I figured the warning shot idea would be the most controversial. Let me expand on my line of thinking.
The idea didn't just form from the Afghanistan police using three warning shots. It is included because there is evidence that it works and doesn't seem to pose anymore risk to bystanders than firing at suspects where 8 shots fired might only result in 2 or 3 hits on a suspect.
It also, in my opinion, would help give an alternative to those situations where an officer is not clear whether a suspect is actually armed or not. The old "hand near his waistband" defense.
There was a 1998 study published in the National Criminal Justice Reference Center that investigated usefulness of warning shots. It found:
On the other hand, there is evidence that a safely placed warning shot can shock a suspect into compliant behavior that precludes shooting the suspect. Thus, warning shots may prevent injury or death rather than cause it. In reviewing dozens of cases in which officers or civilians fired a warning shot, the authors found the shots were effective in the vast majority of cases, and no further shots were fired. Case after case showed that criminals ceased to flee and surrendered, even though they had committed serious crimes.
In 1983 a county in New Jersey briefly experimented with allowing police to fire warning shots. It was used only once and saved the life of a police officer that was being threatened by a driver to hit him with his car. In normal rules of engagement cop could use lethal force. In this instance, the shot stopped the car and the suspects were apprehended a block away.
Having said all that, having body cams might make it a moot point, so maybe it is not necessary. But just because you are currently trained a certain way, does not mean that is absolutely the best way.
I have been pretty hard on police lately, and whether you think the extra scrutiny currently placed on police is justified or not , it should be clear that status quo is no longer acceptable. No doubt police at times have difficult jobs and difficult decisions to make, but that doesn't mean we cant try to improve our policing methods to better protect both police officers and citizens. I have been studying a little bit and have come up with ideas (or actually borrowed ideas) that would be my plan to reduce police brutality. Some of these ideas I imagine would be noncontroversial, and others maybe moreso.
Here are my proposals:
Body cams on all local law enforcement and the video is subject to Freedom of Information Act:
At this point the first part should be pretty noncontroversial. It not only protects citizens, but also police who act appropriately. The second part is a little bit more of a grey area. Releasing footage to the public through freedom of information raises concerns of privacy issues of victims and suspects alike. But as we have seen in the past police departments have had issues of defending their officers until independent cell phone video becomes public. Can we trust them with control of who sees the footage from body cams? This debate is going on right here in NC, with legislature wanting to put body cams on police, but exempt them from FOIA requests. However, in my opinion, we should error on the side of transparency.
This is also a no brainer. Some would go as far as to say decriminalize all drugs, but I don't think we should go that far as things like cocaine and heroine are dangerous drugs. I read in one of these articles that according to the ACLU in a nine year period there were 350,000 arrests for low-level marijuana offenses... in NYC alone!!! Less arrests equals saved money in persons imprisoned and less opportunities for physical altercations to happen. Win win.
No police initiated forcible arrests for suspects that are not an immediate threat or only suspected of minor crimes:
Germany has a similar system in place. For the vast majority of minor crimes the police cannot physically arrest you against your will. In most cases the police simply issue a ticket, if they need to take you into custody they will say "Sir/ma'am we are placing you under arrest. If you do not come with us you will be charged with a separate crime and we will receive a warrant for a forcible arrests" at which point the police get a warrant and then can forcibly arrest a suspect. This would go a long way to resolving issues like the vagrant that got shot by police for sleeping on the sidewalk, or the guy suspected selling single cigarettes, or a guy that is suspected of petty theft and jaywalking.
Keep in mind these are for minor offenses and pertain to suspects that do not pose an immediate threat to safety to themselves or others. Again, by limiting opportunities for physical altercations we limit opportunities for altercations to reach the level of lethal force.
No more free military equipment:
Billions of dollars of military surplus equipment has been gifted to police departments. Many of these are equipment police forces do not need. Some of the things that police have been given include amphibious tanks, military helicopters, surveillance drones, armored vehicles, etc. Often times these things are being sent to small town police precincts. It further instills the GI Joe mentality of many police officers whose job is maintaining peace, not active aggression against an enemy.
