The solution to remedy the situation is however very simple: to hold police officers (and their partners) accountable for their actions. Here in the United States, most police officers walk away free of punishment for any murder they commit on the streets. Their most frequent line of defense, after killing a black individual, is “I was afraid for my life”. According to statistics, less than one percent (1%) of police officers who are involved in shooting a black civilian are held accountable. By July 2016, police officers had already gunned down 1,096 civilians.
But there are steps the Black community can take to reduce the frequency of police interactions and involvement in the community.
- Community Arbitration
The community should come together to choose five elders to arbitrate within the community. The community must agree those elders have the last word on whatever matter brought to them. The community should consult the elders for guidance on any matter before reaching to law enforcement; the community must also provide the elders authority to negotiate on behalf of anyone in the community. Matters of neighbors’ disagreement, petty thefts or any issue which does not involve bodily harm should be brought to the elders for resolution.
- Community Watchdog
The community should create a Watchdog Committee; its primary task should be to protect children, young kids and teenagers from falling victims of or becoming gang members or drugs. The Committee should make its presence visible in order to deter gang or drug activities. It should also be the Committee duty to bring matters of concern to the Elders for advice and/or resolution. With the help of the Elders, the Watchdog Committee should devise plans to deal with various situations and avoid any confrontation with gang members or drug distributors.
- Police Interaction
Any call to law enforcement in the community should be initiated by the Elders. On the streets however, any interaction with the police should be discussed during meeting with the Elders. Conversations, videos or audio recording should be shared with the Elders. Members in the community who spot police interaction with another member should take the time to record the event. If possible, without interfering with police activity, member of the community should inquire about the incident