Put an end to police brutality
Solutions to problems often are so obvious they go unnoticed. How long did it take us to figure out the advantage of placing wheels on luggage?
Police misconduct is a pervasive problem that costs American taxpayers millions of dollars, not to mention innocent lives. These issues would not exist if the unions were as committed to protecting the public as they are in protecting the interests of its members. Rogue cops exist because the majority of good cops face retribution when calling out the misconduct of fellow officers. The unions protect officers that they know are unqualified and even a threat to the public.
So let’s end police brutality and misconduct immediately by simply making the police unions liable for the conduct of its members. I guarantee that if the actions of a racist cop forced police unions to dip into their coffers for millions of dollars, police brutality would end next week! Of course, there will always be misconduct in human interaction. But I don’t think we’d see unarmed citizens shot in the back 15 times as a matter of course. If qualified immunity was limited, no longer protecting police from egregious conduct, we’d see an immediate decrease in misconduct and the beginning of a better relations with communities of color. However, this must go hand-in-hand with real efforts to increase real opportunities for our youth.
Generally, unions are not bad. Most are just mismanaged and driven by greed — putting union dues and membership over the common good. As we contemplate these issues, let us not forget the teachers unions that protect the jobs of incompetent and even dangerous personnel. I realize the complexity of these problems, but I sincerely believe that when we make police unions liable for the actions of their members, we will see less killing, more cooperation, and a better society.
Billy Mitchell is director of the Watts-Willowbrook Conservatory