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Don’t put more reporting roadblocks in the way of good cops

By Staff | May 12, 2021

To the editor:

Sen. Cory Booker, N.J.-D, proposed police reform that was rejected by the GOP. Now it is the Democrats who are the obstacle to bipartisan accomplishment. The party blocked a police reform bill from Sen. Tim Scott that would have outlawed lynching/chocking suspects unnecessarily, making it a federal crime. The differences between the D or R bills include holding municipalities culpable as employers. The Democratic Party, largely the elected officials in urban communities, would like any payout from police misconduct to be shouldered by raiding the police union pension and requiring police to purchase their own individual liability insurance.

Consider the blue line of omerta. Remember that whistleblowers are 90% likely to be fired or retaliated for exposing an injustice. Factor in that police who are suspected of crimes committed while on duty escape punishment when another officer covers for them to suborn their lawless behavior.

Under the Democratic proposal, the whistleblower would now lose his fellow officers’ pension for reporting custodial abuse of a suspect in custody. Hardly an incentive for doing the right thing.

If we agree that the problem is systemic, merely rotating poorly trained officers by termination, only allows the cities to continue all their bad practices without financial consequence while breaking the police union. The elimination of the union, low pay, long hours will not improve police performance, especially with poor training.

Consider that in Minnesota both George Floyd’s killer and the police woman who shot the suspect attempting to flee (by mistaking her gun with her taser) were both on shift as training officers. My own opinion is that cops want to do a good job, and go home without killing any suspects at the end of the day.

Taking the city, responsible for training and supervision, off the hook financially while giving the honest cops a reason to look away are not helpful.

Yes, the GOP should cooperate more frequently in the Senate. But the Democrats should not use this moment of national crisis to filibuster against police reform. In two weeks the Scott bill should be reconsidered, not filibustered. “Qualified” immunity (your boss is liable for your actions under qualified immunity and can be held financially liable) should continue. We gain nothing as the public only by further defaming individual police. Creating a new insurance program will not improve transparency nor accountability. A suspect’s right to a fair trial include living to see the docket.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral