Sunday, August 2, 2015

How to Stop Brutality-Adjacent Policing

We need to train police officers to be “guardians,” not warriors.

     Tony Webster/Flickr

(The American Conservative)
What happened to Sandra Bland? This is a question many Americans (particularly, and rightfully, black American women) are asking, following the death of a young civil rights activist in a Waller County, Texas jail cell two weeks ago. Was any of it—her arrest after a traffic stop by state trooper Brian Encinia, her three-day detention, the neglect that resulted in her alleged suicide by hanging—legal?
Bland’s death remains under investigation, but the dashboard camera footage of her interaction with Encinia shows the escalation of a warning for the failure to signal into the forceful detention of an epileptic woman. Surprisingly, much of what occurred between Encinia and Bland appears to have been legal, if imprudent. Encinia’s tactics could be called “brutality-adjacent policing,” in which the standard for behavior is the bare legal minimum rather than actively good policing.

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