« The Weeds

Defund the police?


Ezra and Matt on reformism vs radicalism and reimagining law enforcement


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox


Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Producer

Jackson Bierfeldt, Editor

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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that supply now wobbly dot com, Slash box and see if you qualify for a ppp alone W O m p l, why dot com, Slash, Veo Ex wife, is not a lender terms and programme rules apply. welcome to the other side of the Weeds Ami Box, media podcast network I met your place is here today with as recline, where we are trying to record without our produce Eric ass on the line with us, so hopefully Alpha Jack, please come back, so we were
Well, I didn't have. Obviously there is a lot in that in the mix in the dews output. What with protests going on- and one thing that is you know, edging up to the policy debate in an interesting way- is that I think a lot of other people have started seeing signs and tweets and slogans. In which people are saying defend the police, which is one of these things, where it means different things to different people and, to some extent, just means that some people think city should spend somewhat less money on their police departments in the context of big budget cuts that are coming down. The pike, but also this connect to a sort of you, no movement into a sentiment in some quarters that policing in the United States should be now quite a lemon, aided in the way that I think do fund suggests literally, but, like so extremely rapidly paired back
that I don't quite know what, but we're going to have unicorns and rainbows patrolling the streets. Instead, I Wouldn'T- I wouldn't put it quite there. I mean I do think the question of what, if anything, you would build in the aftermath like let's. Let's cut. Two versions of this aside. So there's one version of defund: the police, which is on the margin in a time of coronavirus revenue collapse, states are gonna, have to cut budgets and that on the march, when they cut budgets, they should focus those cuts, moron say police in education, and that would an equilibrium. It is not that different than the one we see today, but police depend. And to be somewhat thumb, less well funded, would not grow the way they might otherwise etc. So there's a set of things there, but I don't think that would be like a dramatic change in people's lives. This is the board is not sensible. Interpretation is, like right and in LOS Angeles County has talked about
cutting a hundred one hundred and fifty million dollars from police budget so like that is significant. I think most people both central aim as well, not really noticed that over the time period that their considering it one We think significantly with with those Ellie budgets, because I do think this important right is that LOS Angeles is going to do big budget cuts yet let others more baked of four for fiscal reasons right, and so I think that argument right of like how should a city cut its budget when it has to cut its budget, because this session is are, we important. But I think that's what like we want to set aside rate yeah? It's a big oversees, the idiot critique that just like you should do these. Its adverse was about to go because I want to also then distinguish two ideas about how you might do that, or maybe even three. I think the most common thing you here is: we should stop spending money on police and begin spending money.
On education, on health care on infrastructure. That kind of thing- and so I think, that's one version at what would you build in place of it? You build a better social fifty net. You would build a better schooling system such that You did not have I, like criminogenic effect, and so as you didn't need police as much, but I think it would be hard to get the time frames of those two things correct like we do know that police, Please can create a lot of problems, but it just is a case case it having more like cops on on the street, reduces crime. The evidence of that is very strong and people want crime reduced in their cities, and that includes people, in fact, especially includes people in cities where there are a lot of crime or areas of cities. Crime. If you look appalling so then I think this is the other question which you see some discussion of, and there have been many pilot projects of around the country, but I always find really appealing. I think it is crazy. There
Any child bike over the age of six can tell you, sequence of numbers, it you dial to see somebody somebody with a firearm like I'm a the six year old man with a policy professional, and I cannot tell you how to call a mental health professional out to us Croatia with his curly, a mental health problem that is creating an issue on street or something trained the escalator or mediator, but he's not gonna, come with a gun and he's not gonna come with some of the baggage, a policeman. Where the like. I would like to build call social workers out, so I think there is a? U really could it be Jane and bodily police forces in other countries. Sometimes work more like this right. They don't come with guns. They dont have guns I did this interview with Patrick Skinner, George, a copy there's nice sign races. If you walk into a situation, your badge or your gun out. I promise you you're going to need to use one or both and so like his leg, the idea here, I think, would not just be like defund the place, but I think to even get people in that head space. You have to imagine what
