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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

America needs police reform

By Vanessa Wang | Junior Editor


   Ever since George Floyd’s murder in the summer of 2020, cries for changes in policing have been growing rapidly throughout the United States. Since then, there have been more instances of racially-charged police brutality and officers using excessive force on innocent people. To prevent this, there needs to be police reform. 

   With the increasing number of people falling victim to unjustified acts of violence and harassment by police officers, the controversy surrounding the subject of police reform has been growing more tense. This abuse of power by police, commonly targeted at Black Americans, has resulted in many lives lost with no repercussions. 

   Police reform would aim to enforce the protection of all human rights regardless of race, gender, class, etc., uphold accountability among the police force, and create an institution that serves and protects all people both efficiently and effectively, according to SSR Backgrounder.

   The police have had a long history of using excessive force on vulnerable or innocent people, especially when they are marginalized people of color.

   “Black men are 21 times as likely as White men to be killed by law enforcement,” stated David Gutierrez in a Harvard Political Review, “Black women, Transgender people, Native American and Latinx communities are also disproportionately killed or assaulted by law enforcement.”

   With such dangerous racial biases against certain groups, it is clear that there are major things that must be changed within the police training. Officers have the power to take lives, and when so many of them feel justified in doing so, there is a problem.  

   According to the Advancement Project, a big issue that people have with law enforcement is how rarely they are held accountable for their actions. The officer responsible for 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s death, for example, still has not been charged despite the fact that Toledo was unarmed and posed no threat.

   This continued lack of accountability goes to show how broken the current police system is. Officers are never punished for their actions, so nothing changes. Cases such as Toledo’s are incredibly common in the United States. 

   But there are things that can be done to help prevent future deaths. 

   Law enforcement can help change things by including racial bias training as a part of the process that people go through to become police officers. There should also be a bigger focus on de-escalation tactics and problem solving so that officers do not have to resort to using force against every problem. 

   Defunding the police would result in their money being diverted to essential social services like housing and education. This would help reduce the number of potentially violent run-ins between people and police by tackling the cause of crime as well as giving police less money for weapons and riot equipment that often end up hurting innocent people.

   With accountability, there should be better and more organized data collecting in regards to police practices and interactions. The community that the police serve should play a bigger role in holding law enforcement accountable, since they are the ones affected. 

   The racial discrimination, bias, and violence found in today’s law enforcement all point towards a need for police reform. They should receive better training that is focused on protecting the people of their community. 

   Law enforcement are meant to make citizens feel safe, they should not be the ones that people are scared of. It should not be a privilege to feel protected by the police.

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America needs police reform