Some States Are Finally Getting Serious About Addressing Police Misconduct

“The nation has finally learned what it takes to remove a bad officer from a police force and provide some modicum of justice in a police-abuse case. We need only capture on video an officer slowly snuffing out a man’s life, have that video go viral, endure some of the most far-reaching protests and riots in modern history and, then, after nearly a year of soul-searching and debate, wait for a jury to render a verdict.”

“The causes of that incident, however, took place long before the awful scene we watched unfold last May.

“(A)nyone who looked closely at Chauvin’s record would have known—should have known—that one day something bad was likely to happen while he was on the job,” noted Jonathan Last in a column this week in The Bulwark. Chauvin “had 18 official complaints against him in his file—these are only the ones that citizens actually got up and followed through on registering.”

In discussing police reform on social media and with friends, people often will say, “Police departments should just fire dirty cops.” That’s the right idea, of course, but legislatures and courts have created a multi-layered system that makes it nearly impossible to accomplish that seemingly simple task. Public-safety debates become emotional and divisive, so it becomes difficult to pass reforms that advance that common-sense outcome.”

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