would create and there's no real reason that you couldn't have just as large and just as big a force as you have a police, or at least a half as big. That is actually people we're not trained in violence and not trained, unlike enforcing compliance but better trained in the escalation mediation, social services, responding tat like mental health, firms which are a lot of police calls, etc, etc. Waiting I think it useful way to sort of thing about this right is that a big city police department is a sort of bundle of things right. Am I particularly that the largest ones and the numerically biggest thing we have is you know the uniform cops right and their out about and the biggest thing that they do
is respond to calls right. So police do all kinds of things right and peculiarly big city department, their homicide, detectives. They have a crowd, control capabilities, as we ve been seeing, but like the core competency of that that the main function that police department serve, is they respond to calls from citizens, because evidently, people have a lot of a lot of stuff happens that, like someone or other, wants to call somebody for, and then the person who
I was up, though, is a police officer who is a in the United States, a fairly heavily armed individual, who is often treated readily balko? Has a great book called the rise of the warrior cop, but you know who is treated as a as quays I soldier in a sort of urban warfare environment, and it doesn't have to be the case right. It could be that you assign things to non police functions or could be that you change the police operate like in England, where many fewer people have guns at all the stand,
Third, policemen does not have a weapon, and if you need a guy with a gun, you have to call a special unit, just like in the EU, as the typical police officer could not defuse the bomb right. The police departments can diffuse bombs, but that's a specialised function, but are we have calls answered by sort of generic american police officers who carry a range of weapons on their belts, who wear armor and who are sort of? I would say habituated to the idea that subduing criminals is like a core competency of theirs that that they need to be able to do and yet so much of what you call police officers for you. Don't people talk about,
people in mental high crisis. I mean I try to think about what are the circumstances in which I have placed a phone call and a police officer has arrived and one is somebody broke into my house and stole my laptop and I needed a police report to get renters insurance, and you know anybody it had read like you need a badge and a guy to file that paper for me, other time was. I saw a person who I inferred to be experiencing homelessness on the street apparently unconscious and a very cold evening. I was concerned about his well being and M T showed up, but
so a police officer. Am I gonna why I didn't ask for police officer, but that's a guess how they, how they do it on the dispatch right, and you know both of these strike me as functions where either it could conceivably not be. The police who were doing this or since so much of what police do is that it could be a much less militarized sort of kind of institution? Without to me, I mean, without either case denigrating the fact that, like you, sometimes do need like the hard edge of the copse. It doesn't like. Actually you mostly don't so there's a lot there and an into things I want to pull part? Is you can imagine a version of defined the police? Were we but these like what you're you're talking about, is changing the police right, the light you could imagine, Congress or cities taken this and saying: ok
yes, what we need to do is defined the part of the police or responds with forest. So let's give police departments more money to create internal meat. Asian units, the escalation units I conflict units right, etc, etc, and there are a lot of pilot programmes. I gotta around the country, their departments at work like that is just an incident. Nor Orleans neurons had some huge problems in recent years and so they were under consent decree they made they've like really invested there de escalation, and so there is just a confrontation with protesters on a bridge and the way It ended, which I thought was which was quite striking. Is a police agreed to walk away first and it has all the police left and then the protesters left black fur the police left, and there were like stories about this in their people. Coming like this seems too far, you gotta make sure you copy she looked so anyway, like you can try to change police departments.
