The More I Look
The more I find.
This from The Atlantic Cities, 02 Apr 12
Just last month, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, unarmed and in possession of a small quantity of marijuana, was chased into his house by New York City Police Department officers and shot dead in his own bathroom. More than 200 people marched in protest in the Bronx two weeks ago, but the Graham story has long since departed national headlines and no criminal charges have been filed against the officer. “Had Zimmerman been a cop, the political, social and emotional response might have been about as urgent as the response to the shooting of unarmed Ramarley Graham in his own home,” says Columbia Law Professor Jeffrey Fagan. “New Yorkers seemed more outraged by the Martin killing than by the killing of Graham.”
Decreasing police abuse is not only a matter of changing policing protocol, it is a question of large-scale policy change.
Martin’s killing was ghastly, but police harassment and excessive force against black Americans is far more common than anything carried out by civilian vigilantes. On March 24, Pasadena police shot unarmed and black 19-year old Kendrec McDade to death. A man had called 911 and said that his backpack was stolen at gunpoint – though he later confessed to lying about the gun.
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There are few effective mechanisms for ensuring police accountability nationwide. In part, this is because juries and prosecutors tend to grant police wide latitude.
“In most places, it’s pretty hard to convict a police officer,” says Dennis Kenney, a policing expert at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “There’s a natural empathy that most citizens have: I wouldn’t want to be out there.”
Matters outside an individual officer’s control – from the nation’s long-running drug war to deeply entrenched urban poverty and segregation – put police into complicated and dangerous situations. Decreasing police abuse is not only a matter of changing policing protocol, it is a question of large-scale policy change.
The whole story is balanced and gives a more complete coverage of several sides of the situation.