Anytime an injustice is committed we have a moral obligation to respond to that injustice. My objective is to be an agent for positive change and part of that change means to reevaluate and reexamine how we are dealing with issues that directly affect us. It will take a collaborative effort from community leaders as well as law enforcement and our elected officials.
As leaders for change we must be more concerned with purpose and not position which means that once we have gained the trust of the people we cannot be selective when speaking to injustice instead we must speak to all of it not some of it. Our government, its officials, individuals, and agents must all be held to the same rules that enables a fair and equally functioning society I believe we call that the Rule of Law.
While an executive order is good some say it is symbolism without substance meaning that it looks good to the public but are you really going to hold those in law enforcement who kill with impunity accountable? We need permanent legislation to be passed we need and oversight body with subpoena power, we need independent prosecutors not only in cases of questionable police shootings but in cases of police misconduct and brutality as well because it is very clear that a police department cannot and should not investigate its own officers nor should you have a district attorney’s office that works so close with them on a day-to-day basis overseeing that investigation, because the consistent pattern has been that there will be a failure to indict even if the evidence suggest that there should be one. We need to reform the training programs at the Police Academies placing a very strong emphasis on diffusing situations not escalating them, and centralizing in-service training so that it is consistent throughout Police municipalities this will in turn bring about a higher level of accountability so that if an individual acting under color of law break these laws they will be held accountable which includes but is not limited to write ups, suspensions, loss of employment, criminal indictments, and incarceration just as the average citizen would be held accountable.
It is not about being anti-law enforcement, we need law enforcement but the law must apply to all of the people and not some of the people and that should always include those who enforce it. No more covering up injustice or using official channels to give an appearance of justice. No more lying and blaming the victim, making them look as if they are a suspect when we know they were not. We must lead by example we must be unafraid to speak truth to power, we cannot allow the perpetrators of injustice to minimize our outrage. We must aspire to inspire, live what we speak and remember the fight against injustice isn’t a race it’s a marathon and we have a long way to go……
Kenneth Chamberlain Junior
Westchester Coalition for Police Reform