Concrete solutions needed to fix racial issues in our communities

Published 1:43 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I have mixed feelings about the Breonna Taylor death.  It is horrible that she was killed, and I feel for her family and friends.  But I don’t think it is fair to put all the blame on the three police officers.  I think the blame should probably be placed higher up the chain of command.  Some higher up must have made the decision to send plain-clothes officers rather than officers in uniform, and to permit a no-knock, no-announce entry.  I hope that police across the country will see that there is a right way to do things, and in the Breonna Taylor case, a wrong way.  But other (many other) cases are more clear.  The George Floyd case looks like straight-up murder to me, as do several others.  And those are just the ones that someone caught on video.

The protesters are justified and I respect them as long as they don’t cross over into rioting and looting.  I also think the protesters should not just say “We want justice,” “We want equality.”  That is too vague.  Black leadership, or white leadership for that matter, should be calling for concrete solutions.  I can think of a few without much effort, for example:

1) Create actionable plans to recruit and retain more minority police officers.

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2) Equip all officers with body cameras, and require that they be activated whenever an officer leaves their car.  Failure by an officer to do this results in suspension on the first offense and firing on the second.

3) The Catholic Church did a terrible job of policing themselves.  I don’t think that local police departments can properly police themselves either.  Each city should form a citizens committee to review complaints against police officers on a periodic schedule (monthly?).  I think this would identify any bad actors in the police departments.  This would include all kinds of bad behavior, not just racial bias.  I would suspect that 80% of the cops do a great job, 15% need real remedial training (not just going through the motions), and 5% need to be fired and possibly prosecuted.

4) I’m sure there are plenty of other good ideas out there, and cities should seek public input asking for potential solutions, then sort through these ideas to see if there is anything of value.

Richard Rosen

Frankfort, Kentucky