Black Experience

Ending Police Brutality: Where Do We Begin?

The list of Black men and women who have lost their lives during some kind of interaction with law enforcement continues to astound and escalate.

Amadou Diallo – shot 41 times after reaching for his wallet.

Sean Bell – shot more than 50 times and killed on his wedding day.

Oscar Grant – handcuffed and fatally shot while sitting down.

Chavis Carter –handcuffed, placed in the back of a patrol car and then mysteriously shot.

Wendell Allen – killed after police raided his home searching for someone else.

Rekia Boyd – an unarmed Black woman shot and killed because a police officer thought her cell phone was a gun.

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner . . . the list continues.

New York resident Danette Chavis has started an online petition that has garnered more than 42,000 signatures of individuals not only seeking police accountability, but answers to a most important and alarming dilemma: Where does ending police brutality begin?

“Investigations case by case have not and shall not remedy the problem,” Chavis said. “As one is being investigated, hundreds more are mounting.”

Activist and New York Daily News columnist Shaun King has put together a 25-part series exploring solutions for police brutality in America.

King said the problem of police brutality is actually deeply entrenched and amazingly complicated.

“Most of the factors that ultimately lead to fatal encounters happen long before the actual incidents ever take place. Police brutality has no quick fixes,” King noted.

“No one single solution will solve the problem. Instead, it must be tackled from dozens of different angles, [and] as a part of one comprehensive plan.”

His series will lay out that plan with reasonable, achievable solutions that will drastically reduce police brutality in this generation, he said.

One solution could be Harvard University’s Project Implicit, a set of tools designed to help identify a wide variety of implicit biases ranging from racism and sexism to ageism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

American police should be required to take these tests or others like them, King said.

“We must test American law enforcement officers for all possible forms of bias and consider a serious course of action depending on the results. Tests for bias, like psychological evaluations, can be created in such ways to account for dishonestly,” he said.

Chavis plans to send her petition with 50,000 signatures to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“This epidemic, which has reached national proportions, is being presented to [Lynch] for immediate investigation, action and remedy,” Chavis said. “She has a sworn duty to respond to those violations.”

Efforts to get a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office were unsuccessful.

King believes solutions to end the plague of police brutality may include Project Implicit.

“Implicit bias among American police officers is getting folk killed. Police officers are, in essence, often acting on their imaginations and expectations,” King said. “When those things are fueled by dangerous stereotypes, people of color most often pay the price.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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