That's going to be by the way. What a lot of police department's want to do, because, like institution to do not want to lose funding, is going to be a real push to like make that wet like this ends up meaning. But I think the other question is it. Relationship between police and Particular black communities might be so far gone at this point, given what has happened over of course, have arrogant history that you actually, need a different institution like times. You just need to build something with a different culture without the associations people already have like. We have built new agencies in american life. Like we ve done it over and over and over and over again right, like cities create new departments, and the question is how much funded, and so the question is whether or not were at a point in your seeing that in in these protests, where, like part
The demand is simply yes. There, though, do need to be arms of the state that you can call when something is going wrong even violently wrong residential go violently wrong, but we need an institution that does not have the key. Sure and history instead of associations and set of practices at the police. Do because, like the states, relationship with black communities needs to be re, imagined, it can't be the sort of
precise put it in a bug like colony in a nation kind of thing. So I think you know I've been talking to some political scientists who study, policing and and- and things like that- and you know one thing the day have emphasised to me- is that the institutional set up in the United States is varies incredibly from place to place and if you're trying to think about reforms in a more specific way than slogan here, it's important to think about what what situations are we envisioning right? And so I think this kind of thinking that you are talking about is pretty well suited to very large, diverse, politically liberal city is right, so, like New York City take economical example, the New York City government does a lot of stuff right because, like it's, it's really big
Their police department has tens of thousands of officers, so we could have thousands fewer officers and it would still be like plenty of officers to do things and then they could have thousands of other people doing something else right and like let's craft a new institution. I think it has a lot of appeal. Their use of the fact that the political culture of New York of Chicago of LOS Angeles is progressive right. I mean most people, their most elected officials, there a for a sort of like anti racist idea. As an inhumane humanitarian ideas and then there's a question of like, is it followed, do in practice or or not what's going on and, as you know, we got a sort of work it out there and then african merit plans are minorities in that city psych, numerically speaking, and so there can be no special sort of sort of concerns and and
its activities where that you also have cities like Atlanta right, which is a majority black city whose mayors African American, like every mayor in along sequences, been african American. Most of the officers in that department are African Americans. So, whatever problems there are with the Atlantic Police Department which, like I'm, I'm sure there are problems, it's not that kind of colony intonation. You know type dynamic, although there may be sort of good ways to change it, then the other thing you have like, if you look it incarceration trajectories in the United States, which is where the population is lots and lots of people live in rural areas or they live in suburb.
Where the institutions tend to be very diffuse, where political authority is concentrated in the hands of elected officials who have said that they would say I'm for police brutality but like they would not say that, like tackling institutionalized, racism in America is a big priority of theirs right. And those are the places where, like police violence, issues are actually at their largest like they're, not with the most protests are because people protest in big cities not like in random, suburban county is, but I think it's it's hard for me. Looking at this sort of like radical reform agenda and then looking at where, like the
book of the american population lives to sort of connect. The dots mean in like exactly how is this going to going to work? How is this going to help you if you live in whatever, like the low income section of Fairfax County Virginia like like? What are we really talking about? here. I think two things on that one is to know it and I think it's embedded in what you're saying there is no like one solution. If people read former President Obama's medium post on like how to make sure this moment leads to real change. One wanna things he says there is a people pay too much attention on this issue to the president and the federal government, but this is controlled much more directly by state governments that much the point by city and and and local governments, and so there isn't gonna, be like one big bang thing right, you're going to have to try things, and if things were, they might spread and they may spread slowly, and so I don't think it's the case that, because
taking everything you say like us as correct. If New York and Chicago and LOS Angeles, all decided to radically re imagine how they do like law enforcement, it may be that doesn't say very much for actually just to use having how, for example, here for what happens in Orange County in the next three years, but I say, a lot about what happens in Orange county if it works over the next fifteen and so on. I think that's like actually history of a lot of reform right. They like things we have to start somewhere and they're gonna start in the This is a most interesting progressive reforms. Another version of, is that I think you see when we talking about a lot of this couple years ago. I think the big thing people were correctly focusing on this prosecutors right there's a lot more, focus prevent we're time, I defend the police, like the radical ideas, prison abolition, but like the more brought ideas, criminal justice reform,
Something that came up is people are studying that in talking about, that was the key actor criminal justice reform is the prosecutor, and so Oh in Philadelphia like their across into this area, streamlining on reform has progressed The prosecutor was elected on major he's been a lot of great work there and the like in Samara disco, chaise, she's, Aberdeen right booted there. Thank you he was elected and there a bunch of places are now beginning to elect because, like those energy going into this political activism going into this, these very reform minded prosecutors, and I got a really big deal, so I mean to first it like a frustration. I guess, if like talk about anything, is locals, like you do what you want to do with a congress which a you pass one bill and solve the problem, but you can start thing. And they can change. Things is like lessons are learned right, like that's a whole laboratories of democracy, idea, yes, but You know, I think so
