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How Police and Communities Can Move Forward Together?

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How Police and Communities Can Move Forward Together?

Police departments across the country still have a long way to go before they can effectively build trust within their communities which has been lacking for so long. The San Francisco civil rights and police misconduct attorneys at the Helbraun Law Firm work to get justice for our clients who have been harmed by police misconduct.

Although there has been talk of national initiatives to improve policing and reduce the amount of discrimination in how laws are enforced, at this point, it is largely talk. There is still time for police and their communities to unify, and it can happen through the use of national initiatives.

Reach out to the civil rights and police misconduct attorneys at the Helbraun Law Firm if you believe that you have a lawsuit against the police department for violating your civil rights. We will take the time to listen to you before giving you legal advice.

Mistrust of Police Did Not Begin in 2020

There has been lingering mistrust of police in communities of color in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in March 2020. Police officers are no longer viewed as serving their communities because of many high-profile incidents of excessive use of force. Instead of being seen as protecting the community, police officers are often viewed as part of the problem. There is still a chance for the police to move forward together in a new paradigm, where they partner together to make communities safer, as opposed to the current model that allows for abuses. 

To be clear, distrust of the police did not suddenly begin when Minneapolis police officers looked the other way when their colleague murdered George Floyd. All too often, police have been called upon to enforce discriminatory laws. In other cases, they enforced seemingly even handed laws in a discriminatory manner. Police officers have become the public face of the oppression to which minorities have been subjected over the years, since they have been on the front lines. Older people remember the role that police have played in the past, while younger people are subject to today’s reality of discriminatory police conduct that often means the use of excessive force.

There Is Still Hope for Future Reform

Still, all hope is not lost for the future. Some communities are considering new models of policing and partnership that could change the equation and begin to build trust in law enforcement. It remains to be seen whether these initiatives can be implemented in a way that could finally begin to effect meaningful change.

One of the first positive steps is that many police departments have acknowledged what they may have done wrong in the past and the need for change in the future. Finally, police departments are open to criticism and to listening to their constituents. They may have finally come around to the idea that the people they are supposed to protect are, in fact, stakeholders. 

Possible National Standards to Improve Policing

Much of the future work to improve policing and make it less discriminatory can and should focus on the use of national standards for police forces and new ideas for how law enforcement conducts their business. These standards would cover the following:

  • Adopting a National Consensus Use of Force Policy that clarifies when and how officers can use force – Officers would still be able to use force, but it must be objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control. Officers would have an obligation to prevent other officers from using excessive force. 
  • Participating in a National Use of Force Database to track and understand trends
  • Creating national standards for when to discipline or terminate an officer for excessive use of force
  • Participating in a national database, so all police departments can know whether a particular officer was decertified in a certain state or fired from a job for excessive use of force (currently, many police officers are able to get a new job with another police department after they have been fired)
  • A new commitment to equity and inclusion that seeks to institute bias-free policies and trains police officers to carry out their duties free of discrimination

Currently, communities are only in the early phases of police reform. San Francisco has tried to institute some form of police reform, but the city is currently backsliding in the face of overwhelming pressure. Thus, there is more of a risk of continued incidents in which law enforcement harms community members through misuse of force incidents. 

Contact a San Francisco Civil Rights and Police Misconduct Lawyer Today

If you have been harmed by a police officer breaking the law, call our civil rights and police misconduct lawyers in San Francisco at the Helbraun Law Firm today. We get results for our clients by holding the police department accountable for their misdeeds. You can discuss your case with Mr. Helbraun by calling us today at (415) 982-4000 or by messaging us online.

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