DeRay Mckesson on the 8 Reforms That Could Dramatically Reduce Police Violence

DeRay Mckesson on the 8 Reforms That Could Dramatically Reduce Police Violence

Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson is relieved that, after the murder of George Floyd and a new wave of protests against police brutality, there’s renewed momentum behind the idea of reducing funding for police departments. But Mckesson says that goal, as laudable as it is, can’t be the only focus of police reform. “Police are still going to be here tomorrow,” he points out. Hence 8 Can’t Wait, a set of proposals aimed at reducing the use of force by police unveiled by Mckesson and the team at Campaign Zero on Wednesday.

Campaign Zero was formed in 2015 by a group of activists and researchers with the goal of collecting and publicizing police department data and practices in order to understand how to significantly reduce police violence. The research that led to 8 Can’t Wait also began in 2015 with what soon became the Police Use of Force Project—a numbers-driven, reader-friendly examination of the violent tactics that police departments in America’s 100 largest cities employ. The idea is that, if police departments adopt eight reforms of when and how they use force, the ensuing data shows a significant drop in killings—as much as 72% if all eight are followed. The policies are as follows:

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds

  • Require de-escalation

  • Require warning before shooting

  • Exhaust all other means before shooting

  • Duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers

  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles

  • Require use-of-force continuum

  • Require comprehensive reporting each time an officer uses forces or threatens to do so

When Campaign Zero began its research, cops were not very willing to disclose what they are or are not allowed to do to citizens. Mckesson’s hope is that at this moment when national attention is once again focused on police violence, normally skittish and unresponsive local governments might be compelled to take action. When you plug in your city on the 8 Can’t Wait website, you’ll see how the local police department is handling the eight reforms, and you’re given the contact information of your mayor or sheriff.

In an interview with GQ, Mckesson expanded on what the 8 Can’t Wait data reveals, the separate discussion of shifting resources away from cops, and what he thinks of this round of protests.

GQ: What went into the process of collecting all this use-of-force data?
DeRay Mckesson: Police use-of-force documents are actually not public in many places. It took us a year to get them, either by FOIAing them, or fighting the department, or finding a lawyer who sued the department.

Here’s the thing: At the minimum, the rules by which officers can kill you should be public. You as a citizen deserve to at least know the rules, right? That was the philosophy by which we went about this at the beginning. We actually had no clue what we’d found, we just thought there might be something there. What we found surprised us.

It seems that police departments by and large aren’t following the use-of-force policies you recommend.
Exactly. And these are so simple. We don’t think there needs to be a whole lot of discussion about banning choke holds and strangleholds. We don’t think it’s a big ask to say, “We’re not going to shoot into moving vehicles.” These asks are simple, but not small. The impact is large.

Source : Alex Shultz Link

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