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Let's talk about a blueprint for true police reform, because justice matters.
Hey, all, Glenn Kershner here, welcome to Episode three of my podcast, Justice Matters. We're going to take on a big topic today, the topic of how to go about reforming policing in our country.
Why are we talking about this? Well, this is always something we need to talk about. But you know what? It's happened again. It's happened again.
A young man by the name of Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer. It's happened again. Jacob Blake, who was walking to his car about to get into his car, his three young children in his car. Jacob Blake was unarmed and he was shot in the back by a police officer seven times. Jacob Blake now joins a long list of victims of African-American men and women killed by police officers in excessive force incidents, no justification, no lawful justification for what was done to the George Floyds and the Brianna Tailers, the Eric Garner's, the Rashad Brooks, the Ahmed arborists.
And, you know, we could go on and on. Jacob Blake now joins that most horrific list of victims, African-American citizens killed by police officers with no lawful justification.
And in the aftermath of so many of these horrific murders, unjustified killings, momentum builds, momentum builds for reform, and then it recedes and then it happens again and momentum builds and then it recedes.
And I have to admit, when the momentum built after what those police officers did to George Floyd. After that officer put his knee on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, strangling the life out of him as his fellow officers assisted.
The momentum was like nothing I had seen in a long time what happened in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder was inspirational and it left me full of hope and optimism that finally, finally, we're going to attack you that tackle the difficult issue of police reform.
You know, when you think about it, we have been through so much during the past three and a half going on four years of the Trump administration.
Right. We have been abused, mistreated. We have had crimes committed against the United States and against we the people by a runaway, corrupt, criminal, abusive administration. Donald Trump, as enabled by Bill Barr and all of the other ne'er do wells. The Pompeii's the Mulvane is the Confucians. Right.
And we've been victimized by covered by the coronaviruses. I mean, we have been through a heck of a lot as a country and as a people over the last three and a half years.
And yet none of it drove us to the streets in massive numbers to protest, to insist on change until we saw what those officers did to George Floyd and then.
We hit the streets, we hit the streets in huge numbers, we hit the streets all over the country, worldwide, there were protests of the kind of police abuse that we all saw of George Floyd. Boy, did momentum build and then it began to recede.
And now it's happened again, Jacob Blake shot in the back seven times by a police officer, Jacob Blake, who was unarmed, getting into his car with his children.
And here we see momentum building again. And Congress, of course, has done nothing, Congress likely will do nothing until a new Congress is sworn in in January, but we can't let it recede again.
We can't let it recede again, the tide of change needs to continue rising.
Because if not now, then when, if not now, I fear perhaps never. So what about now? What about now, what about if we tackle police reform in a serious way and I'm going to talk about how I see reform, having the best shot at working for everybody moving forward.
But we all know we're not going to succeed in changing anything between now and November when Donald Trump loses in a landslide or between now and January, when Donald Trump has attempted to burn the country down, at least figuratively, perhaps literally, between November and January, you know, pardons for everybody loot the Treasury.
Who knows what else Donald Trump will pull on his way out the door.
You know, we have a racist in the White House, we can't expect true police reform until he's gone, we have Republicans who enabled the racist in the White House. We can't expect true reform, equality based reform until all of these Republican enablers are voted out.
I wish that wasn't the case.
I wish the Republicans would get together with the Democrats and engage in true reform, big reform, not piddly little policies and procedures and prohibition reform.
We're going to talk about that in a minute. Big reform because it's doable.
Not now, not until January, but it is doable.
And that's not being defeatist, saying we can't do it between now and November, now in January, it's just being realistic, given who we have in the White House and who we have enabling him in Congress and at the Department of Justice, Bill Barr, that is so change has got to come.
Change has got to come. Some people say, well, the way to fix policing is to change the policies and the procedures and the protocols.
You know, we have to prohibit chokeholds and we have to prohibit deadly force unless it is objectively an unqualifiedly necessary to present to prevent excuse me, the death of another. We have to prohibit these things.
You're going to hear me flipping my papers because as I've said in the past, if you've listened to earlier episodes, I go old school.
I don't use computers. I use legal pads and pens. I don't use a teleprompter. I use a whiteboard. I am as low tech as low tech comes. I also happen to be incompetent. So as I've said in the past, when you hear my paper rustling, we don't call that a mistake because I don't know how to edit it out. We call that a behind the scenes glimpse.