we were to ever on the weeds talk about health care policy. It would be good if we did, we don't do it as much anymore, and indeed it demands to know You know to me: I see a certain equivalent here right, we're like, I think we both and you know like the weeds and vocs outcome as an institution has gone back and forth on Medicare for all campaigning and and things like that. But there's always you know a question of if you are trying to help people in need right like is it counter productive, to implement a sort of maximum less set of policy demands that faces nearly insurmountable obstacle calls or does it make more sense to take path, dependent, seriously and sort of go for it. So you know one thing that that that I saw on Twitter add today was simple: young way was saying well, if you're,
album with police abolition. Is that there's murder and violent crime, only five percent of arrests for violent crime, only one percent of arrests for murder. So maybe we should cut police budgets by ninety five tonight. Nine percent- and I read that treat I was like woah man- and I particularly about it, because I was talking to him earlier in the day and his claim there for now everybody follows him on Twitter is a woman who is, if I hear he's a data scientist who works of project zero, unlike advocacy due to bring downloads of police violence and these official agenda that they have outlined there, that they call their eight can't wait. These are eight changes to police use of force guidelines. They make some very big
some claims about how big a deal these eight are. I think they may be overestimating it, but their basic point is that we sort of policy shifts that departments can make. That would not to a normal person like drastically transform what the police department means like tell Cobb's there did not shoot at moving vehicles because it turns out that you know narrowly speaking Please answer sometimes feels he has a reason to shoot at removing vehicle, but its very dangerous to shoot a gun. It moving vehicle right, there's like a thousand ways that can go wrong and somebody can end up dead. So there is a large impact of like just change the rule, so that in the after action report, if it's like why'd you let him get away and the answer is well, I would have had to shoot is moving car and they like I'll write, you did the right, then that's makes me as a path where, of course, it will be political resistance to change and use of force guidelines
also. You really could you know: do it right, you're not talking about how is police it gonna look thirty years from now you're look As you know, governors who are seeing the level of outrage the volume of protest they would like to get people to go home. They want to make some concessions like you. Can you can sort of make these changes right? Unlike the police would still be the police, they saw the kind of burly. There would still be all kinds of questions about the historic legacy of like what does it mean to live in a country where, for hundreds of years the police was by definition and all white institution, but you might have like a lot. People killed with more stringent use of force guidelines. So it strikes me that some of the people who are out there saying well reform doesnt work. We need to like radically re envision, policing of being a little a little, overly hasty with that conclusion. Why? Because always in all this
debates in this. This has long been too in the healthcare debate and one reason we ve been arguing about. A lot is because the two streams converged over the past couple years. Is it there's always a difference between the people trying move the Overton Window and the people trying to change policy immediately, and I think of at least to some agree the more bra, version of defined the places of moving the Overton Window idea relic. Can you try Imagine a society that works quite differently than our own right anyway, imagine, society or law enforcement is built upon a different foundation But an ambition, maybe take a break and talk to this one reads: that's an overturned window moving play is it. The police are quite popular in this country. Right. That's really! sport and early important political dynamic here. So let's take a break and talk about about them. Everything you know of hours in the day to get everything done. It might be because you're missing out on three of them with
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We're visa is a web based program that works by helping you notice the negative thought patterns you might experience in your relationship to alcohol, and then you the tools. You need to break those patterns rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy for visa is designed to help you prepare for the future by arming you with techniques, to help you during class. It's totally private one hundred percent web based, so you can act they're from anywhere you can try veto risk free with a sixty day, money back guarantee now at U S daughter or visa dot com. So the political economy backdrop applauded this. Is that, unlike you, wouldn't really know this, if spend a lot of time on Progressive twitter, but the police, the police, are very popular at VOX, did some polling with civis in two thousand and eighteen, two thousand and nineteen and after ferguson- it's after you, know that sort of previous round of protest and allow the previous round of a very highly publicist police violence. Unlike what that pulling found visit, it's true phronsie
african Americans have less favourable view of local police, but it still very favourable. So why people have a seventy nine percent favourable view of the local police hispanic. Seventy seven percent, a black people. Fifty eight percent and even given that the numbers are very close in terms of when you pull the different groups on wet what they want to see more police officers hired into their communities so was so among why people sixty five percent support that and thirteen percent oppose it among hispanic folk. Sixty four percent supported and thirty percent oppose it and, among people, sixty percent supported an eighteen percent oppose it. So it is a little bit less popular in by communities, but not that much, which goes to a long like finding in all the literature which is like bi communities are so simultaneously over and under police too, and a lot of people feel like they were like like more good. Please come under job like solving like we'll crimes and but like less like stop and risk, but it