Police must give at least 3 verbal warnings and at least one warning shot before using lethal force, unless suspect has already brandished a gun:
Some people may not like this one, but other countries have used similar police tactics. In Afghanistan police must use a minimum of 3 verbal warnings and at least 3 warning shots before they can use lethal force. This idea is same except reducing warning shots to one. This at least gives a suspect a chance to say "Oh fug, I better stop or else they are going to shoot me" and gives the suspect a chance to surrender voluntarily without getting killed. Plus it would help end the "he was walking toward me with his hand in his waistband" defense.
Complete and uniform reporting of police homicides to the FBI:
This is also a no brainer to me. There is detailed FBI data of the police that are killed in line of duty, but for police homicides there is limited data, and that data in unreliable. Police precincts are encouraged to supply FBI with data, but many do not, or that data is incomplete. The result is unreliable data surrounding police homicides. The FBI data generally will have data on about 400 police homicides a year, but media searching data finds that number to be closer to 1,100 per year. The FBI and DOJ need this data, and the data should be uniform in it's information from precincts and mandatory for ALL precincts.
Independent civilian oversight:
Instead of relying on internal affairs or other law enforcement agencies investigate claims of police abuse, there should be independent civilian agency that is responsibly for oversight and investigations of claims of police brutality/abuse. This is not a radical idea, it is already done in Canada and the European Union, as well as already many cities here in the US. In order to have proper oversight of we can't have people investigating themselves. They need to be policed by truly independent institutions.
More training focusing on de-escalation and continued experimentation with nonlethal forms of equipment:
I think this one is self explanatory.
So there it is. An eight point plan that would significantly reduce police abuses and opportunities for situations to escalate to the point of lethal force decisions. I am open to all comments and criticisms.
Note: I proactively tried to find articles from traditional conservative media entities for ideas to reduce police abuses, but with the exception of the Washington Times and National Review articles I included almost universally they were dedicated to saying police abuse is overstated, a myth, was just the result of liberal media biased reporting, or flat out blaming the victims themselves. That doesn't mean they don't exist, I just couldn't find them.
Also should point out that affirmative action is a complicated matter that is even more confusing by court rulings.
Affirmative action is not race quotas, it is a demand to have employers and universities have plans in place to ensure minorities do not get discriminated against.
So by definition it isn't a preferential treatment law, it is insurance that minorities have equal opportunity and consideration as majority race apllicants.
Both racial quotas and "bonus points" for minorities because of affirmative action have been ruled illegal by courts.
However, schools have trended toward wanting diversity as part of the overall education process within their universities which means racial quotas have become part of admissions processes even if not directly tied to affirmative action.
UNC-CH for instance, not only wants racial diversity, but also regional diversity. As a result someone in Raleigh, NC may have to score better on SAT than someone from Rocky Mount, NC to gain admission.
Affirmative action is supposed to be used as a sort of tiebreaker or a factor of a factor of a factor. It can't be entirely about race, but race can be one factor in an admissions process.
I do think affirmative action is arguable whether it in practice provides preferential treatment, but the law is not designed to do so. Only to have safeguards in place to prevent discrimination against minorities.
It is a complex law that have only been made more confusing by contradictory court rulings
There is no doubt that identity politics is a part of any election. Often people will vote for people they feel are more like them. The "guy you can drink a beer with" mentality.
If Herman Cain ran against Hillary Clinton instead of losing 95% of black vote he may have only lost 90%.
But to dismiss last two elections as they "only voted for him cause he was black" is only an attempt to delegitamize Barack Obama and to try and subconsciously validate that black people are not capable or intelligent enough to vote on issues that are important to them.
Meanwhile, white supremacist groups overwhelmingly support conservative candidates but they get dismissed to focus on the racial pride of black people that helped Obama win.