So there's a behind the scenes glimpse.
OK, so people say we need to prohibit things. That's how we change policing. We prohibit chokeholds. Let's just take that one example. We prohibit chokehold. Sounds like a good change in policy.
Right. But if we could change the nature of policing by prohibiting certain things, then we probably wouldn't be experiencing the chronic problem of policing disparate policing affecting the African-American community as it does. Right. Think about this.
We prohibit bank robberies, we prohibit carjacking, we prohibit arson. And yet we still have lots of people robbing banks, lots of people jacking cars and lots of people setting fires.
If it was as easy as prohibiting things with laws or policies or procedures or protocols, what a wonderful world that would be.
You know, this is what I call small, piddly little changes. This doesn't change the nature of policing by prohibiting a chokehold or by enacting policies directing how officers should or should not behave. That's not the way to reform policing in America. But before I set out what I believe is an eminently doable three part plan to reform policing in America, let me just share with you where I get my perspective, what my frame of reference is, my experiences, my background, all of which informs why I really believe a three part reform plan is imminently doable.
And frankly, it must be done. It must be done. If not now, when let's not let it recede again.
So my perspective, as some of you may know, if you've watched me on MSNBC or or dialed up my YouTube channel videos or listened to earlier podcasts, I'm a 30 year federal prosecutor that started out as an Army JAG in the 80s, prosecuting court martial cases, handled lots of criminal appeals in the military, in the army, as a prosecutor in the appellate courts, and then was honorably discharged after six and a half years of active duty and joined the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, part of the Department of Justice, and served there for almost a quarter of a century, handling RICO cases and murder cases.
And I was the chief of the homicide section at the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office. So I was involved in a fair share of prosecutions, both as the trial court prosecutor and as the supervisor. I never left the trial court even as a supervisor. When I was chief of homicide, I continued to try murder cases with my my junior prosecutors because it was a win win. I always needed the help.
And I'd like to think it was a learning experience for the young prosecutors as we tried cases together.
And in my 30 years as a prosecutor, I've worked with as many law enforcement agencies as I think it's humanly possible to work with.
So I got to know officers and agents and investigators and detectives across the whole spectrum of policing.
Right. So just as a random sample, you know, the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., that's where the homicide detectives were. And I'm going to talk about one in a minute. And the FBI worked with the ATF and the U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Capitol Police, the DEA, the U.S. Secret Service, uniformed division, the U.S. Marshal Service, the Federal Protective Service, the postal police, the Amtrak police, the metro police, the Smithsonian police.
As a Army JAG, as an Army JAG, I worked with the military police, military police investigators, the CID Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army.
I've worked with local police in Maryland and in Virginia and in other jurisdictions.
I've worked with a lot of police officers in D.C. I don't know where we're in the habit of seeing police. Kind of like the way that sounds. I'm kind of a gutter guy from Jersey, so, you know, police sounds OK to me. You hear my papers rustling. There's a behind the scenes glimpse right there.
So when it comes to policing, in my 30 years, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, just as I've seen in all things.
Right. Just as you have undoubtedly seen in all things. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. And prosecutors and defense attorneys and judges in, you know, teachers and auto mechanics and HVAC workers and plumbers and electricians and carpenters and painters.
I mean, you name it, there's good, there's bad and there's ugly in all walks of life.
The problem is, when it comes to policing, we can't afford to have the bad. We can afford the good, you know, probably afford the ugly. We can't have the bad.
You know, I once came up with an analogy. I don't know if it works. Maybe it's not an analogy. Maybe it's just an example.
You know, people are like, well, you're going to have bad apples, right? There's going to be bad apples in every bunch or in every barrel. You just got to pick out the bad apples.
You know, when it comes to policing, when it comes up to the people who have the authority to to order your car, to stop, to order you out of your car, to order you on to the ground, to handcuff you, to arrest you, you can't afford to have a couple of bad apples in the barrel.
You know, you can't just pick out those bad apples and have the balance of the barrel be pure. I mean, bad policing is like a drop of poison in a pot of chili. You know, not all the ingredients in there are necessarily bad, but that one drop of poison ruins the whole thing.