creates a very imbalance, political argument, Has the police are very popular in their critics like there are really good way around that the New York Times had a great pc other day, where they were just They are calling and talking to progressive mayors of cities rate that I talked Michael tubs. Sucked in like they, they they were talking to all these folks, like came up in some key is like an explicit platform of being. Skeptical of police brutality, so bill De Blasio in in New York City. Being great example, now when they are charged. Cities like they are like whether you want to say like there and talk to the police meetings, or, I think, like more likely like when they look at the politics and hear from their own community like things that reading people's disorder become very unpopular like they, all of a sudden once in power are a lot less reformist on some of these issues. Some of their original supporters would like them to be, and it just speaks to the politics of this. You being really difficult
like much more so than I think the commentary on it would suggest. Yeah, and I mean I and I think that it is a tricky institutional question right, because a mirror universe version of this whole discourse, I think, is the politics of education right we're. Teachers are extremely popular and conservative people, like conservative intellectuals, really knowledgeable conservative people they like truly and profoundly believe that public education in the United States is like hundreds, billions of dollars a year scam, you don't mean like it's, it's a gig to them and I think I'd liberal readers will have trouble. Grasping that spell out to them is an important like moral crusade, like cataclysmic quantities of resources are being wasted in K. Twelve public education is like what
servants of policy. Analysts thing on terrible teachers who have locked it in with terrible teachers, unions, sweat and they have this bad problem, which is that, like public opinion, does not agree with them about that. But what they have developed as a workable political strategy is ideas like vouchers, ideas, like charter schools, ideas that don't ask people to envision a world in which there in schools and teachers, but in which the existing schools and human beings are sort of rooted around right and sometimes again to very elaborate sort of versions of this, but like what they can do. What they know is again non starter politically is he'll, be like maybe your kid just won't go to school right, like maybe they'll, just plain a cardboard box on the side of the street like that's, that's not gonna, that's gonna fly and the problem that progressive minded mayors have such as did the police are popular, but they did
like there, some other police department they could do. The policing rightly give Europe the mayor of Minneapolis There was actually councilmen for for many apples who always argument is that he proposed some cuts to Minneapolis Police Department Budget and then, after that happened business owners in his district I did tellingham hey. I've been noticing that when I need to call the police department there like incredibly slow to show up and when I ask why their arrival times, I've gotten so much slower, they tell me to take it up with you right. So that's like the police department is punishing the council members constituents food
going against him and that's a reality that you ve got to deal with because there's nobody who is like so sceptical of the police that they actually dont want the police department to provide policing services to the neighbourhood that they live in now they might want some other institution to do it instead or some change or above, but but like that, someone
the table right like what's on the table. Is you call and nobody shows up, which is not a viable solution for anyone and its? I think a problem. I mean a bitter, it's a politics problem that nobody has really licked. Baltimore has had terrible problems in the years since the Freddy Gray Protests, because the police department their essentially responded to the criticism they took from the population and from elected officials by staging a kind of like mass police strike and the crime rate has soared their incredibly even his nation wide. It stayed blow and like it's a terrible outcome for everyone, and I think people who don't know about those situations are looking at similar mayors behaviour in this crisis and are like what's going on what's going on. But the answer is that nobody
Nobody actually know is how you can do something that viscerally angers rank and file police officers without creating a blow up right, like this, no strategy that anyone has quite mapped out that works, even though we know a lot of strategies to reform things right, it's like if there's by and if people are like yeah we'd like to improve a reputation in the community. Maybe we should change some stuff like that's fine, but unfortunately, you dont often have that situation and is a it's like a real We are for governance problem, so so we cannot take this conversation, two directions. One is. I would like to receive some time to talk about like non defend the police reforms. It seemed to be effect. And they can't can get more buying, because I think we should like not totally flocked to the most controversial point aw on on the reform table, but but
I do want to like make up a visa site argument for it, which is to say actually think the what you just explained about the conservative parties of education is useful here, because I obviously deep We disagree with that view of the world, but, as you say what had to happen there was there was a view that public education in the- U S is a huge, wasteful pro, unlike some people, believe like. Maybe it's not the governments job, but I think more of them believe like it's, badly. It has no competition, bad teacher. Whenever fire at eccentric subjects such as they all just like it. A boondoggle that is not figure How does Ames and You know you had years of extreme argumentation around that as people groped towards figuring out, a more actionable vision for like a different way. This could be constructed now, Do you like your vision, like I don't like, but I think that sort of gonna have to happen here.
