Michael believes that we must spend time working to build trust and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they are meant to protect. As President of the United States, he will ensure that the Justice Department takes seriously every complaint of racial bias or excessive force, and restores transparency and community policing initiatives started under the Obama Administration.
My campaign is built on values of justice and opportunity. We simply must do more to end racial profiling and reform policing practices. The first step in fixing this problem is understanding the extent of the problem that we have. Justice and accountability go hand in hand — but without reliable data it’s difficult to hold people accountable or create effective policies that change the status quo. That’s why I have introduced legislation to promote transparency and accountability for our law enforcement agencies. The Police Reporting of Information, Data and Evidence Act – legislation that would require states to report to the Justice Department on any incident in which a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting, and any other instance where use of force by or against a law enforcement officer or civilian results in serious bodily injury or death. This law would be a crucial step towards the accountability and oversight that the Justice Department has lacked to date. In addition, we must do more to enforce the constitutional right to equal protection of the laws by eliminating racial, religious and discriminatory profiling by changing the policies and procedures underlying the practice, including prohibiting discriminatory profiling, additional training for law enforcement, and encouraging the adoption of policies that prohibit discriminatory profiling.
We need to increase the standard for when officers can use lethal force, limiting it to circumstances where such use is necessary and where no other alternatives exist. We must then provide standardized training which prioritizes a new philosophy in which non-violent resolutions to confrontations are considered the greatest police successes. We must rethink how officers respond and provide them with the tools to de-escalate crisis situations. Further, we must empower them to intervene and prevent each other from using deadly use of force when alternatives are available.
We should implement early warning systems to help identify problem officers, and have our police agencies commend and promote officers and supervisors who successfully avoid the use of force, thereby changing the culture of law enforcement agencies. And when an unjust use of force occurs, whether deadly or not, we must take appropriate steps to hold officers accountable, ensure transparency, and heal communities. This means promoting the use of independent investigators – and involvement of citizens in the process – to ensure a fair and impartial assessment of what happened. The results of these investigations accompanied with real data about the frequency of the use of force must be made available for public consumption. Lastly, law enforcement and communities must come together and discuss not only the incident at hand but how to prevent future incidents from occurring. This has been our approach in South Bend, and federal policy should support departments in doing the right thing.
One way for the U.S. to address police killings of civilians, including the lack of transparency and accountability, is to expand the use of and increase funding for police body cameras, the Community Oriented Policing Services program, and training programs to encourage de-escalation and prevent racial profiling. To address police departments with a consistent record of abuse and misconduct, I will reemphasize the Obama-era DOJ policy of using consent decrees to exercise oversight.
These tragedies happen all too frequently. We must have transparency and accountability. Nobody unarmed should die on a street corner. Officers should not return to duty after an unjustified killing, and we must end the code of silence that protects bad actors. The Department of Justice must help police departments across the country with pattern-or-practice investigations, and this requires careful supervision of consent decrees. We have a duty and an obligation to ensure that the police are protecting everyone. On day one of my presidency, I will direct my Department of Justice to work with state and local governments to reform broken windows policing, advance community oversight and independent investigation, and fund and require all departments use of body cameras. I will also eliminate the use of for-profit policing, because incarceration cannot be a business model. I will work with Congress and my cabinet to stop the excessive transfer of military grade equipment to local police forces. Finally, I will instruct my Attorney General to investigate incidents of police killing of unarmed civilians with the same vigor as we will approach ending gun violence.
Police use of deadly force is a challenge facing every community in America, including in Washington state. It disproportionately impacts people of color and those with mental health issues. Over the past two years, Washington has directly taken on the challenge of police use of force and I am very proud of how we were able to come together to achieve reforms. Bringing the parties together to work in collaboration with one another, not as adversaries, serves as a model for how to achieve reforms. Through difficult conversations between law enforcement and community members, including family members of those killed by police, new laws were created to provide more clarity, accountability and oversight. Laws on police use of force were modified to allow for prosecution when police use unreasonable deadly force. De-escalation and mental health training is now being put into place for law enforcement. Independent investigations are required whenever there is a case of police use of deadly force. Through better training we can reduce these incidents and with independent investigations and changes to the law, we will ensure accountability and transparency. The relationships that were built through this process that will continue to have impacts and allow the sides to communicate and work together as difficult issues continue to arise. There is much more work to do, in Washington state and America, to prevent police violence, but I believe what Washington state has done is a model for the country and for the next president.
Bernie believes that violence and brutality of any kind, particularly at the hands of the police meant to protect and serve our communities, is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. We need a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and racism will not be accepted in a civilized country. When we’re in the White House, we will:
Young men in America are killed by the police at an alarming rate. This is more than a public health crisis, it is a crisis of moral leadership. Our young men, especially black and brown men, deserve so much more. In too many of our towns and cities the relationship between our police force and communities of color is toxic. Instead of making communities feel safer, police are seen as a threat. Innocent black and brown Americans are profiled, harassed, and searched. Too often they are shot. This broken relationship harms the communities who are unfairly targeted, and disadvantages the cops who need community involvement to report crimes so they can keep our cities and towns safe. The Federal government can provide crucial leadership, resources and technical assistance, but the solutions must come from the community. I would resurrect the DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing and invest in those local solutions. The Federal Government should provide funding for police training and to develop model use of force directives that can be used by state and local governments across the country.
Those who protect and serve us must never be above the law themselves. I favor predicating the grant of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding upon local agencies’ commitment to have all officers wear body cameras while on duty, and commitment to having their sworn workforces reflect the communities they serve through recruiting, training, hiring and retention of more officers of color.
I also support more and better police training to emphasize de-escalation and other nonlethal tactics, and civilian oversight commissions to review complaints. The Trump administration has encouraged law enforcement agencies to scale back or remove police oversight mechanisms, and the Justice Department has backed off investigations and monitoring of agencies with patterns of excessive force and other violations. These policies should be reversed.
The vast majority of police officers sign up so they can protect their communities. They are part of an honorable profession that takes risks every day to keep us safe. We know that. But we also know – and say – the names of those whose lives have been treated with callous indifference. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. We’ve seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air – their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them.
Policing must become a truly community endeavor – not in just a few cities, but everywhere. That means embracing community policing, funding de-escalation trainings and community-based violence intervention programs, demilitarizing our local police forces, and building trust between communities and law enforcement. It also means having police forces that look like, and come from, the neighborhoods they serve.
As president, I will also return to some of the practical efforts President Obama had in place – working with police departments, signing consent decrees, and ensuring law enforcement is focused on prevention rather than incarceration.
We honor the bravery and sacrifice that our law enforcement officers show every day on the job – and the noble intentions of the vast majority of those who take up the difficult job of keeping us safe. But police are not occupying armies. This is America, not a war zone – and policing practices in all cities – not just some – need to reflect
President Trump has a robust record of success and we allow that record to speak for itself www.promiseskept.com.
We can start through three initiatives:
1) Have the CDC track gun violence, and the FBI track police shootings
2) Provide all officers with body cams, create a presumption of guilt if it is turned off, and have the Justice Department increase their willingness to bring suits when there’s a shooting
3) Provide all police departments with resources to provide deescalation training, and other trainings that will increase the likelihood of situations being resolved without violence