Nobody's going to eat that chili. And, you know, bad policing infects everything, it infects the community being policed, it infects the police department, it infects the courts, it infects everything. So we can't afford the good and the bad in policing. And I think we have indulged the bad for too long.
Let me just take one example of the bad, and then we're going to talk about the three part plan for true police reform.
And the one example of the bad that I want to focus on for just a few minutes is what a bad police officer did to Eric Garner on July 17th of 2014, an officer by the name of Daniel Pantaleo. I think I'm pronouncing his name right.
And before I talk about what happened, what was done to Eric Garner, I want to use this as an example of how we need to question everything when it comes to police reform, how we need to address everything. And I'm not big on the term in a holistic way, but you can't just say, well, if they'd only outlawed chokeholds, Eric Garner would be alive today.
We have to question everything.
So let's let's look at what happened to Eric Garner. Eric Garner was choked to death by a police officer for selling a single cigarette.
Eric Garner was selling single cigarettes, which is against the law in that jurisdiction. And it ended the sale of single cigarettes ended in Eric Garner being choked to death. So let's question everything.
Let's question everything, a police encounter that starts with the sale of a single cigarette and ends in a man being choked to death, when I say let's question everything, why is it illegal to sell a single cigarette?
Obviously, it's because there's a statute, there's a law that was passed by a legislature, by a legislature outlawing the sale of a single cigarette of single cigarettes. Why is that a crime?
Should it be a crime? What is the purpose behind prohibiting outlawing making illegal the sale of a single cigarette? Because now we know the sale of a single cigarette can result in a police encounter that ends in the choking death of the person trying to sell that single cigarette. Some might say prohibiting the sale of a single cigarette is criminalizing behavior that really involves an economic issue.
And policing as a crime, the sale of a single cigarette, arguably is designed to protect the economic interest of the local merchant who selling packs of cigarettes. Some might say that outlawing the sale of a single cigarette is a law that, in fact results in a disparate impact in minority communities, where maybe there is a greater likelihood that folks are going to sell a single cigarette in their quest to make ends meet than a white kid in the suburbs is likely to sell a single cigarette.
Now, I didn't say the law was intended to have that disparate impact, but you know what?
I don't care. And I don't think we should care if the law is intended to disparately impact minority communities. I just think the question needs to be asked, does the law disparately impact minority communities? Because you know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. If it has a disparate impact, then it's a bad law, regardless of what the original intent was, but I question the original intent of outlawing the sale of a single cigarette.
Who was that designed to get after? Who is that designed to give the police authority to stop, to frisk, to arrest, apparently to choke, to death? Yeah, I get worked up, you know, because justice matters, justice matters and good policing matters and reforming police practices that have gone on too long and have hurt and killed our African American friends and neighbors and loved ones and community members matters.
It matters. Let me go back to the single cigarette prohibition.
It sure sounds like it's a law that maybe was put in place to help the local merchants economically, right, because you don't want somebody selling a single cigarette outside the store because then they don't have to go in and buy a whole pack of cigarettes. Or maybe it's protecting the federal taxes that are levied on whole packs of cigarettes or whole cartons of cigarettes. You know, the feds love their taxes, right? You know, I'm not begrudging while I kind of am, but the feds have every right to tax stuff.
And if Eric Garner sells a single cigarette, the feds ain't getting their piece of that pie. They're not getting their two cents on the dollar or 10 cents on the dollar.
So these kinds of laws that disproportionately impact minority communities that seem to be based in economics rather than good policing that seem to maybe be generating federal tax income. I mean, come on.
Come on. Against the law to sell a single cigarette. You know, I guess capitalism only works for some people, right? Selling a single single cigarette. That was capitalism from Eric Garner's point of view. He got killed for it. Capitalism works for Jeff Bezos of Amazon. He doesn't even pay taxes. We've come to learn.
But I guess capitalism is good enough for Jeff Bezos, but not good enough for Eric Garner. Jeff Bezos gets to sell everything to everyone all day and escape, paying federal taxes. Eric Garner sells a single cigarette. OK. The point is, when we're tackling a big issue, a big problem like police reform, we have to question everything, not just, well, let's prohibit chokeholds because a chokehold killed Eric Garner.
That's not the way to reform anything. So let me talk about what I think is an eminently doable three part plan to truly reform policing in America.
