15 February 2021

Where We Stand -- A Series by McCart & Millsaps: Police Reform

 Greetings, TPCers. Hope this post finds you well. 

Well, Da & mine's first "point; counterpoint" series on the future of the GOP went swimmingly, we thought & apparently some of you felt the same. 

Thanks for that. 

We're proud to present our next installment on a very important issue: Police Reform


MB to Da: 

Da, we've known each other for...I believe...going on 16 years now. While our political viewpoints definitely diverge on a fair number of issues, one thing we've always had common ground on is our fierce passion for true criminal justice reform (police, courts, probation system, etc...). 

You hit on it exactly w/ your seminal pieces -- The Truth About Drugs & its follow up, Pt. Deux

I've felt the same way for the better part of three decades. The biggest thing is this: this isn't just some organic progression by law enforcement. No. Hell no! No, this is fully on the politicians over the years who've enabled & codified this complete reset of government police power. Rather than having LEOs as keepers of the peace, America, the states, political subdivisions & municipalities did indeed turn LEOs into revenue agents for the sole purpose benefitting, financially, the state. 

We need - and I hate this trendy term - a true sea change; or, a paradigm shift (another one), if you will. 

We need to figure this out & figure it out STAT! 

W/ your unique background as a criminal defense attorney as well as your general philosophy regarding freedom & justice, what's the best way we can remedy this unfortunate situation? 

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Da to MB: 
One Sunday in late November 1963 an 11 year old boy came home from church and turned on the black and white TV. Almost immediately, it seems to me over a half century later, I saw  Lee Harvey Oswald murdered on live national television.

 Twenty-five years later I came home from work to eat lunch. When I turned on the television to watch the space shuttle launch I soon saw it explode obliterating the astronauts.

 As shocking and horrific as these events were, they pale in comparison to the excruciating slow motion murder of George Floyd last October. In cities and towns across the country thousands of Americans-- most of them white-- took to the streets marching for police reform. Some of them even proclaimed the idiotic slogan “defund the police.” Of course we have to have police protection but equally importantly we need to reform police culture so that large segments all the population do not live in fear of them. I have opinions as to how this should be done.

 The most important thing we could do is to require police to live within the jurisdiction and within the precincts they police. You're much less likely to ignore the humanity of people if they are your neighbors. Six per cent of the police force of Minneapolis-- where Floyd was murdered by police-- live in Minneapolis. Where feasible officers should be required to walk the streets a part of their shift and talk to the people they meet.

 We accomplish this by giving current officers a grace  period--say ninety days-- to relocate. ( In some cases they may require financial assistance. ) If they fail to comply we get rid of them and hire locals to police.

 The second most important thing is to let the sun shine in. Get rid of the dark tint on police vehicle windows. Stop making the vehicles look like military battering rams. Start dressing more like Andy Taylor and less like Darth Vader. Stop selling them used military equipment  This all relates to the demilitarization of law enforcement, a subject I addressed extensively in this space a few years back in relation to the war on drugs.

 A third thing is to not allow police unions to negotiate policy, especially in regard to police misconduct. Stick to salary and working conditions. Raise their pay. Police officers do difficult and often dangerous work. I couldn't do it.

 All of the things I've suggested can and likely legally must be done at the local level, city councils and county commissions. We also need national legislation and federal oversight of civil rights violations, subjects beyond my scope here.


And that's the way we see it. What say you? 

As always, thanks for reading, 

MB McCart & Ellis Millsaps