It is because I do wonder like say this for for the argument. America has built a law enforcement and carceral system. Of astonishing scale and brutality. The idea that we should try to imagine something really different than it is. I think, appealing It is unusual that in Amerika, like the police, just right, around everywhere, with guns a lot of other countries. Don't have that right like that? That is something we have chosen. The other countries have not chosen, and that creates like it's counterfeits. Now, like The problem is how the criminals have guns register, guns or problem, but you know that also like it is a problem within the police and then we think it something like it. What is it? Seven hundred out of a hundred thousand people are in jail. I've got to the rough number, it's a lot. People embracing we have a higher incarceration rate than China than Russia than like any
any country to our knowledge, functionally in modern history and so Dear that, like you, have to begin imagining something radically different, and maybe that radically different like thing is going to require quite different institutions. It's gonna have to start with values. Re like it's gonna have to serve. Since, like this is wrong, these things should be gone, but where agree with you or where I am more cautious, at least is. I think it is a real mistake to Imagine what has to be gone as opposed like what you have to imagine your utopia too, and I Think that, like right now, it's all sort of framing the negative into, though, if you tell me, you're gonna, get rid of the police force right abolished, please her abolished prisons. My mediate like thought is like one and then what right, in people, have their arguments on this. But like you tell my parents, like that, no like and hugging to go there. So you have to like first painted
like what I think you could have. Instead, that would be better and it could be quite radically different. I guess I just want to speak up in this, for I think that people it is to be radically different. I think that the status quo is horrible, like it is horrific. We are unbelievably violent nation, both in terms of the amount of actual criteria, but also in terms of the amount of punish the pain and imprisonment we inflict on people, and it would be good to think about like root and branch, how to change that. But I think that has to be like either to think about you. Ve worked work back from a society that has better institutions, not just like what you would do to our institutions, hard and like it starts with. It starts with being upset
You say I am very sympathetic to the prison version of that argument in part, because I think we can see in sort of the global context, what a much better sort of alternatives to the incredibly long prison sentences of the United States and incredibly brutal conditions in american prison. Look like in sort of specific. There's a lot of you. No variation in sort of policing practices, but I have never. I don't think it's like, quite as or the ways in which its most relevantly different seem so intimately tied to the different, the underlying difference in firearms prevalence in the United States.
More than anything else, which is not to say we shouldn't talk about changing that, but like if you, if you want to say, ok to solve this problem, we need the streets patrolled by sort of unarmed helpers, primarily rather than heavily armed fighters. Then you really need to get to a situation in which there isn't one spread ownership of easily conceivable hand guns in the United States, and how are you gonna get to that is like that's, like I mean, hard to envision. What a society would look like without hundreds of easily conceivable handguns. There are tons of society's like that, but, like we ve been really down that road, politically wise of I, can we get a marginal, didn't decrease in the quantity of ammunition that can fit into a clip of your military grade. Long guy, like no, you can't do that right. So we are definitely not gonna. Have like mask
nation of handguns in the United States which to me means we are not really going to disarm the sort of first line peace officer function in the United States, which means that when extend were left. Everything nibbling around the edges because, like there would be big changes, but I do think were left with things that are disappointing to active astride like he did Jane Darin. I did a thing on the show about the benefits that they found in Boston of investigating nonfatal shootings as rigorously as you investigate fatal shooting Scrite. So a police department could, at the margin, have fewer people like doing random, stops on the street and more people investigating nonfatal shootings, and I think that would lead to less crime and also less like bad interactions within it.