Those three parts involve extreme hiring and vetting of police officers.
Extreme training and testing of police officers once hired and extreme accountability if there's an allegation of misconduct or excessive force and here's what's most important regarding that three part plan. It is all conducted under the umbrella of extreme citizen participation, full, unfettered, honest.
Citizen participation, that's the key. That's the key in my view, why do I say full citizen participation is the key?
Think about this.
We go to the polls, we vote, we elect people to then represent us, to represent us on our local city council or our local board of education, to represent us as our mayor, to represent us as our governor, to represent us in Congress and to represent us as our president.
We vote on who these people should be. And then these people write the city councilmen, the mayors, the governors, the the representatives, the senators, the presidents.
They have considerable sway over our lives. Right. They can raise our taxes or lower our taxes. They can pass laws that affect us. They can put regulations in place that either protect the environment or trash the environment.
And we could go on and on and on.
These politicians that we vote for, that we elect to represent us, have considerable sway over our lives.
That's the nature of our democracy.
But how about the public officials, the government workers who have the most direct day to day authority and power over our lives?
It's not our congressman or congresswoman. It's not the governor. It's not even the school board member. It's the police. Right, my, my my local congresswoman, Jennifer Wexton, can't pull me over in my car, she can order me out on the car, out of the car, she can't handcuff me.
But the police can. The police can they can knock on my door and ask me questions, they can put handcuffs on me and take me to jail if they have probable cause to believe I committed an offence.
The police have the most direct day to day impact and potentially control over our lives as Americans.
But we don't vote for the police, do we? We have almost no say in who these people are who will put a badge on their chest and a gun on their hip and have the authority to order us out of our cars, we don't vote for them.
Maybe we vote for the mayor who then hires the police chief, who then has a hiring committee that hires police officers. But, you know, that's that's some trickle down nonsense.
We're not directly involved in any real way of choosing who the police officers are, who will police us, who can order us out of our cars. We have almost no say in that.
So it's a behind the scenes glimpse, there goes my legal pad again.
So, you know, this is why I suggest that that part one of the three part plan has to involve extreme vetting, vetting during the hiring process of police and not just extreme vetting by the police department, but extreme vetting by the citizens.
Right. Because the citizens are the ones who are going to be ordered out of their cars.
The citizens are the ones who I think should have a say into who gets to put that badge on their chest and that gun on their hip.
Citizens should have full participation in the hiring and vetting process.
You know, when I say extreme vetting, it's tough to hide who you are these days, right?
Social media, I mean, almost everybody's lives are kind of out there for all to see.
You know, some people more, some people less.
But if you want the kind of power that comes with a badge and a gun and the ability to order me out of my car, I want to make darn sure you're the right kind of person in it for the right kind of reasons. I want to make sure you're not racist. You're not a bully, you're not power hungry. You're not intolerant of anyone, whether for racial reasons or national origin reasons, ethnicity reasons, religious reasons, sexual orientation reasons.
Because if you're intolerant of African-Americans, if you're intolerant of LGBTQ community members, if you're intolerant, then guess what?
You need not apply to put that badge on your chest and have the power to order me out of my car. And if you're the kind of person who is drawn to policing, is drawn to public service, you should welcome extreme vetting. Your life should be an open book.
I want to see as a member of the citizen brigade that gets to participate with the police department in the hiring and vetting of future police officers, I want to see that applicant's social media inside and out because there are people who may be successful at hiding who they are when they're walking around the streets, but they may be a little bit more forthcoming and transparent when they're on social media and they think they have a little bit of anonymity.
I want to see their social media posts, all of them across every platform. I want to see what kind of tattoos they have because I have seen police officers with racist tattoos. I want to be able to interview an applicant's family, friends, colleagues, former employers, I want that applicant to be an open book and I want them to be comfortable being an open book. I want them to be the kind of person I mean, nobody's perfect. Nobody's a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout.
Nobody, you know, is completely bias free.
But I want them to be the kind of person in it for the right reasons, not to just wield power and bully people, but to help people to protect and serve people. And if they seek that kind of a position in that kind of power, they should welcome the open book approach, the extreme vetting approach to who they are.
