Since 2008, blackboysincrisis.com has served as the world’s premiere website for information and solution-oriented strategies on the plight of young Black males in America. It is an online educational resource for activists, teachers, parents, policy-makers, students, and anyone committed to helping our sons and daughters reach their full potential. The site explores and challenges social and political factors that are negatively impacting the education, maturation, and overall success of young Black males. It features a wide array of in-depth articles, cutting-edge academic and socio-economic resources, tons of student and teacher-centered activities, an extensive free video library for all who yearn to learn, and educational products written and produced by the site’s founder, Educational Consultant and Self-Development Life Coach Richard Clay.
While our primary focus at Blackboysincrisis has always been the promotion of solution-oriented, comprehensive school reform that will uplift Black boys, we have also always vigorously promoted progressive criminal justice reform and police reform. All three of these are essential elements to the movement that we helped revive more than a decade ago to save our sons in school and empower Black youth and Black communities nationwide.
So when the Black Lives Matter lead movement to reform policing in America exploded immediately after the videotaped police murder of George Floyd was released to the public, our staff joined-in with all hands on deck. We studied all of the recent police murders of unarmed African-Americans that we could find. Then we rote new police reform initiatives, solicited and received police reform initiatives from trusted contributors within our network, and studied a wide range of police reform proposals, bills, and actual laws that were initiated locally and all across the country. Finally, we took all of that information and compiled the best, most practical and urgently needed police reform initiatives that we came across into the resulting Common Sense, Comprehensive Package of Police Reforms.
We at Blackboysincrisis compiled this package of police reforms in order to help provide definitive direction and agenda-based operational unity to the vast numbers of social justice activists, policy-makers, and common people all around the world who are now advocating for real police reform. Any person, group of people, government or business entity that is already in or looking to join the ongoing police reform movement can review this package and get a real vision of what comprehensive police reform should look like once it is fully implemented. Of course people can pick and choose initiatives to act on, add to, or subtract from this package based on police reforms that are the most practical and urgently needed in their city or state. But for sure, after reviewing this package, many more people from small towns to big cities will now have clear, plausible, and widely shared police reform objectives to work on.
So now the real hard work begins. We urge you to join us and multitudes of others in fighting to implement the police reforms listed in this package below at every applicable level of city, county, state, and federal government. Please help us to promote, recruit, and organize supporters around this package. This fight that we are engaging in will of course be a difficult one. We will encounter massive push-back along with dirty tricks from some police, their many permanent supporters, and government officials who want to continue with business as usual. Yet we must show them that we will no longer tolerate business as usual.
Fortunately, we are already winning in places around the country where no one ever thought that police reform victories were possible. Our time to fight to reform the racist police system in America is right now. March, speak-out, write post and tweet about, organize and mobilize around, and vote for and donate generously to community activists and political candidates who commit to and fight hard for this cause and agenda. Black boys’ lives matter. Black lives matter. Police reform matters.
• Ban the teaching and use of all choke-holds, neck compression, chest compression, and back compression maneuvers. Too often, these tactics intentionally or unintentionally lead to the unnecessary choking and suffocation deaths of unarmed suspects.
• Ban the use of police dogs to bite or threaten to bite suspects. This inhumane practice constitutes torture, leads suspects to kill or be framed for the unnecessary killings of police dogs, leads to police officers valuing the lives of police dogs more than the lives of human beings, and totally ignores America’s racist legacy of police sicking dogs on Black civil rights protesters throughout the 1960’s.
• Ban the use of all forms of facial recognition technology by law enforcement and local government agencies, and destroy all images currently contained in any related public surveillance systems. Facial recognition technology is unjustly used to spy on the general public, treat whole populations like criminal suspects, racially profile African-Americans and people of color, and it frequently misidentifies African-Americans resulting in disastrous consequences for them including wrongful imprisonment and death.
• Prohibit the police department’s acquisition or acceptance of military grade weapons and gear from the U.S. Military or any other sources. Having possession of military equipment makes police departments more aggressive overall, and specifically more dangerous in minority communities as they look for and find opportunities to use it.
• Demilitarize the police department by giving all military grade weapons And gear I.E. tanks, heavily armored vehicles, and high-powered spy equipment back to the U.S. Military. This equipment never should have been given to the police in the first place for it has no place in daily civilian law enforcement.
• End the practice of “no-knock” warrants for all police units including Narcotics. Innocent civilians including children are killed or badly injured far too often by the use of this Gestapo-like practice, and it is used disproportionately more often in neighborhoods where minorities live.
• Ban the use of tear gas, including CS Gas, pepper spray, and all of its other chemical derivatives, which is already banned from international warfare by all nations as a chemical agent per the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and require the chief or head of the police department to sign-off on any use of rubber bullets or other crowd control weapons, gear, or tactics against protestors/demonstrators before such actions can take place. This initiative would do the following: protect citizens from a potentially deadly form of domestic chemical warfare, prevent individual police officers from using significant force against demonstrators without provocation or escalating situations prematurely based on their implicit biases, reduce the occurrence of protests devolving into riots or violence, and keep demonstrators, the police, and the general public safer overall.
• Ban the practice of racial profiling by police and require all officers to collect racial data on all vehicular and pedestrian stops, as well as require the police department to analyze and report that data out annually to the state and the public. This initiative would free-up more police officers to do more impactful police work, improve attitudes towards and relationships between the police and African-Americans, and consistently produce the hard data needed to measure progress in this area.