Civilians, but if I came up to tell like an angry crowd, like that's my pigs with mission, I, like, I have to admit like it, sounds incredibly lame right but like having fewer people be killed. Be would be good, be nice, yeah and so on. One day, you'll just see like in this whole conversation is like in a very like what what kitty tease king in a different context. Usually used here haircut everything a lot about how you would apply nonviolence principles to the state as a post protesters like violence begets why that's right. You have a lot of guns on the streets of lotta guns with cops like that also creates a lotta guns on this like there's like there are sites. Was here that at some point, if you do not want to live in them forever, you have to figure out how to break them. I am, I think, I'm a little more optimistic about the idea, for instance, that both cops could not have guns and that if there was, like a call on a shooting, like you could send out the cops with guns. Like- and I know, there's a whole thing and people disagree with me on this, but on, but
I do think you could have a lot like you could have a lot more tea escalation and I think, like having so many guns around does create summaries problems. Although all that said this particular problem that created the George Floyd Incident did not really include guns. Right I mean that was a butt was like a knee in the back of the neck, choking somebody that slowly so I got was more of a physical torture situation. These are really hard problems. I think we'd better, take take a break again and we need to talk about like some reforms that have happened and progress that exists. If the last year's taught us anything, it's that we do, What will happen next, but there's One thing we can all be sure of the only future: is one we can all share and the charge in building that future his mercy core with over. Forty years of humanitarian work under its belt building together is a mercy course DNA and as the climate. This increases their partnering with those on the front lines making
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a guy's kind of thing. But if you look at the data mapping, police violence has a good sort of comprehensive look at this at what has changed in the United States, since twenty thirty in the population of the United States has grown since twenty thirty him. But the number of unarmed people who are killed by police officers has declined. The number of african Americans were killed by police officers has declined. The number of unarmed african Americans who are killed by police officers has declined really really sharply, and these declines have been concentrated in big cities, and it has all been partially offset by an increase in the number of white People who are killed by police in rural and low density excerpts, which can create a little bit of awe and was a mathematical illusion that, like police killings, have been flat. But.
At the places where the demand for reform has been felt most intensely, which is to say, dense, progressive areas and on these subjects, which have been the topic of the most concern, which is unarmed people. African Americans are particularly unarmed african Americans. There has been actually substantial. Change and there's a slightly odd politics around this like if you listen, and if you see these statements, that the New York City, police officers unions make their that that the police, Benevolent Association, and particularly the sergeants Benevolent Association they are crazy, like they sound like deranged sociopaths at the sergeants, put out a statement at about the comics in the in the protesting that they will win the war on New York City like like they're, like
fading conquering army, and some of you would never know from listening to them is that crime in New York City has consistently fallen over the past several years and that the Nypd kill civilians at one of the lowest rates of any police department in the United States, and that that rate is falling right so like they are actually their behavior during these protests has, I think, been unconscionable, but also like the things they say are repulsive to me, but what they are actually doing. I mean not during the protest, but during the day to day. Contact of their work is what people want. They have low and falling levels of crime. They have low and falling levels of police of islands against civilians, and I'm genuinely baffled on some level that we can't have a somewhat friendlier conversation about this, in which we knowledge that this is a bad that people concerned,
about this are valid, but we say that they are being heard and to an extent addressed and then to the biggest, except that their not being addressed. It's like very conservative areas of the country where I just think like these concerns have not been heard right like In rural America there aren't people like up an arm saying. Ah, there's too much shootings of armed white suspects, but you know like we should expand the circle like telling police officers that they have to be more cautious about the use of force. The really seems to work: and what are some things within that the door I mean we ve had groupies by Roma Lopez, onset of winter work you've done weeds on this, like what is like sort like the the right like like near near agenda, yeah. So I saw some of this stuff, that's in the in the aid they can't way. You know, I think works well, and this is basically, this is
different aspects to it, but I think the main one is a kind of de escalation checklist right. That book, were you are involved in there in the use of force? You are supposed to do certain things that are designed to avoid that outcome right and if you look at a lot of the most horrifying things that have been in the news, they just stem clearly for not doing that right. Like you here, there's a kid with a gun: someplace you roll up, you see, he's got a gun, you shoot him, then it turns out. It was a toy gun, right and that's because you weren't following a checklist whose design is too like avoid shootings ecosystem, a big one, there's also certain cognitive, behavioral therapy programs. That work, I mean saying we're you do more training sounds a lame because so many trainings dont work and in particular implicit, biased, trainings. Don't we
But there are ways to to train officers to be able to think more clearly in stressful situations. Banning choke holds appears to work. There is no. It is entirely possible to teach police officers how to subdue people, the glee anyway, that doesnt risk strangling them. Like it's hard, you don't wanna underestimated like what they do when they decide to do. People is difficult, but, like the chokehold is a very dangerous way to subdue people. There are safer ways and if you tell officers right when you get to the fatalities, when you get to the point where, like a person, is dead and there's anger in the streets and people are demanding a murder trial.