So the people to be policed policy, said the community, that will have to comply with this officer's order to stop the car, get out of the car, get on the ground so the citizens can have confidence that it's an order that is given from a place of true honor and duty and protecting and serving the community. And it's necessary. So extreme vetting of applicants with full citizen participation, because you get a bad apple, you can prohibit all the chokeholds you want and the bad apple is not going to comply.
They're going to go about doing what bad apples do. They're going to choke people. They're going to shoot people in the back seven times. They're going to kneel on somebody's neck for nearly nine minutes until he's dead.
That's what bad apples do. Even if they are subject to all the prohibitions in the world. So, you know, when I say that nobody's a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, nobody's perfect, you know, that that certainly is is true.
But, you know, you don't have to be perfect to be a police officer. You just have to be in it for the right reasons. And you know what I hate? When people confuse kindness with weakness, you can be a kind police officer and not be weak. In fact, I think kind of police officers are the best police officers.
Can I give you one example? From my own life, from my own history, there is a big, gruff homicide detective who's now retired. And I'm not going to name him because I didn't ask his permission.
But he when you look at him, it's like, man, that's that's one tough. So be right there. And that guy must go out in the street and knock heads when he's investigating murder cases in Washington, D.C.. Big, gruff, strong detective. And he was my lead detective in a homicide case. I had lots and lots, unfortunately, and lots of homicide cases over the years. He was my lead detective and one of my witnesses was the girlfriend of the defendant.
The defendant had shot a young man. I don't even remember why. And there's never a good reason to kill another human being.
He shot a young man and then he ran into his apartment that he shared with his girlfriend and he had blood on his clothes and he admitted to her what he did and he changed his clothes. And then he fled because the police were responding to the sound of gunshots.
And this 16 year old young lady was a witness for me, for the prosecution, and she was none too thrilled to have to testify against her boyfriend.
And that is a difficult, difficult circumstance for anybody to be in, testifying at a criminal trial, a public trial where in my experience, the defendant's friends would often pack the courtroom, eyeball the witnesses and then follow them back to their neighborhoods, not to make nice with them, but for nefarious reasons. And this 16 year old young lady was none too pleased about having to testify, but she was prepared to go through with it. She was strong.
She was brave. She knew that she had to do the right thing. But it was a struggle. It was hard. It was hard getting her to the courtroom. It was hard getting her through her testimony. But but she did it.
And afterwards, we were in the witness room right behind the courtroom on a break from the trial.
And she was she had fallen apart on the stand in an understandable way, an emotional way. She cried and she was cross-examined vigorously by her boyfriend, the defendant's attorney. But she stayed strong. And then we were in the witness room right after she stepped down from the witness stand and she was just completely falling apart. She was crying.
She was, you know, very, very distraught.
And the homicide detective, big old gruff detective that he was said, darling, he called her darling, darling, take a couple of deep breaths and and then let's talk.
And she tried.
She choked back the tears and she tried to calm down and he said, you know, all sorts of nice things about how she did the right thing, how proud he was of her and how, you know, her boyfriend took it upon himself to take another human life. And all she was doing was testifying truthfully about, you know, what she knew and the response he bore the responsibility, the defendant, not her.
And then she kept crying and he said, you know, what would make you feel better right now?
And through the tears, she said, I could use some new shoes. And this detective said, darlin, let's go get you some new shoes, and he took her out to lunch and he bought her new shoes and then he dropped her home to her mother's house.
And that's policing to. That is also policing and its policing with kindness and empathy and decency for your fellow human being because she had already testified, right. The detectives case was made. Our prosecution was moving forward. But he didn't just send her on her way. He spent time with her. He talked with her. He did something nice for her. That's policing, too, and that's kindness.
That's kindness, that's not weakness. That's the kind of thing that is just the right thing to do by another human being, and it's the kind of thing that builds trust with a community because, you know, she went back and told friends that story, too. And that's what we need from our police officers. Kindness not to be confused with weakness.
So the bottom line is we need the right people to wear the badge, to strap the gun to their hip and to do right by people, to protect and serve with kindness and with empathy and with strength. Strength is necessary. And the other thing before I move on to point number two is, you know, we have to look at the demographics and the people that we vet and that we hire. You know, the demographics should match the community.
They are policing to the maximum extent possible.
And all white police force in a predominantly minority community is it's not destined for failure, but it's certainly not the best approach.
