Protests against police violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo courtesy of Fibonacci Blue / Flickr)
Glendora High School

Opinion: How we can change the policing system

I’m sure everyone knows about the murder of George Floyd by now. The impact of his death is evident from the protests that are happening across the country, to the black fist that is now the profile picture of thousands of social media accounts.

Many people, especially non-black people, ask, “What can I do to help?”

Well, according to many of my friends on Instagram, you can attend protests, call/email the district attorney or the Minneapolis mayor, donate to different funds, sign petitions and many more. However, can these things actually change our broken policing system?

Let’s start with the riots.

Many people use the examples of the Stonewall Riots or the women’s suffrage riots to justify the violent protests that are going on right now around the country. I agree: it is frustrating to see that peaceful measures are not taken seriously by politicians, leaving us with the only option of violence to demand justice.

However, the American policing system does not work this way.

If you do some research, you’ll realize that the police operate under a completely different set of rules. Before this murder, Derek Chauvin (the man who killed George Floyd) faced 17 misconduct complaints. He faced zero consequences. You ask, how?

Police operate under a different set of rules that shield them from legal consequences. And police unions are a big reason why.

Police unions bargain with police agencies and they will do whatever they can to protect their members, the police. They shield cops from investigations and also from revealing an officer’s disciplinary records. Some even go as far as erasing records every 60 days. That’s right, we do not know the whole history of each police officer.

The result is zero accountability.

Well, you say, the district attorney has to do something. We can call them and demand the other two officers in George Floyd’s case be arrested. Well, that exact district attorney is probably also in this corrupt system.

How? Take District Attorney Anne Marie for example.

She had to decide whether to press charges against two officers who killed an unarmed 22-year-old. Within two weeks, she received campaign donations of $13,000 from two police unions. She accepted that money and didn’t file charges against the two murderers. The DA is out of the question.

So, what can we do?

One simple thing. Vote.

Vote for the candidate that will bring change. Vote for a person you trust. That is how we change the system. It will be a long fight, but don’t give up. If you can’t vote, then volunteer and get involved with campaigns. Help with the cause.

In no way am I saying, “Don’t go to protests. Don’t call/email. Don’t raise awareness on social media.” I encourage everyone to do all these things, but please remember to stay safe.

If we truly want to change the system, we have to do it from the bottom-up. We have to do more than attending protests, calling/emailing, donating to funds, signing petitions, and other things you can do from the safety of your home. We have to vote. We need to fight for individuals that will fight for change.