The recent killing In Minneapolis, Minnesota of Justine Damond at the hands of a police officer is another unfortunate reminder that the U.S needs police reform. Mohamed Noor, the police officer that shot Damond has been put on administrative leave. Damond called 911 to report an assault that occurred close to her home. Officers Noor and Matthew Harrity responded to the call at approximately 11:30 PM last Saturday night. Damond approached the police car to talk with the officers which is when officer Noor impulsively shot the unarmed victim.
For someone that follows politics and the news very closely, this event hasn’t been covered as extensively as prior police shootings. The aftermath has also been very different. The Minneapolis Police Chief resigned after the shooting. More action has been taken following this shooting than basically every other shooting. During the Mayor’s press conference Friday night, a protest erupted during the conference. The protest was peaceful and even members of “The Five” on Fox News were applauding the protest. This whole scenario seems odd, in fact opposite to everything we have experienced in the aftermath of police shootings. Why is that?
The glaring problem with this case is race. Damond, the victim was white and the officer who killed her is a black Somalian immigrant. It is impossible to know for sure what role race has/is playing in the aftermath of the shooting but it is plausible to conclude that Damond has gained more sympathy than many unarmed black men killed by police. Philando Castile was also recently killed by police in Minnesota for no good reason which videos have proven. There were wide range protests and national coverage but the officer responsible was acquitted on all charges.
Police reform will be difficult, especially with the present administration. One of the most common solutions has been making all officers wear body cams. The two officers in the Minneapolis shooting were wearing their body cams but were not turned on which has spurred controversy. Should police face punishment if their body cams are not turned on? They most certainly should, especially in a high profile case such as a police shooting. Whoever is responsible, whether it is the officer or the suspect will be much easier to conclude with video rather than he said, she said.
Secondly, officers need to be held accountable. Time after time, officers are acquitted after killing an innocent man. I understand being a police officer is one of the most difficult jobs and one I certainly would not want to do but they are still citizens and should be held to similar standards. If officers and criminals were equally punished for their actions towards each other, this controversy would not be as lopsided and heated as it currently is. If an officer messes up and it is proven, they should be punished. If a citizen messes up and it is proven, they should be punished. In 2017 it seems like Americans are divided into two camps: pro police (Blue Lives Matter) and anti police (Black Lives Matter). There wouldn’t be “teams” per say if the law was followed properly, on both sides.
The last proposal I will offer is protesters have to stop being idiots. The First Amendment allows the right to peacefully protest and people most certainly should when it is warranted. With that said, I lean left and really can’t stand the Black Lives Matter movement. It is one of the most dysfunctional and unorganized movements in contemporary history. Once protesters start damaging property and negatively affecting innocent bystanders, they lose my support as well as millions of others. Police reform is about tightening the divide of the aforementioned “teams” for a better America. You will never win over the other side if you are damaging property and acting in an uneducated manner. If you protest peacefully with intelligent arguments, people will listen.