That's really tough! It's like a tough problem and somebody levels. Where have you create a situation where it's like just don't put him in a chokehold. You know like even most people who you put in so called don't die right like it's fine, but, like you shouldn't, do it as a routine matter practice, and that avoid situations in which, people die in it's sort of little steady reforms like that, and then questions in how the union contracts work right now it is very difficult for somebody who has broken the rules repeatedly to find themselves actually dismissed and people who have been dismissed for misconduct and one department of his get hired in another jurisdiction that someplace near by last, not on their last, but some other research. I've seen suggests that its body common sense.
If you hire more non white officers, you have less problems with with now might suspects. Also, if you hire more women officers as result of affirmative action lawsuits in things, you ve had good serve ways, experiments on that you get less kind of violence. So you know this is like you changed the rules. You enforce the rules, you dont higher officers have been fired for breaking the rules and instead of them right instead of hiring veterans, who had been fired for breaking the rules elsewhere, you try to hire more african Americans and more women, and then you know this questions about. How do you do the recruiting and and Bob Bob Obama, but it seems to me, like we should be able to make fairly steady step wise process without endangering public safety or fundamentally altering like peoples, but nine sort of view of policing
Institution, that's my pitch. I think that's a good place to start. At least I mean it's something right and I do actually think that's different from the prison case where, like yes, the prison case is a different case. We should do in episode on prison, abolition yeah, I think it is helpful. Unhealthy do try to re imagined society every so often yet. But yes, you are going to need to do things in your term that people going to let you do way and there is, I think, a lot on police are people will let you do and then there is like a lot of these people. I won't let you do until there's a those a job for people to build a very different society to try to change public opinion, but for now, like you know, until our public any change that you can do a lot near term. I think on sir,
I agree on the eight can't wait stuff, which I think is very very powerful and then prison abolition is really different. We have built up Karswell society that, like I think it is unjust at its fundamental core and ease in doing good and its end its buildings. Right, I mean like you, have to actually not. You Those facilities, like, I don't think, there's way you can replace like a supermax prison for some other people It's you know it's it's just like as a question of symbolism, you would have to tear down and build something else there, like you very literally, would like their purpose, built structures to keep people in various degrees of basically torture and type conditions. I meet the other thing I would say my other Pickford, like mealy arrest them is that, like we haven't types of our today about how Donald Trump is a bad precedent, but Int Postal snub great someday.
Has to be done to de escalate, the mass protests that are sweeping the country, because, on the one hand, yes, these protests are driven by outrage at the underlying acts. On the other hand, I don't think you can miss the context that we have had people cooped up because of a pandemic for months and that we have an unemployment rate of over twenty percent. So the kind of natural things that would normally get people to move on are like not happening here right like there's an incredible amount of idleness, currently operating as it as a background condition and huge numbers of people in the streets. The police efforts at crowd control seem to have been counterproductive. In many kinds of cases are we are seeing opportunists. Take advantage of the situation today
like looting and vandalism. Legacy is actually quite back right, leg and requires resolution, and it requires liberal and moderate and conservative policy makers to try to look in their book attracts, unlike come up with some ideas that they can say like we are addressing this like. We are going to do something and its The leadership void at the federal level, but also in in several of our largest cities on this is like it's boggling my mind. You know where it's like. Nothing is being try like a commission or you know a six point former agenda like yeah, because we have a president who wants this fight? Yes, I mean put president Trump. I think we can diagnose like what's going on
but I haven't seen it really from state local leaders and it's like it's very. I feel like this system was like so wiped out by covered nineteen they'd like nobody's brains are functioning. You can just keep calling curfews and then bringing people out and firing tear gas at them like that's, not that's how you govern a city, those it there's a lot there. I think. That's another upset the weeds, but I will say that is a general thing, state capacity, a super weak right now, yeah. On a lot of different things like people are not in their offices. There tired there like a seat in every profession at the moment, but yes at a time when we need like creative, like emotionally generous, unlike intellectually, where leadership it is, people are doing, ok, job but its Vienna, overall the system is at a breaking point: law:
always good to Edna episode on the breaking point. So thanks Ezra thanks it everybody out there listening there on a breaking point, thanks Jackson, Beer felt who is, can we are editor for this episode in the weeks will be back, Okay,.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-19.