There is a third way for crime fighting: Keep "Broken Windows" policing but reimagine it so that petty crimes only lead to fines and summonses, not arrests and in extreme cases (like Eric Garner), forcible arrests that can lead to seemingly excessive use of force.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has stated his guiding source of inspiration is Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Policing, a preventative philosophy used by members of the first police force in London in 1829.
We have come to a very dangerous point in our history. The protests will only intensify. The American public will be paying much closer attention from both sides of the polarization. The problems are complex and multi-layered. The police force is merely acting as the tip-of-the-spear.
We cannot wait months for the legislature to act. We can, and must, act now. Existing state law authorizes the governor to supersede any local district attorney on any criminal matter by appointing the attorney general to investigate and prosecute the case.
Given the current discussion on ways to restore harmony to police-community relations, it is worth revisiting the history. In November of 1993, the New York City Police Department officially banned the use of chokeholds.
There are things most white people can't imagine, she told me. When black people walk into a store, she said, they are often eyed suspiciously by store clerks. White people cross the street to distance themselves from black people. The distrust, if not fear and hatred, is palpable.
If a picture's worth a thousand words, how come this one didn't convince 23 grand jurors? That is the question being asked in New York City and throughout the country in the wake of a grand jury's failure to indict Officer Daniel Panteleo in connection with the death of Eric Garner this past summer.
For all the debate about the specifics of each case, and the need for body cameras, reformed grand jury procedures, training, diverse police forces and alike, the Garner case brings another critical macro issue to the surface about the intensity of policing in a time of low crime rates.
There is a real risk of serious medical neglect and even death any time an indifferent police force or corrections department has custody of anyone -- particularly the most vulnerable people: the mentally ill; the infirm; the young. It is time to limit these encounters to only the most extreme cases of violence and criminality.
The manner in which law enforcement protects this country is a reflection of the values within our society, and everything from "stop-and-frisk" to racial profiling speak volumes of who we are as a nation.
I suggest to you, Mr. Police Commissioner, that you sit with your leadership, that you bring your force together, and say, we now have a new day at NYPD. We can't continue this way.
The role of the prosecutor in America is a powerful one perhaps unequaled in both power and envy. They execute their duties with almost unbridled discretion and their decisions to charge or not are exercised with virtually no immediate accountability save the ballot box.
We cannot allow Eric Garner's sadly prophetic next words, "It stops today," to refer only to his life. It is past time that we admit what so many have known for too long: That all too often, our justice system simply is not just.
There are many fine officers who are careful and restrained in their use of force, but as long as the system protects those who cross the line, even in a case where the killing was filmed and the death was ruled by the coroner to be a homicide, public anger and distrust toward law enforcement will only grow.
In the wake of the death of Eric Garner, and the lack of indictment of the officer who killed him, I am heart-broken. I did not know Eric, nor did I k...