So I was talking with my mom about #DefundThePolice
. And she asked me a question: how could what happened to Rayshard Brooks happen, at this moment, in this uprising? How could police keep...doing this?
So this is what I said.
My mom is not steeped in these issues (I mean, she is more now, because, like, she has to be mother to yrs truly). So this thread isn't intended for folks who are already right there with us. I'm hoping this will be useful for folks who are wondering, and who share her questions.
Killings--murders--have continued, and will continue, because the police lack all accountability. It's not just qualified immunity, which protects them from being found liable for things that would bankrupt/jail the rest of us. It's the money.
Follow the money.
Derek Chauvin, the cop who murdered George Floyd, could *still get his million dollar pension* even if he is getting those checks while serving a sentence for homicide. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/12/us/chauvin-minneapolis-police-pension-invs/index.html
Police pensions are...generous. Many are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, even if they've been dismissed for the kind of misconduct that would throw you or me into a cell. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/california-today-police-firefighter-pay.html
So you can't get sued, you won't lose your $ no matter what you do, and, what's more, you're living in a culture where morality is upside down, bullies rule, and everyone is trained to be both extremely violent and extremely terrified all the time. https://medium.com/@OfcrACab/confessions-of-a-former-bastard-cop-bb14d17bc759
A lot of this has been said in a lot of places by a lot of people BUT what one years less about is that this insulation from consequences isn't just toxic on a macro (murder) level, but toxic every damn day.
Let's talk about overtime.
As a public defender, whenever I got a case that was just especially, stupidly made-up (think someone arrested for dealing drugs who was at home with no drugs, money, scales, paraphernalia, or baggies on them) the first thing I checked was the cop's schedule.
Inevitably--seriously, ask, like, any defense attorney about this--when you got a really stupid arrest, it would be within an hour or so of the end of the cop's scheduled shift.
Shift ends at 6pm? This really bad arrest would be at, like, 5:30.
Why? Well, because processing an arrest takes time, but it's also really easy. So you can make time-and-a-half for sitting in the precinct typing up some papers and waiting to talk to a DA.
This REALLY adds up.
Let's not forget that the end-of-shift arrest isn't just an inconvenience--arrests cost people jobs, homes, family unity, sometimes unraveling entire lives.
Some of these cops are making close to half a million dollars a year on the backs of the poor and innocent.
So when we look at police budgets that are bloated like this...it's not just military equipment and chemical weapons.
It's public officials lining their pockets with taxpayer money by doing terrible things to the people they're supposed to protect.
And uhhh it's a lot--A LOT--of the taxpayers' money.
So when you hear "defund the police" and you get worried about a world where there's no one protecting the public, please remember that EVERY MODEL for doing this envisions a world where someone is on the other end of the phone when you call 911.
*it's just not someone stealing your money by enacting both violence and dishonesty against you and yours.
...you should verify me. I've been working in this stuff for over 10 years, I'm the Exec Director of an access to justice project, I'm a criminal defense lawyer, and my work is super relevant at present.
So consider this my first #verifiedrequest
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