• Divert the funding that is saved by ending many of the old militaristic, criminalization, and over-policing programs and activities of the police department towards more humanitarian, community reinvestment spending. The need for overwhelming law enforcement measures in any community can be drastically reduced by prioritizing funding to the following areas: housing facilities for the homeless, effective substance abuse treatment programs, mental health treatment programs and facilities, health-care access initiatives, minority economic empowerment grants and economic development initiatives, job and career training programs, and active family recreation centers.
• Institute residency requirements for police officers whereby officers must live inside the city in which they work. Residency serves as the fundamental building-block of community policing, allows the police and the citizenry better opportunities to get to know and respect each other, and automatically weeds-out some of those officers who have bad intentions towards or little respect for Blacks and minorities.
• Pass a law that makes it an automatic felony for a police officer to turn-off or delete footage from a police body camera in order to obstruct justice in any way. This unjust practice makes a mockery out of the justice system, negates the very purpose of assigning body cameras to police officers, and negatively interferes with the proper processes for both solving crimes and exonerating officers of false or unproven legal charges.
• Pass a law that makes it a hate crime for a police officer to kill a person who is of a different race than he/she is for the sole or primary reason that that person is of a different race or ethnicity. If a racially motivated discrimination based killing is criminally charged as a hate crime when committed by any civilian, then likewise, it should be criminally charged as a hate crime when committed by a police officer.
• Improve and re-center the training of police officers around the primary goals of solving crime, deescalating conflict situations as a means of maintaining public safety, and using nonlethal force to subdue and arrest suspects whenever possible; all while limiting the use of deadly force to situations where it is necessary to save a life or prevent great eminent harm to one’s self or others. More effective training should penetrate and shape the attitudes of most police officers towards all citizens, reduce officer involved homicides, and make it easier for departmental superiors to identify and hold accountable those who are not practicing their jobs professionally as they were trained to do.
• Enact a law that makes it every police officer’s duty to intervene to stop their partner(s) officer(s) from using excessive force against a suspect in clear violation of public law and their department’s Use Of Force Policy, further requires them to document and report all such excessive force incidents to their superiors immediately, and trains each officer how to perform these job duties correctly. Along with raising the level of accountability for all police officers that appear on any scene, this measure could go a long way towards breaking-down the “blue wall of silence” that enables police brutality and misconduct to spread throughout departments, and convincing police officers that if they fail to follow policy and utilize best practices, they might not receive collaboration or cover from their partners or superiors when it is time to face consequences for illegal actions.
• Increase the amount of implicit bias training that police officers receive both in the academy as well as while on the force, and train each officer on the history of slavery, lynching, institutional racism, and the evolution of early policing in America. Due to the nature of their jobs, police officers should constantly be challenged to confront any racial biases that they hold and expand their knowledge and understanding of people who have different cultural backgrounds, disabilities, life experiences, and related challenges than they do.
• Stop dispatching the police to address citizens with known mental illnesses who are of no immediate threat to the lives of others and empower trained mental health professionals to respond to and address their issues instead. Police officers simply are not and cannot be trained to address the full range of these citizens’ daily or emergency concerns, and continuing to force them to try to exemplifies ineffective over-policing, which often produces deadly consequences.
• Mandate one-two psychological evaluations each year for each police officer working in the department. This is the best way to pre-determine before a major incident occurs whether or not each officer is functioning in his/her proper mindset, or if he/she is depressed, over-stressed, or psychologically driven by implicit racial biases and is thus more likely to use excessive force at some point in the near future.
• While moving continually towards eliminating racial discrimination from the police department and hiring more Black and minority police officers, publish and report the racial/ethnic demographics of the police department and the graduating police academy class out annually to the state an the public. Maintaining a diverse police force and combating institutional racism inside the police department are important and righteous goals which the public should be able to measure for progress at any given time.
• Thoroughly investigate the backgrounds of all potential new police officer hires and do not hire them if they were fired by or resigned from another police department due to personal misconduct while on the job, or serious disciplinary action. The often blamed “bad cops” usually have a history that includes a pattern of misconduct that causes them to hop from department to department, and their reckless actions could at any time jeopardize their new police department’s credibility, citizens’ lives, and/or overall public safety and tranquility.
• While organizing and fighting to implement this comprehensive package of police reforms at the local, county, and state levels, on the federal level, we should all work to support ongoing Congressional efforts to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, the doctrine that protects them from personal liability in civil lawsuits concerning civil rights violations, and create a national registry of police officer misconduct. Passing these two measures into federal law would truly bring a new level of personal accountability to policing in America. Together they would hold brutal police officers legally, financially, and vocationally accountable for violating citizen’s civil rights, make it much harder for repeat offender police officers to department-hop, and make it clear to the world that America is getting serious about creating meaningful police reform. These two measures should, and already are being passed by some state governments in lieu of federal passage.
• At the federal level, we must also pressure Congress to pass a new finance law that permits cities and counties to borrow money directly from the Federal Reserve Bank or some other source free of any interest or significant fees for the sole purpose of paying-off their police brutality lawsuits and settlements. This will end the despicable practice of Wall Street Banks and wealthy investors profiting immensely off of long-term interest-bearing loans that they make to American cities and towns via the purchase of general obligation municipal bonds nicknamed “police brutality bonds,” which forces over-policed minority communities to grossly overpay for police brutality cases in blood, lives, and tax-payer based treasure.