Only the black drivers are stopped because something is hanging on the mirror? Is that the answer? How many are killed for it? What about selling loose cigarettes? How many people – blacks and browns – get the death sentence from the police for this? Or to walk on the street rather than the sidewalk? “Yes, there is a worldly reason to stop someone,” said Masson of the traffic obstruction that ended with Wright’s murder. “But I think we have to wait until we know what really happened before we make a judgment. It’s tragic on both sides.”
It was fatal on only one side, however.
Since January 1, 2021, there have only been three days in which one or more people were not killed by the police. That’s 319 people in three and a half months. According to Mapping Police Violence, it was the same as ever.
Since George Floyd’s nationally televised murder, according to an analysis by the New York Times, more than 30 states have passed more than 140 new laws to reform and monitor police forces. They range from restricting police immunity in four states to requiring or funding body cameras in 10 states to restricting the use of neck supports in 16 states and restricting warrants in five states. Most of these states are democratic or swing states. Some of the laws are bipartisan – they limit the neckrests passed in Utah.
But the state and local bodies that make these new ordinances and laws are hampered by the influence of local police and police unions. Activist DeRay Mckesson, one of the founders of Campaign Zero, told the Times that lawmakers in some places like Maryland have been less influenced by the police. “They said, ‘We know what is right and we are not being influenced by the police if we just say it will cause fear,” he said, where Democratic lawmakers passed a major reform package and the Bill of Rights Law enforcement officers overturned Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto, but states like Maryland are few and far between to stand up to the police and their union.
“Most of our members across the country find that you have state legislatures that bring law enforcement into the discussion,” said Patrick Yoes, national president of the fraternal police force. “Then you have the ones who pretty much freeze you and have already made up your mind about the direction to go – believing that this reform will somehow save the day.” When lawmakers really talk about saving lives.
The answer is federal standards like the house bill that was passed last month. It includes the creation of national standards for policing, bans on chokeholds and some no-knock warrants. It has measures to prevent racial and religious profiling, compiles a register of officials dismissed for excessive use of force, and simplifies standards for prosecuting officials. It also revises the qualified immunity that protects the police and other officials from charges of abuse committed in their official capacity.
These federal reforms could save lives. You could save 1,100 people a year. But since so many of these lives are black and brown, the republican death cult will not allow that. So it is up to the Senate Democrats to do the right thing. Do it without her. Get rid of the filibuster.