fi­cers have “laid down their lives for their fel­low cit­i­zens.”

But such rea­son­able com­ments are lost in the in­flam­ma­tory rhetoric of Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion.There is good rea­son for it.Polic­ing can be used to keep the peace through mu­tual re­spect be­tween of­fi­cers and cit­i­zens or it can be an in­stru­ment of op­pres­sion.

While the or­di­nary po­lice of­fi­cer goes about his or her du­ties of keep­ing the peace and then re­turn­ing home to their fam­i­lies, their neigh­bors and their com­mu­ni­ties, the tac­tics and ac­tions of those in Wash­ing­ton with an ul­te­rior agenda can only make their work more dif­fi­cult.

In the year 2017, African Amer­i­cans are not about to al­low Trump or Ses­sions or any other per­son to ex­tend the neo-slav­ery of mass in­car­cer­a­tion into mil­i­ta­rized oc­cu­pa­tion of their com­mu­ni­ties. For, rest as­sured, in the fi­nal anal­y­sis, that is the end game of this mak­ing Amer­ica safe again and the “war on crime.”

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