Two stories about bad policing in the news today: Do we need the police?

The LA Times reports that in North Carolina, a man was killed by police after seeking help for having been in a car accident. The man’s name is Jonathan Ferrell, and he was a former football player for  Florida A&M University.

The same day, The New York Post reports that police shot two innocent women bystanders, while trying to subdue an emotionally disturbed man who was interfering with traffic on Broadway. (The two women were treated in the hospital for injuries.)

A question for all of us: Do we have such a need for traffic to flow smoothly, that we need police to start shooting people in the road, instead of blocking off the road and negotiating with them?

And, some bigger questions…

Should police have guns? Do we even need police? Do we need separate, specifically-trained police to deal with the mentally ill?

I am reposting an essay I wrote on this topic awhile back…

What If There Were No Police?
Moving past the failed institution of “the police”

by Kimberly Wilder

Excerpt at the readmore. Full story: here.

…Perhaps there is a better way to accomplish the goals we have for police. What if we re-examine the outcomes we desire, and start from scratch in inventing an entity or organization that could better meet those goals? The task would be something like zero-based budgeting, where we erase all the old patterns and allotments, and only add things that truly make sense for the current situation. Let’s start from square one about law and order: Do we really need police? Can we let go of the institution of police altogether, and fill it up with new programs that will work better?…(read the full story: here)

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