Now that protests seem to have reached their zenith in the wake of George Floyd’s death the question becomes, what next? Numerous articles have started addressing the idea of defunding the police and what that means. There are those that would be willing to defund police without any planning at all because they have never had police or the justice system in general do anything positive for them. Even though the justice system is permeated by horrible bias and a lack of accountability at every level, at the same time we will soon see a host of different actors engage to defend it at all costs.
The reality is that we are fully capable of defunding police departments across the country and we should if they continue to refuse to agree to meaningful reforms. There’s the rub though. Will the current police organizations actually agree to meaningful reforms? And even if they do, how do we ensure those reforms are actually implemented? In many cases meaningful reforms would constitute an end to the profession as most of them know it and police unions are dead set against reform.
Meaningful reforms would give the public oversight into police behavior and their dealings with the public. The public do not trust police to enact reforms on their own and they do not trust the politicians currently in office to oversee the process. At minimum a neutral third party is needed in each area to review all complaints against police so that we would no longer have to find out after an officer kills someone that they had eighteen complaints filed against them and multiple incidents of deadly force. Past records need to be examined by a third party and that third party should be empowered to remove dangerous offenders from the profession. In addition, most police would need to give up the military hardware that has been supplied to them over the years and shut down unnecessary SWAT teams.
In some areas it’s unlikely that the police will be willing to agree with these reforms and in those cases they should be defunded and replaced with law enforcement that agrees to the public’s terms unconditionally. Police in many areas have become a gang. That many will lie, cheat and steal to protect their own is a given when covering up murders is commonplace. They use gang tactics as part of policing both the public and their own to enforce their blue wall of silence. That this propensity for shielding themselves from responsibility has a name should be abhorrent to anyone interested in justice.
The reason any of this is unlikely to happen is because the ruling class has no problems with the way the system runs now. The rich have no actual issues with our justice system. They don’t deal with police except from a position of power. When they are charged with a crime they largely never go to prison. Even in cases where a rich person is actually convicted of a crime they have often ducked accountability for years due to their wealth and power and in general unless they piss off other rich people they can get away with almost anything. Our own President has been embroiled in scandal for nearly his whole life and is currently using the Covid-19 crisis bailout as a personal slush fund.
The other problem is that the prison system is a massive multi-billion dollar a year industry. A product of tough on crime liberals like current Presidential candidate Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton dedicated to funneling poor people into cages. This system will revolt in numerous ways to any changes that remove people from those cages. It will sow fear and discord among the populace to keep the system in place. It’s a great tactic and it has worked for a long time. The reality is that the USA owns 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated while having only 5% of its population and this is accepted by those in power.
Can we defund/reform the police? Absolutely. Will we do it? Hopefully it won’t take an armed uprising to accomplish it.