Showing posts from April, 2021

Op-Ed: Community Safety Belongs to All of Us

 Written April 15, 2021 Community Safety Belongs to All of Us As I write, the trial of Derek Chauvin unfolds.  This Minnesota police officer murdered George Floyd, a Black man whose only crime was paying for some items at a convenience store with a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill.  For this nonviolent offense, Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground with Officer Chauvin’s knee on his neck.  Video footage of the nine minutes and thirty seconds that proved to be Mr. Floyd’s final moments captured him struggling for air and gasping the words, “I can’t breathe.”  Even so, this officer of the law remained unmoved and Mr. Floyd died (Chappell, 2021).  The video itself became a tragic viral phenomenon capturing the cruel final moments of Mr. Floyd’s life.   The harsh and heartbreaking reality is that stories like this are only too common in the United States.  As “Policing in America,” a recent episode of the NPR podcast Throughline , thoroughly explores, the very nature of policing in this country

Policy Analysis of Greater Cleveland Public Safety

Policy Overview Policing in the United States has a long, often troubling, history (Anderson, 2016).  With law enforcement being tasked with the bulk of what is broadly defined as “public safety,” officers are said to “protect and serve” the public-at-large.  The harsh reality, though, is that Black and Brown people are targeted more often by the police, resulting in generations of community trauma and escalating violence between the two “sides” (Sakala and La Vigne, 2019). What’s true, too, is that these public safety trustees are called to serve functions that go outside of typical police officer training or common expectation of their duties (Vermeer et al, 2020).  This combination of implicit (or explicit) racial biases/tensions and the undue stress of calling the police for matters that they are not equipped or needed to handle has resulted in unnecessary violence and death, both of residents and sworn officers (Kahn, 2018).  In 2020, the murder-by-police of George Floyd, Breonna

Multiple-Stream Analysis of Greater Cleveland Public Safety

An Introduction of the Policy Issue The dialogue on how best to approach policing and public safety has ramped up significantly since the murder-by-police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others over the course of 2020.  While egregious and often racially disparate police violence is far from a new phenomenon in the United States, the amplification of Mr. Floyd’s murder, especially, by the Black Lives Matter social justice movement catapulted the issue of law enforcement violence against Black and Brown people straight into the public eye.  Not only was murder-by-police a commonplace occurence, it came with with little-to-no consequences for the involved officers, their supervisors, or on up the chain of the command (Sakala and La Vigne, 2019).  Indeed, this sort of violence appeared to be publicly sanctioned by the powers-that-be as the results of these instances of assault and murder continued without any move to change the systems that enabled such behavior (Anderson, 2016).