Sunday, December 7, 2014

Accountability for Police

Redditt Hudson, a former cop, now works for the NAACP and chairs the board of the Ethics Project. He left the St. Louis Police Department because he could no longer "participate in a system that was so intentionally unfair and racist."

Like any top group with power who is allowed to act without considering the interest of people in lower groups, Mr. Hudson says of the police department, "The problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police."

He goes on to say, "Even when officers get caught, they know they’ll be investigated by their friends, and put on paid leave. My colleagues would laughingly refer to this as a free vacation. It isn’t a punishment. And excessive force is almost always deemed acceptable in our courts and among our grand juries. Prosecutors are tight with law enforcement, and share the same values and ideas."

All over the country, we are having a conversation about holding police accountable. In many ways, allowing police to be unaccountable is similar to many other hierarchies where the top wants to call the shots, no matter how it detrimentally affects the lives of the people it works to control.