What’s next, a war between the police and the people, the birth of a police state?

All those taking part in these efforts need to incorporate the ideas of the best and brightest Americans to help in making all this work.

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Being a cop is certainly a very difficult job. I have always respected police for what they have to do to keep the peace, but I have not condoned the brutality that now happens far too often, with African Americans largely being the victims. This has been going on way too long and now, with the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of officer Derek Chauvin, it has ignited these huge protests across America.

We keep hearing that there are a few bad apples among the ranks of most any police department. In reality, there are not just a few bad apples but far too many and they are, because of their brutality, contaminating their departments.

Gone are the days of neighborhood policing when cops walked a beat and were connected with the people who lived there. That did a lot to establish good relations between the police and the people. That all ended and now police ride around in police cars, sometimes with two officers in them. Those kinds of connections are no more. 

An article in truthout.org reported that “the Freedom of the Press Foundation has also documented nearly 300 incidents of police violence against members of the press covering the demonstrations. Attorney T. Greg Doucette and mathematician Jason Miller teamed up to create the Google spreadsheet — which, as of this writing, has nearly 600 entries.” Those relate to 600 cases of officer violence against protesters.

We hear all this talk about police reforms. Well, good luck in trying to reform the majority of these police departments, and here’s why. There are too many new police candidates that do not have the necessary qualifications relative to their temperament and how they feel about people who are quite different from themselves, be it relative to race or religion.

There must be a very effective way to flush out these poisonous apples from the ranks of the police across America. And that needs to start with the police admission process. It must include in-depth, extensive psychiatric and character exams for every applicant. This has to be done in every police department across America if at all possible.

Right now these kinds of tests are being administered in a great many departments in our country, but from what I’ve read, in many cases, they are not very intensive or in-depth. And it’s those kinds of police departments that are breeding places for the bad apples.

Then there is the beating of law-abiding protesters, as exemplified by the case of the 75-year-old man who was pushed down by two officers when he appeared to be asking a question of them. He then fell and hit his head on the ground and became unconscious. And believe it or not, Trump tweeted that this man, who ended up in the hospital, was putting on an act, as a part of a conspiracy, to show how bad the cops are.

Police unions are a big part of the problem. In many cities, they are so powerful that they prevent any kind of reforms from being instituted. They will be a big impediment to city councils and associated officials when they attempt to establish more effective departments that maintain peace in communities while refraining from any form of unnecessary brutality.

In so many cases over the years, when police brutality had taken place, those in department leadership roles have covered up what actually happened. Now that may come to an end with the use of police cameras and, something even better – cell phones with cameras in the hands of almost every American.

Nine out of thirteen council members of the city of Minneapolis approved a motion to “dismantle” its police department. That’s, of course, a figure of speech and I’d say they mean that they are going to reconstruct it and reform its rules and regulations.

New rules and regulations have to be created that will put an end to this brutality. There is no room for deliberate choking or kneeling on a suspect’s neck and throat. When any officer does these things that clearly violate regulations, any officers with him that see this being done must stop it. There has to be the accountability of the police officers as well as their superiors.

Based on what is going on in many of these protests it is becoming evident that the police are often doing what they want to do and they are not listening to government officials above them. A great many of them are just plain scared and it doesn’t take much for them to overreact.

During these protests, the question is, why aren’t the police using bull horns and speakers to calm down the people, to tell them that they, the police, understand their anger and concerns and asking them to conduct their protests peacefully? I just can’t hear them if they are there.

As these confrontations between the police and protesters are escalating is Trump using the media to ask all sides to calm down and refrain from violence? He isn’t doing anything of the kind, but what he is doing, is stirring the pot of hatred and divisiveness.

The last thing we want to see is a war between the police and the American people break out or the emergence of a police state. What we do need to see is those in city and town governments, together with the leaders of police and their unions, work together to establish effective reforms.

All those taking part in these efforts need to incorporate the ideas of the best and brightest Americans to help in making all this work. We’ll be closely watching what happens and hope for the very best outcome for all Americans.

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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