Despite Congress’ inaction on national police reform, we are encouraged by the massive reforms taking shape in the City of Los Angeles. The strength in our numbers and our voices can no longer be ignored, and substantial changes in city policing are now on the table. Today, our movement and message have the momentum to demand the immediate implementation of the reforms we have been demanding for decades.
We are moving towards developing common-sense policing, demilitarizing our public servants, and de-escalating the violence that permeates public/police interactions. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore and the Police Chiefs from San Francisco and San Jose recently penned an opinion piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News titled, We Hear You. In it, the Police Chiefs write that “we join with the men and women of our police departments, sworn and civilian, to send one unified message: We hear you.”
As I continued to read, however, I came across a sentence that gave me pause: “Ongoing training increasing officer impartiality and fairness requires a long-term commitment and funding.” The message from the Chief must be clear–we must judge all LAPD officers against a standard of impartiality and fairness, and we must implement this standard today! The new standards must be clearly stated, and the consequences of failure to comply must be clear and applied immediately.
LAPD prides itself on being one of the most professional police departments in the world. This is an opportunity for the LAPD to demonstrate its professionalism by holding themselves and their fellow officers to the standard embedded in their motto—“To Protect and Serve” all of the people of the City of Los Angeles. LAPD must recognize that implicitly imbedded within this motto is the truth that “Black Lives Matter.” Those who need to be re-trained should get the necessary training, but we should not wait to implement these fundamental standards by which all officers must be measured.
We must work to ensure that every person in the country can expect to be treated with humanity, respect, and long-awaited equal justice under the law.
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