Police Reform Starts with the DA’s Office!

What a time, to be alive. We live in a country where 22-year old Stephon Clark, a Black man, can get shot twenty times in his own backyard for being a “suspect” of car break-ins. His assassination would consist of a helicopter chase, and a foot chase—all because he had a gun…no wait a crowbar…oh wait, it was just a cellphone. In the same week, we are told not to be quick to label Mark Anthony Conditt a 23-year old White male who planted explosives throughout Austin, Texas for three weeks—as a terrorist. Oh, we’re talking teams? The police chief would refer to these acts an “outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point,” after viewing footage from Conditt’s confessional video. Because of his desensitized behavior, two Black men are dead, and many others are left injured—including the cop who was on duty during Conditt’s suicidal bomb. You see the irony? As Journalist and activist Shaun King says,” Black VICTIMS of white violence get less sympathy & compassion.” And yet again, these events come as no surprise. Let’s briefly be reminded of these alarming statistics, based on a Vox article: 1. “Black people are much more likely to be shot by police than their White peers.” Although we make up 13% of the population, African Americans make up 31% of all people killed by police. What’s even more disturbing is that 60% of unarmed victims during police shootings, are minorities. 2. “Cops are almost never prosecuted and convicted for use of force.” That’s right; 33% or cops are convicted in criminal cases, as opposed to 67% of civilians. This is largely in part due to “prosecuting misconduct.” But here’s the part where we come in. Yes, we know the system is corrupt. Yes, there needs to be a reform on police training. But, the real change begins with us—at the local level. And that starts with voting for the right district attorneys to fight this cause. Philadelphia has recently reaped the benefits of doing just that. In November 2017, civil rights attorney Larry Krasner took the stage as district attorney. His election brought about a radical change in the criminal justice reform movement—that is rapidly sweeping this nation as we speak. “In his first week, Krasner fired 31 prosecutors from the DA’s office. Krasner’s spokesperson said this was done to “implement a culture change in an institution.” In other words, this was step one in weeding out the bad guys. Krasner later released a list of 29 Philadelphia police officers who were on a “do not call list.” This list is comprised of crooked cops who are guilty of misconduct—from lying to investigators, to using excessive force, to falsifying reports. Some were even charged with moral offenses like drinking and burglary. Krasner recently pinned a five-page report of new polices to his staff, calling to “end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing.” Krasner touched on everything from the disparity of marijuana charges vs. all other drugs, to the unfair sentences of sex-traffic workers, to the corrupt malpractice of higher plea deals resulting in harsher punishments. Krasner has also publicly voiced that he did not oppose the releasing Meek Mill from prison. So, I encourage all of us to uphold our civic responsibility and get to the polls! Philadelphia is only Exhibit A, but it is proof that a ‘real change is gonna come!’]]>

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