Ending police abuse requires culture change NOT systemic change

Ending police abuse requires culture change NOT systemic change

The following post was published in the Rochester Beacon on July 26, 2020

There has long been a law prescribing it is illegal to shoot someone in the back.  But that law did not save Walter Scott.  Although unarmed and not threatening his killer, he was shot in the back by a South Carolina policeman while running away during a routine traffic stop.  It is certainly appropriate to ban chokeholds by the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death.  But I doubt the law will save anyone’s life.  Laws by themselves haven’t been shown to protect people of color.  Hence the call for “systemic change.”  

But what is systemic change? And, how will it change the outcomes for millions of African-Americans who have suffered not only the abuse of police officers but also ongoing discrimination in their pursuit of economic opportunity – from housing, to banking, to employment.  

The challenge for legislators, particularly at a federal level, is that there is little they can do to change outcomes that hasn’t already been done.  We have extensive legislation backed up by the courts that prevent discrimination in every arena.  Victims of Continue reading “Ending police abuse requires culture change NOT systemic change”