Op-Ed: Kamal Smith
Let me start by saying I am not an attorney but I believe I have common sense, just like the majority of black people in New York City.
Police Officers continue to violate the rights of black people in many ways, even to the point of murder. As we all know, this is happening around the country, with New York City being one of the biggest culprits in the violation of civil rights and people’s rights, in general.
Police continue to violate because they are rarely disciplined on any level. The Mayor and Governor can talk all they want about how bad this is, but they will never truly side against the police in a way that is meaningful. I don’t remember deBlasio or Cuomo ever asking for an officer to be arrested, have you? Talk is very cheap. What’s not cheap is hitting people in the pockets. If cops of the NYPD and the Police Union are hit with lawsuits, fines, firings and prison then we will absolutely see change.
Here’s a list of suggestions (feel free to add your suggestions). Let’s seriously find elected officials who will agree with these suggestions and back those people. This has to happen through legislation by elected officials but the people have to demand it and make the discussion real.
- If an individual officer is found to have violated the rights of any citizen that officer can be sued personally by the individual who has been violated, with the individual getting a part of the officer’s pension, salary, house or whatever. The other officers who are with the offending officer should also be hit with the same financial punishment. Three strikes and the officer is fired on the spot. This is for basic offenses like what they did to the woman on the train station with her young child.
- If an officer kills someone without cause then the Police Union should be sued and hit with massive fines, as well as the officer being sued personally. The officer goes to prison as well as all officers who were with that officer because they did not stop the violation.
- Two deaths in any one year at the hands of the police then the Police Commissioner gets fined and fired.
- Four wrongful deaths at the hands of the police in a year then the Mayor gets fined and fired.
If I missed anything please add to this list and let’s ask candidates where they stand on these issues.
While we are being distracted by garbage, the Republicans are putting judges in place on all levels, including the Supreme Court, and the courts are the places where these issues are decided. You know, like when it was legal to own a slave and illegal for a slave to run away. Yeah, that was done in the courts people.
In other words we have to watch the people who have the power to nominate judges. Want to know why Republicans are quiet although they know Trump is an idiot and a buffoon? It’s because they can deal with his incompetence and ignorance as long as he’s putting judges in place who will do their bidding.
So how do we get this done?
- Ask every candidate where they stand on these issues, and watch how they vote when they get in office. Force them to write legislation, or let’s do like Corporations and write the legislation for the politicians.
- Everyone should talk about this concept everyday with friends, family, elected officials. Make this the topic of importance.
- Pay attention to ALL judge races on the local level. Yes judges on the local level are voted in.
- Pay attention to the Presidential races and the Supreme Court nominations.
Start asking candidates now how they feel about this concept and let’s hear what they say.
The term that keeps people from winning lawsuits against police officers, personally, is “Qualified Immunity“, a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity.
However, according to a recent article by USA Today, Legal immunity for police misconduct, under attack from left and right, may get Supreme Court review. This movement is being made because of the brutal death of George Floyd.
People like to use the phrase “Stay Woke”, but are we really “Woke”? We are distracted by reality TV shows, Trump’s incompetence, consuming products, and just overall nonsense.
The bottom line; hitting police officers in the pocket and having them truly face prison time will in fact lead to less killings at the hands of the police. Let’s all make it a point to bring this discussion to every person we know and let’s put political candidates on the spot by asking them how they feel about this concept.
What do you think?