Another rationalization is even more worn out. The killer cops in Memphis were “bad apples.” Imagine brushing off a spate of plane crashes by saying that most pilots land safely. The acceptable number for both should be zero.
The worst rationalization: He ran! He argued! As if anything less than perfect submission to reckless cops deserves a death sentence.
The Post’s view: Congress can honor Tire Nichols with bipartisan police reform
Biden should try to turn the discussion around and ask: Why do police kill so often and how can we prevent (or at least reduce) these incidents? His answer could go along three main points.
First: equal with Americans. We have a long-standing national problem. Too many people die in police shootings, and a disproportionate number are black. This is not “wokeism.” It is a fact, deduced from a huge amount of data. The Mapping Police Violence Project found, “Black people were 26% of those killed by police in 2022, despite being only 13% of the population.” In addition, two-thirds of police homicides begin with nonviolent encounters: a traffic stop, a mental health situation, or some other incident. Why do so many of these end in death?
Second, point to tangible solutions. Armed police are not allowed to stop cars for simple traffic violations. Traffic cameras can handle violations such as expired tags, the enforcement of which yields many of these deadly encounters. Nor are the police allowed to shoot a non-violent, fleeing suspect. The penalty for running from a traffic stop cannot be death.
It is not anti-police to say that the police cannot solve every problem. Biden should advocate focusing police on violent and property crime.
Third, advocate for programs that have a proven track record in reducing police shootings, such as crisis intervention for dealing with the mentally ill, de-escalation, and implicit bias training). There is no magic pill, but where possible a combination of tactics and better recruit screening should be used.
Gastro Opinion: Don’t give up on diversifying the police force. It helps prevent abuse.
Democrats should not get caught up in a phony debate about “abolishing” the police. Instead, they should defend the funding of police best practices. Police departments using violence reduction techniques should receive the benefits of federal funding and other protections.
Many Republicans are now playing to White’s grievances and fears. They glorify white vigilantes, hype inner-city crime, and ridicule diversity. Biden must stand up to those who pander to white supremacy. He should call on the country to face the hard facts and commit to fixing a broken system. Americans are more open to reform than the right thinks.