So the police force, to the extent possible, should mirror the population.
You need the right people and that's why extreme hiring and vetting practices will go a long way with citizen participation in making sure we have the right people who are in it for the right reasons.
And that takes me to the second point, and that is extreme training and testing with full citizen participation, extreme training and testing. What do I mean by that?
Well, all police officers, all new hires go through rigorous training in the police academy and rigorous testing.
And assuming they pass, then they are, you know, turned out into the streets to police. And the training and the testing can't possibly stop at the academy classroom doors.
Right. And I know it doesn't stop. I know that there is periodic training. I know that because for a couple of decades, I took point on training Metropolitan Police Department detectives and and cadets, some of the newbies in things like Miranda warnings and things like custodial interrogations versus non-custodial interviews and things like re initiation of contact, we call it, after somebody invokes their Miranda rights.
If they re initiate contact with the police, then the police might have an opportunity to lawfully interview them or interrogate them and and other topics, Fourth Amendment, search and seizure. And I happily participated in and gave training for years and years and years as assistant United States attorney in Washington, D.C. to the Metropolitan Police Department. So I know that training and testing is an ongoing process, but training and testing needs to go on. I don't want to say weakly.
I don't want to say monthly, but it needs to go on early and often and all of it needs to involve full citizen participation. I mean, this really needs to be a partnership between the police and those being policed, right? It needs to be a contract. It needs to be a covenant. There should be a bond between the citizens being policed and the police officers. So citizen participation in the training. Is a must, in my opinion, because that's going to help build that covenant, that partnership, that contract between those doing the policing and those being policed and the training and testing and training and testing should be, among other things, all about de-escalation.
Right, that is a term that we've heard so much and we see so little of it, at least in those incidents that are captured on cell phones and then get blasted out into the public's consciousness where the police have engaged in excessive force, de-escalation, not escalation. And can I take a pause in my rant? Can we call this a rant and let the blood pressure go down a little bit?
Because I don't want to give the misperception that all police are bad, that all police departments are bad, that the majority of police officers are racist. They're not. I worked with thousands of officers and agents and detectives and investigators and so many of them protect and serve honorably and honestly and ethically and in a way that really does a community proud.
But a lot of them don't folks. A lot of them don't. And those are the ones that are mistreating members of our community more often than not, minority members of our community. More often than not, African-American members of our community, our brothers and sisters. So when I say extreme training and testing with complete citizen participation, de-escalation is the key, de-escalation should be trained and taught and trained and taught weekly, monthly over and over again. Until de-escalation is like muscle memory, you don't even have to think about it, because I can tell you when the adrenaline gets pumping, I've had adrenaline pump.
You know, de-escalation is tough, right?
Keeping your head calm and cool and deescalating and talking people down and slowing down a situation can be really tough when the adrenaline surges.
So de-escalation training, until it becomes muscle memory is more important than setting a policy that you can't do this or you can't do that, well, that's all fine.
But if the adrenaline gets pumping and de-escalation is not muscle memory to me, then even well-intentioned officers might engage in excessive force.
So training and testing, not a not just at the academy, but every step of the way during a police officer's career with full citizen participation.
Is a must. Then let's talk about the third point in the three point approach to police reform, and it is extreme accountability, extreme accountability. What do I mean by that? Well, this one is probably easy and obvious and intuitive.
One strike and you're out, right? This ain't baseball. You don't get to engage in excessive force three times before you're out of the game. One strike and you're out. Now, let me be clear that one strike, that one allegation of excessive force needs a full, fair, honest airing and investigation. And it needs to be conducted with full citizen participation, transparency in all things government is where we need to move.
Frankly, in every single segment of our government these days, if only because of what we've suffered for the last four years.
So extreme accountability, one strike and you're out full citizen participation in a full, fair, honest investigation of an allegation of excessive force, because here's what I also want to say. Police officers have a darn difficult job because sometimes people want to hurt them. Sometimes people want to shoot them. Sometimes people want to kill them. Sometimes they have to engage in force. Sometimes they have to legitimately engage in deadly force to save the life of another. No two ways about it.
But too often we see overreaction or too often we see callous, hateful police work involved in. Killing a George Floyd or an Eric Garner or shooting an unarmed man seven times in the back like Jacob Blake.
