The end of police brutality

Editor:

Solutions are often so obvious that they go unnoticed. How long did it take for us to figure out the advantage of placing wheels on luggage?

Police misconduct is a pervasive problem that costs American taxpayers millions of hard-eared dollars, not to mention innocent lives. These issues would not exist if the unions were as committed to protecting the public as they are to protecting the interests of their members. Rogue cops exist because the majority of good cops face retribution when they call out the misconduct of fellow officers. The unions protect officers who 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 their members. I guarantee you that if the actions of a racist cop forced the police union to dip into its 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 overall relationship with communities of color. However, this must go hand in hand with real efforts to increase real opportunities for our youth.

Unions are not all bad. Most are just mismanaged and greed driven, putting union dues and membership over the common good. As we contemplate these issues, let us not forget the teachers unions, who protect the jobs of incompetent and even dangerous personnel. I realize the complexity of these problems, but I sincerely believe that when we make the police unions liable for the actions of their members, we’ll see less killing, more cooperation and a better society.

~Billy Mitchell