Like many of you, I have been seeing this latest civil rights movement unfold. The world is watching as our country debates the rights of people of color.
I don’t think it is a debate. People of color deserve to live. Period.
We recently saw that Breonna Taylor’s murderers were only charged for the shots in the walls of her neighbors. The grand jury proceedings have been released for this case and the attorney general acknowledged that homicide charges were not made against the officers involved.
We need to make a major change in this country for the people of color who are killed, injured, or unlawfully detained by those who are charged to serve and protect.
Another horrible example of what it means to be Black in this country is the case of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old man who was walking away from police to check on his children when he was shot seven times in the back.
How can we see the blatant disregard for human life, the audacity to not only hurt someone, but to shoot them, seven times, in the back, in broad daylight, in front of witnesses?
And yes, I know, Jacob Blake had a knife, and had a warrant out for his arrest because of a sexual assault. The officer said he thought Blake was kidnapping someone’s child, but none of that excuses the use of excessive force in this case.
This country needs police reform. Maybe that will mean we completely abolish the police, but more likely, I think we need to look at the duties of the police and really ask ourselves if we need armed people taking care of all those responsibilities.
There needs to be a massive overhaul of the system; retrain all officers, and use a more empathetic training program for new officers. Require all officers to take a de-escalation training and make it comprehensive and intense. Hire social workers and therapists to conduct welfare checks.
The thing is, in some cases, these changes would be better for anyone of any ethnicity.
On Sept. 4, a Salt Lake City police officer fired several shots at Linden Cameron, a 13-year-old with autism, critically wounding the child. Police officers were initially called by the boy’s mother to help them through a mental health crisis.
In Kansas City in 2018, 17-year-old John Albers was shot and killed during a wellness check. The officer fired 13 times.
And while researching this point, I found page after page of articles citing similar cases or suggesting that wellness checks are a death sentence for the recipient.
We need police reform for everyone, but especially for our family and neighbors of color.