Here's the other thing, though.
There are false allegations made against police officers. I know I've seen them. I've seen some of these biggest drug dealers taken down. And the first thing they say when they meet with their defense attorney, this is not a criticism of defense attorneys.
I honor and respect what they do because everybody deserves zealous representation under our Constitution.
And frankly, defense attorneys are some of the best ones keeping government overreach in check, making sure that a defendant's rights weren't violated by a police officer, making sure that a defendant's rights weren't violated by a prosecutor.
Thank goodness for good, aggressive, zealous, honorable, ethical defense attorneys. But sometimes there are false allegations leveled against police officers, I've seen drug dealers taken down and the first thing they tell the defense attorney is, oh yeah, I had ten thousand dollars cash in my pocket and the cops stole it. The cops stole it.
And when that allegation is made, there's a full investigation. And can I tell you how many times those allegations have been false? They've been found to be false.
Now, mind you, if they're true, that officer, he just he just used up his one strike. He's got to go or she's got to go. But I've seen so many false allegations by career criminals against police officers. So this is not a one sided affair. This is not a one size fits all approach. It's not police bad suspects good. That's not what we're talking about here. But we've seen so much bad. We've seen so much excessive force.
We've tolerated it for so long that if not now, when so when I talk about extreme accountability, one allegation of excessive force that is fully, fairly and honestly investigated with citizen participation in the investigation, in the hearings, if it is founded, that is if the officer engaged in excessive force, you got your one strike and you're out.
And mind you, like I say, this ain't baseball. You don't get three strikes. You don't get to abuse three citizens, one strike and you're out you're out of this game and you're off this team and you will not join any other team. You will not play in any other game. You're not going to take your one strike and join a different team and get a strike or two over there.
You're not going to set foot on a playing field again after your one strike if you're a police officer who has engaged in excessive force.
And this part's easy, folks, national registry. I'm not I'm not an original thinker, I didn't come up with this national registry for officers found to have engaged in excessive force so that after one strike, you're off the team you were playing for and you're not going to join any other law enforcement team in the country.
National Registry for offenders. Somebody came up with the National Accountability Registry for COPS, the National Accountability Registry for Cops, or an A, R, C Knaack. It's cute, right? The National Accountability Registry for cops. Imminently doable, folks. Eminently doable.
So the three point plan to truly reform policing, extreme vetting and hiring practices with full citizen participation, extreme training and testing, de-escalation as muscle memory, with full citizen participation in the training, citizens need to be there every step of the way. That's how you build trust. That's how you build a social contract. That's how you build a covenant. That's how you build respect, respect in the community for the police force, because those citizens who are involved every step of the way will go preach the gospel to the citizens every day.
You know, heck, they should be required to civics organizations, meetings in the community, talking about the social contract between the police and the citizens as as brought to life by citizen participation in part one, extreme vetting and hiring practices. Part two, extreme training early and often. And Part three, extreme accountability. One, strike and you're out. You don't get to abuse three citizens, one strike and you're out and you're out for good.
So these are my thoughts and, you know, my thoughts are informed by my 30 years as a prosecutor, having served with worked with thousands of police officers, some of whom I prosecuted, some of whom did wrong. And when they do wrong, boy, you got to jump down on him with both feet because it's too important to have a few bad apples in the police barrel. It's too important to have the good, the bad and the ugly.
The bad have no place policing. But if you have the bad on the police force, all of the rules and all of the prohibitions and all of the protocols in the world will have no impact because the bad don't care about the rules or protocols. We've got to fix it and we've got to fix it now, and when I say now, I do mean beginning in January, because now all we can do is spend 25 hours a day getting out the vote, working toward the November election so that we vote in numbers too big to rig hashtag too big to rig.
So we can move forward together in January with true reform of policing.
Folks, as always, I hope you stay safe and I very much appreciate you tuning in to this, the third episode of my podcast, Justice Matters. If you enjoy this, I hope you'll tune in to my YouTube channel just under my name, Glenn Kershner. I put a video up there a day usually involving the Trump Crime of the Day or Bill Barr abuse of the rule of law. Dejour, you can also connect with me on Twitter, Glenn Kershner, too.
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I will talk to you all next week on our next episode of Justice Matters.