If local police are going to receive military weapons at all, the federal government has an obligation to put some reasonable constraints on how they are able to use them.
Would putting a body camera on every police officer in America end police abuse? Of course not. But there is evidence to suggest that it would have an impact.
Even if you wanted to ignore the fact that Michael Brown was African American, there remains an issue to be discerned; a glaring sore at the rotting core of our foundation; an idea woven into the fabric of our society.
As the police profession and our greater society deal with ways to rebuild (and in many cases build) relationships between the police and its citizenry, I fear that if outsider reformers call for police to ignore disorderly offenses the chasm between the police and the community will only widen.
The United States is under the effects of a big storm: Ferguson. The city has been struggling to return to normal since an unarmed 18-year-old African American, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, last summer.
It is becoming evident that police agencies are implicitly prioritizing their own safety over that of the public. This reorganization of priorities is implied by a passive but evident willingness to increase their protection and firepower at the cost of civil liberty and comfort.
What has happened in Ferguson can either move us forward or push us back. Most of its residents are reasonable, peaceful people who want change. But right now, the fact is whatever happens in Ferguson affects black people everywhere as it relates to this singular issue of deadly police force.
If police are supposed to protect us, who is supposed to protect us from the police? Despite all this conundrum, we CAN have a better life and make a better future if we aim our resources, voices and votes in the the right direction.
As protests continue across the nation, it is worth asking what, if anything, can be done to address the perception that citizens cannot expect help from the courts when police officers are accused of unjustifiably depriving them of their liberty, property or even their lives.
Not even minimal justice was in the cards for the loved ones of Michael Brown or the occupied community in which he lived -- because that's not how it works. Officer Wilson, whatever he did inside or outside the state's rules on the use of lethal force when he confronted Brown on the afternoon of Aug. 9, was on the front line of a racist and exploitative system.
My husband always has the option of changing careers. My son can never change who he is. But my son and other black boys need allies in uniform to protect him. Allies like his father.
Officer Darren Wilson's account of the shooting of Michael Brown sounds not only like a Western film (an unbelievable one) but a Western film entrenched in masculinity discourse.
There is no doubt that black lives matter to the parents of black children. Our fear is rooted not in our ability to love and provide for them, but rather the realization that comes with daily reminders around us that their lives matter only to us.
The epidemic of monolithic thinking seems to me to be weighted far more on the side of white Americans, officers and civilians alike, thinking of all black boys as criminal.
Even if the federal government declines to prosecute Wilson, it is highly probable that the Justice Department under a 1994 federal law will take the Ferguson police department to federal court itself. Once there, upon a showing of a pattern of civil rights violations, they can force reforms under consent decrees with federal monitors.
Her tears said more than my words could express. As much as we were full of indignation, we were three white moms who had never considered bringing a photo of our sons to the local police station to say, "please don't shoot my child."