From "How Much Police Brutality Is In Our Wallet?" by Chandra Bozelko in The Daily Record, June 8, 2020, p.5
The protests and riots popping up around the country present the issue of how we value lives, spurred on by the death of George Floyd, a demise that’s been called — properly, in my opinion — murder by authorities. Police violence will never end in the United States as long as we think black people and their lives are disposable.
Who matters and who doesn’t is part of what’s happening in the streets these days. Another reason why police brutality persists is that its perpetrators never have to pay for it. Claims for damages from violence by law enforcement are borne by taxpayers as police union members skip off with their pensions.
If state and local governments paid each successful claim of brutality or corruption out of police pension funds, this violence would go the way of dial-up internet; no one would use it or even think about it except in hindsight as they talk about how common it once was.
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Systemic racism is often hidden from conscious awareness. It is not until we take a look behind the curtain that we begin to see the factors that contribute to way things are.
To become aware of systemic racism, a person has to read between the lines, and look for the back story.
One of the interesting things about police misconduct is that the officer perpetrating the misconduct and malpractice is shielded from identification and does not have to personally take responsibility for their malpractice. This is unlike any other profession. Most professionals can be sued for malpractice, and have their licenses to practice suspended or revoked. Not so with police officers whose damages for malpractice gets paid for by the tax payers.
Why would taxpayers want to pay for the malpractice of police officers any more that they would want to pay for the malpractice of their physicians, lawyers or any other professional whose job it was was to serve them to the best of their ability in alignment with commonly recognized professional standards?
Tax payers paying for police officer malpractice is a form of enabling that malpractice because police officers are not personally held accountable for damages the harm they have caused as they carry out the practices of their profession.
“The public knows nothing about it,” former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial told the NPR show “Marketplace” on June 2: “Many times it’s hidden behind confidentiality agreements, attorney-client privilege. It’s not discussed.” You don’t know if those mill (tax) rate hikes covered a debt incurred by a rogue cop.
With the tax payer paying the civil damages for police officer malpractice, the malpractice continues and is unconsciously added and abetted by the public who cast a blind eye and pay for the brutality towards nonwhite citizens.