Bleed Then Lead

04/10/2015 12:42 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2015
Win McNamee via Getty Images

Isn't it always the way? In all societies?

First there is power. Then abuse of that power. Then there is protest. Then there is conflict. Then the reactions. Then the fight. Then the battle. Then the blood. Then the leadership promoting change.

Another shooting of an African-American man by a white officer. Another moment to lead seemingly squandered.

Isn't this the moment for the president and his administration to address police brutality and race relations in a big way? Wasn't this the first major public flashpoint of his presidency when on July 16, 2009 Henry Louis Gates an African American professor at Harvard was arrested by a Cambridge police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, as Mr. Gates was attempting to enter his own home? Amidst the turmoil and controversy and racial divide cracking farther open, didn't the new and first African-American president take leadership and invite the two to his back yard at the White House for a beer and a discussion of both the incident and the race issues that preceded it?

It seems that now, nearing the end of his presidency, the same leadership is needed more than ever. Especially after the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's march and the bridge protest and carnage in Selma, here in South Carolina is another story of what seems to be the systematic targeting of an African-American man, Mr. Scott, by a white officer, Mr. Slager.

I love Police. I wanted to be a cop. To protect and to serve. Where would we be in a society without them? It was a great personal honor for me when I was asked to preside over the Los Angeles Police Department Medal of Valor ceremony. The Medal of Valor is the LAPD's highest honor and is awarded to officers who distinguish themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of police service.

I can respect and celebrate their valor and mourn their ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and still question the policies and procedures.

Why hasn't the president convened a Police Department policy summit with ALL the nation's governors and have the same beer backyard conversation of ways to address this issue NOW, in the light of this new bloody, cell phone video?

Body cameras for ALL officers. Race relation training and a complete reviewing of policy and procedures for ALL officers. A real analysis and substantive overhaul of police departments in ALL cities; and make THIS issue one of his great legacies -- one that MLK and millions before him have led, bled and died for.

This is the moment Mr. President. This is the issue. This is happening now. This country needs you NOW.

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