United States, not India, waking up to police reform, racism and prejudice  

The US, convulsed by civil strife against police brutality, is waking up to the urgent need for police reform. The situation in India is not only similar but the urgency for police reform is as great

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)

NH Web Desk

African Americans comprise 13 percent of the US population, Hispanics 17 and Whites 63 percent. But among Americans killed by the police, a disproportionately high 31 percent happen to be Black Americans.

The US, convulsed by civil strife against police brutality, is waking up to the urgent need for police reform. The following suggestions have been made in the US media in the last few days.

Police need to apologise for centuries of abuse

Until police take responsibility for how they’re viewed in minority communities, they won’t be able to effectively police those communities.

Police should be trained to address their racial biases
Police need to wake up to the allegations of racial bias echoed by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Police should avoid situations that lead them to use force
A Cleveland police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old in 2014. Policemen suspected that the boy, who was black, had an actual firearm, when he was in fact playing with a toy gun. Policemen drove right into the park where he was playing, shooting him within two seconds of getting out of the car.

Policemen be held accountable in a transparent way
When police do use excessive force or engage in other types of misconduct, they need to be held accountable and the community must be taken into confidence about the process and action taken.

Incentives and instructions for policemen need to change
In Ferguson, Missouri a killing by police in 2014 effectively launched the modern Black Lives Matter protests. The US Justice Department investigated the Ferguson Police Department and found that policemen were encouraged to book as many people as possible with the explicit goal of raising as much revenue as possible from fines and fees. Police targeted the most vulnerable — mainly, black residents — with frivolous charges.

Higher standards and better pay for police
Recruitment, pay, working and living conditions of policemen etc. need a fresh look.

Police need to focus on the few causing chaos and violence
Only a handful of mischief makers or people with a criminal bent of mind trigger violence; but in most cases police let them be till violence and chaos get out of control

Better data to evaluate police and crime
Although US is better placed and several universities have conducted research on policing and the police, a 2015 study found that US federal agencies’ police killing data missed as many as half of all people killed by police in America. Better and real time data about police and police action necessary for reforming the system.

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